The state government is all set to embrace the new Food Safety & Standards Act, 2006 (FSSA) from August 5, 2011.
The new Act, which will be implemented throughout the country at the same time, will bring a sense of uniformity and lay down standards for articles of food and to regulate their manufacture, storage, distribution, sale and import to ensure the availability of safe and wholesome food.
Apart from improving the current infrastructure and staff strength, the Food & Drugs Administration (FDA), is also looking at getting more financial assistance to support the upgrade.
“We have the entire plan ready and have finalised the number of staff we need to support the upgradation. It is likely to be tabled in the next cabinet meeting for approval,” said Satej Patil, minister of state for food & drugs administration after a meeting held to finalise the details of the Act on Thursday.
The new Act will mean that the existing laws on food safety — Prevention of Food Adulteration (PFA) Act — will cease to exist and all the FDA teams functioning under the local corporations and councils will come under the umbrella of the central FDA.
“We had just one joint commissioner and now we will have eight of them looking after a division each. Similarly, the number of food inspectors on field will be up to 300 from 262. The supervisors will also be up to 62 from 30. This will make a huge difference in terms of presence on the field,” Patil added.
The Act also provides for a penalty on manufacturers of adulterated food items, including a fine of Rs1 lakh to Rs10 lakh to be adjudicated by an officer of the rank of sub-divisional magistrate.