Drinking water be brought under Food Standards Bill: Committee
New Delhi, Feb 23 (UNI) Food standards should also be applied to water supplied to consumers by municipal authorities, Jal boards and private suppliers as well as to water used in manufacture, preparation and treatment of food, recommends a Prliamentary panel.
The panel scrutinising the Food Safety and Standards Bill, 2005, however, strongly pleaded that farmers, farming operation or crops including fishermen and fisheries and livestock rearing be exempted from provisions of the proposed Food Standards Act since the poor uneducated farmers will not be able to comprehend the complicated operation of the Act and so cannot meet stringent standards prescribed in it.
Prof Ram Gopal Yadav, Chairman of this Parliamentary Standing Committee also recommended that food operators be classified into -(a)- Petty manufacturers, retailers, hawkers and vendors-- (b)-small scale , cottage, tiny food business operation and -(c) other food business operators and licencing and registration of business of small operators should not be made mandatory.
"Categories-(a) and (b) above may be exempted without prejudice to the availability of safe and wholesome food for human consumption or affecting the interests of the consumers, from the requirements of the Act relating to licencing or registering or regulations thereunder.'' The panel is for setting up 'a fully equipped laboratory in each district for analysing the various catogories of food and in the absence of such infrastructure the Act could not be implemented effectively.
The panel said its inquiries with the Ministry of Food Processing Industries in October 2005 revealed that properly manned and equipped labs were not set up in states.
Since the analysis of food articles is crucial for food safety and health of the consumers , the Committee recommended that Food Safety and Standards Act be administered by the Ministry of Health as a nodal Ministry .
Hitherto the examining of food standards and penalising the violation, if any, being dealt with by various authorities falling under the purview of eight separate ministries. The Bill under scrutiny , is an attempt to create a common Act for dealing with such violations.
UNI/JSS SC PC1620