The next time you feel unwell after eating junk food, you will be able to take action directly against food adulteration. Earlier, it was compulsory for a food safety officer to take a sample.
Now, however, you can do it yourself within 14 days and produce the report to the food commissioner.
The commissioner, after assessing the case, has been given the right to recall an adulterated product.
If the adulterator is found guilty, he might face jail time along with paying a penalty ranging from Rs5-10 lakh, depending on the case.
This provision has now been included in the new food safety act - Food Safety and Standards Act (2006) – which gives you the right to safe food.
The act, which was passed by the Centre on August 5, 2011, will be announced officially by minister of state for home, Satej Patil on Monday.
“The act will abolish eight others acts, including the Adulteration of Food Prevention Act, and bring it under this one single act. This will be headed by a food safety commissioner who will be a government official,” a senior government official said, on condition of anonymity.
All food, including organic foods, functional foods, neutraceuticals, health supplements and proprietary foods will fall under the act.
The new act, he added, makes it compulsory for all establishments, even small shops, to register themselves with the health department of the local civic body, irrespective of whether they hold licences. Food licences will be approved within a 60-day deadline.
The food and drug administration department will also set up a food management system, where a list of substandard and unsafe foods will be prepared and circulated to consumers to raise awareness.
“But Maharashtra will set up fast track special courts to deal with these cases of adulteration. We will also increase the number of staff and bring the staff in civic bodies under the state umbrella body,” the official said.