29/07/2014 … The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT), apex body of the trading community of the Country in a representation submitted to Union Health Minister Dr. Harshvardhan has called for an extension of last date of obtaining registration under Food Safety & Standards Act which is expiring on 4th August, 2014 and has also demanded formation of a High level Joint Committee comprising of Senior Officials, Traders representatives and Food Experts. The said Act was enforced by the previous Government without consulting the stakeholders.

It is remembered that present Foreign Minister Smt. Sushma Swaraj and Senior BJP Leader Dr. Murli Manohar Joshi strongly pitched for amendments in the Act and took the matter at the level of the then Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh and Health Minister Shri Ghulam Nabi Azad who extended the last date from 4th Feburary, 2014 to 4th August, 2014 and also assured a CAIT delegation to constitue a Joint Committee.Even the then Union Minister Shri Kapil Sibal also supported the demand of traders. Several State Governments have also expressed their reservations on implementation of the Act in their respective States. As per provisions of the Act every person dealing in food or allied business is required to obtain registration for conducting business activities failure of which shall attract severe penalties.  The said Act was passed by Parliament in 2006 and the Rules and Regulations were enforced on 5th August, 2011.

CAIT National President Shri B. C. Bhartia and Secretary General Shri Praveen Khandelwal said that the Act and its Rules have grossly flouted the principle of natural justice and ignoring ground realities of Indian food business system. It is an attempt to handover Indian food market to Multinational Companies and will encourage packed food business in India. The Act provides mandatory keeping of a technician by every food business operator as also most updated laboratory which is impossible to comply with.

While opposing the Act and Rules and Regulations both Mr. Bhartia and Mr. Khandelwal said that Act is majorly a thrust of foreign laws and rules, which does not take in to consideration, our social, educational, financial, developmental and Agricultural and environmental constraints, living standards and habits and ground realities of the Country.The present Act, gives unprecedented, unfettered and arbitrary powers to the Authorities which stands against principle of natural justice.

They further said that the FSSAI provisions will cover Manufacturing / Processing including sorting, grading etc., Milk collection / chilling, slaughter House, Solvent extracting, Solvent extracting plant equipped with pre cleaning of oil seeds or pre expelling of oil, Solvent extracting and oil refining plant,  Packaging, relabeling (manufactured by third party under own packing and labeling). Import, Storage / Warehouse / Cold Storage, Retail Trade, Wholesale Trade, Distributor / Supplier, Transporter of food, Catering, Dhabha or any other food vending establishment, Club / Canteen, Hotel, Restaurant & even house hold dabbawalas.

The trade leaders expressed hope that Dr. Harshvardhan will certainly take immediate cognisance of the grave issue and will meet the demands of the traders.