To keep pace with the speedily growing world, the health of an individual is of utmost importance. It has been rightly said that “Health is Wealth”. Be it physical, emotional or mental health, each one of it plays a vital role in development, efficiency and productivity of a Human. Hence, the Food Safety and Standard Authority Act, 2006 came into existence, to ensure the health of the citizens and to protect them against the consumption of low-quality foods and services.
In this article, we will learn about various offences under FSSAI and the extent of the degrees to which these offences have been held punishable under the act. To acquire a FSSAI license is the foremost requirement of a business operator to run a business in the field of food production and in every aspect related to it like storing of food, transporting food etc.
What is the Need of Implementation of Offences under FSSAI?
To set the seal on the proper implementation of the Food Safety and Standard Authority Act 2006, certain provisions for certain offences under FSSAI is provided regarding the penalties and punishments.
A person is authorised to run a food business, only if the said person has acquired the FSSAI license. The business operator is also obliged to comply with the provisions of the act, if the person fails, a legal notice regarding the same would be sent to the person. If the business operator further fails to address the legal notice too, the FSSAI license may be suspended as consequence.
As per the provisions of the act, each and every individual who has participated in commission of an offence along with the company will held liable and will have to face the charges.
As for a company that holds multiple branches over the country or world, the head office is held accountable for the offences under the FSSAI in that case. If the investigation proves the involvement of the top tier officials of the company such as directors, manager, secretary etc., then the said party will be held guilty and will have to face the charges accordingly.
List of Punishable offences under FSSAI, 2006
The offences under FSSAI that are held punishable under the FSSAI Act are mentioned in Section 50 to Section 67.
Now, let’s discuss the offences under FSSAI with their punishment or penalties:
Selling the Food Item which is not as per the Quality of FSSAI
If any business operator is found selling food that is not with compliance of the FSSAI, or fails to meet the requirement of the buyer in respect of nature, substance or quality, then the operator would be held liable to pay the penalty of not more than INR 5 lakhs as per the Section 50.
However, if the business operator comes under the umbrella of Section 31(2), that is, if he is a petty hawker, vendor etc., then the limit of penalty will not exceed INR 25 Thousand.
Fine on Sub-standard Food
If a business operator himself, or any other person on his behalf manufactures, sells, stores food that do not meet the required standard (sub-standard food), is liable to pay a fine that will not exceed the amount of INR 5 Lakhs as per Section 51 of the act.
Fine on Misbranded Food
If a business operator himself, or any other person on his behalf manufactures, sells, stores, import, export, etc. any kind of food that has been misbranded, is liable to pay a fine of not exceeding Rs 3 lakhs.
However, under this offence, the adjudicating officer can issue a notice to the offender to either rectify his mistake or to destroy the food items that has been misbranded as per the Section 52.
Fine on Misleading Advertisement
Any business operator who publishes or is involved in publishing a misleading advertisement with deceiving intentions that may cause confusion among the people with mediocre mind-set is liable to pay a fine of amount not exceeding Rs 10 lakhs as per Section 53.
Fine for Selling Food Consisting Extraneous Matter
Any business operator either by himself or through somebody else is involved in selling food articles that consist of extraneous matter, then he is liable to pay a fine not exceeding the amount of Rs 1 lakh as per Section 54.
Fine on Operating a Food Business without the FSSAI License
If a business operator is caught running a business without a food license, he is liable to pay a fine of not exceeding the amount of INR 5 lakhs and imprisonment of 6 months.
Fine upon Failure to Compliance with the Safety and Health Measure as per FSSAI
If a business operator either himself or through somebody else is involved in manufacturing or processing food for human consumption under untidy conditions, then the person is liable to pay a fine of amount not exceeding Rs 1 lakh.
Fine upon Failure to comply with the Directions given by the Food Safety Officer
If a business operator or importer fails to run by the rules and regulations given by the Food Safety Officer without any reasonable grounds, then the person is liable to pay a fine of amount not exceeding INR 2 lakh.
Fine on Performing Adulteration
Adulteration is punishable under Section 57 of the act. If a business operator is found performing adulteration that is not injurious to health, is liable to pay a fine for not exceeding the amount of INR 2 lakhs, and if the adulteration is injurious to health, then the person is liable to pay a fine not exceeding INR 10 lakhs.
Punishment for Producing Unsafe Food
A business operator is found producing unsafe food:-
- If the unsafe food did not result into any kind of injury, then the business operator is liable for imprisonment for 6 months and fine not exceeding INR 1 lakh.
- If unsafe food resulted into non-grievous injury, then the business operator is liable for imprisonment for 1 year and fine not exceeding INR 3 lakh.
- If the unsafe food caused grievous injury, then the business operator is liable for imprisonment for 6 years and fine not exceeding INR 5 lakh.
- If the unsafe food leads to a death, then the business operator is liable for imprisonment for not less than 7 years and which could be extended to life imprisonment and fines not less than INR 10 lakh.
Punishment for Providing False Information
If any person is found providing misleading and deceiving documents to the FSSAI, then the person will be liable to pay fine not exceeding the amount of Rs 2 lakhs along with 3 months of imprisonment.
Punishment for Interference with Seized Items
If a person is found to be interfering with the seized goods for example, tampering, retaining or removing the food items, without the permission of the Food safety officer, the person would be held liable to face an imprisonment of 3 months and a fine not exceeding INR 1 lakh.
Punishment for Harassing the Food Officer
If a person is found threatening, intimidating or assaulting the food officer without any reasonable grounds, while the officer is on duty, the person is liable to face imprisonment for the term of 3 months and is liable to pay a fine not exceeding the amount of INR 1 lakh.
Punishment in Case of Subsequent Offence
If a person is found repeating the offences twice, he is liable to face the double of the punishment that has been imposed in the earlier case. Also the person could be held liable to pay fine on a daily basis which may extend to INR 1 lakh. In a few cases, even the FSSAI license could be cancelled.
Compensation in Case of a Customer’s Death
If a business operator himself, or any other person on his behalf manufactures, sells, stores, import etc. any kind of food that has caused bodily harm, then the business operator is liable to pay-
In case of Injuries
Compensation to be paid not exceeding INR 1 lakh.
In case of Grievous Injury
Compensation to be paid not exceeding INR 3 lakh.
In case of Death
Compensation to be paid not exceeding INR 5 lakh.
The compensation amount must be paid within 6 months from the occurrence of the unfortunate event, and in the case of death, the amount must be paid within 30 days.
However, in cases of grievous injury and death, the court may pass order such as:
- Suspension of the license
- Taking food off the market
- Seizing the property
- May issue prohibition orders
Imported Food Item Contravening with the Provisions of the FSSAI
Foreign Trade development and regulation act deals with the imported food items that contravene with the provisions of the FSSAI. If the appropriate authority permits the use of the imported product, then the product shall be returned to its owner.
A person is authorised to run a food business, only if the said person has acquired the FSSAI license. FSSAI acts under the Ministry of Health and Welfare and intend to safeguard the people from consumption of low-quality foods and services.
The Food Safety and Standard Authority Act 2006 has provided certain provisions for certain offences under FSSAI such as penalties and punishments. The stringent punishment has turned out to be effective over the years. To know more about FSSAI License reach out to our Corpbiz Group.