RS passes Food Safety and Standards Bill

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New Delhi, Mar 13 (UNI) The Rajya Sabha today passed an amendment providing for exempting the members of Food Safety and Standards Authority of India from the purview of office of profits and restrict the age of members to a maximum of 62 years.

The Food Safety and Standards (Amendment) Bill 2008, however, makes the Chairman of Food Safety and Standards Authority of India, a full-time member who cannot hold any other post. The members of the Authority were basically experts from the fields of farming, manufacturing and trade food processing technologists and hence could not be restricted from holding other offices, Minister of State for Food Processing Subodhkant Sahai told the Rajya Sabha.

He said the Government had to bring the Ordinance since the Parliament was in session and also to expedite the selection and appointment of Chairperson and Members of Food Authority.

The authority was set up under the FSS Act in 2006 for consolidating food laws of the country and to regulate storage, manufacture and distribution besides ensuring availability of safe food.

The House witnessed some tense moments when the Opposition insisted on the presence of a Cabinet minister when the Bill was being debated. Although Mr Sahai was present, senior BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi insisted that it was not enough and the Cabinet Minister had to be present when the issue was discussed. The government moved into action and ensured the presence of three ministers including Finance Minister P Chidambaram.

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