29 September 2015 | News | By Libin Chacko Kurian
A group of Nine national organizations of stakeholders of food industry have join hands together to form an umbrella committee to launch a nationwide campaign against FSSAI and to make a strong public advocacy in the Country for review and overhauling of Rules and Regulations of Food Safety & Standards Act. Named as ‘National Joint Action Committee’, the members are demanding several amendments in the FSSAI act and to refund the 80 crore rupees, which have been collected by FSSAI for product approval through the advisory.
The committee had submitted a written communication to Union Health Minister Mr. J.P.Nadda that all advisories issued by the FSSAI since year 2013 should be withdrawn immediately to give respect to apex Court order. The committee will have its first meeting on 1st October 2015, to discuss the future course of action, after its formation on 19th September 2015 in Mumbai.
Joint Statement of the committee reads, “In context of order of apex court which hold that advisories issued by FSSAI of India does not have the force of law, the Committee has demanded Union Health Minister Mr. J.P.Nadda that all advisories issued by the FSSAI since year 2013 should be withdrawn immediately to give respect to apex Court order. Since 2013 the FSSAI has issued about 15 advisories which are in public domain and with order of Supreme Court, all such advisories tend to be redundant and as such liable to be withdrawn. .It has further demanded that about 80 crore rupees have been collected by FSSAI for product approval through advisory and since advisory has no locus standi, the said fund should either be refunded to persons from whom it is collected or should be used for Clean India drive of Prime Minister. FSSAI has no propriety to keep such funds with it. The Committee has urged the Health Minister to take immediate cognizance of the matter and take actions so that the Food Business Operators may not be harassed by the administrative system”
Praveen Khandelwal, Secretary General of CAIT & spokesperson of National Joint Action Committee, said “We have already given a communication letter to Union Health Minister, asking him to take immediate actions and advice FSSAI to withdraw all advisories which have been issued after 2013. The entire rules and regulations are made without considering the ground realities of Indian food trade or food habits of people of the country. The rules are more encouraging to packaged food products than the traditional food business in the country. Our main objection is against the effort to change the fundamental nature of food trade. Of course, food safety and standards are needed to be maintained.”
“But it has to ensure that no harassment or any complications is not be faced by existing food business operators. We are committed to make sure that the food industry, destroyed by FSSAI in recent years, with its autocratic attitude, should be made clean. FSSAI should work under strict guidelines. These all organizations powerful in its respective fraternity belonging to the food industry, which means the whole food industry, are coming under this umbrella. We are wishing to enlarge this scope by adding more industry representing bodies into the committee which are relevant for food industry” he added.
Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT), Indian Drugs Manufacturers Association (IDMA), Indian Hotel & Restaurant Association (IHRA), Protein Food & Nutrition Development Association of India (PFNDAI), Federation of Pharma Entrepreneurs (FOPE), All India Food Processors Association (AIFPA), Retail Druggist & Chemists Association (RDCA), All India Transport Welfare Association (AITWA) and Bhartiya Kisan Morcha are the current members of the Action Committee.