Mr Shivaji Desai, Joint Commissioner (Food) Food and Drug Administration (Maharashtra State) was invited to speak to the students about the food safety regulations and the procedure involved for procuring licenses for different food establishments.
Mr Desai started the lecture by explaining that the Food Safety and Standard Act 2006 is an Act to consolidate the laws relating to food and to establish the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India for laying down science based standards for articles of food and to regulate their manufacture, storage, distribution, sale and import, to ensure availability of safe and wholesome food for human consumption and for matters.
As per the ACT“Food” means any substance, whether processed, partially processed or unprocessed, which is intended for human consumption and includes primary food , genetically modified or engineered food or food containing such ingredients, infant food, packaged drinking water, alcoholic drink, chewing gum, and any substance, including water used into the food during its manufacture, preparation or treatment but does not include any animal feed, live animals unless they are prepared or processed for placing on the market for human consumption, plants, prior to harvesting, drugs and medicinal products, cosmetics, narcotic or psychotropic substances.
“Food business” means any undertaking, whether for profit or not and whether public or private, carrying out any of the activities related to any stage of manufacture, processing, packaging, storage, transportation, distribution of food, import and includes food services, catering services, sale of food or food ingredients. He explained that to start any kind of food business a license has to be obtained. This can be done by applying online by going on the FSSAI website. As per the Act it is mandatory for the department to issue the license within two months of receiving the application. Mr Desai said that the information on the label of packaged products should be genuine and accurate. The date of expiry should be checked before consumption.
The students found the lecture very informative and interesting and asked Mr Desai many questions related to the topic. The session helped the students to appreciate the importance of food safety and hygiene in the food business. They are now aware that the expiry dates of all products should be checked before using or consuming them and that there is a possibility of adulterants in food ingredients.