The draft intends to broaden the definitions of traditional food and proprietary food that \"food with additives added with a view to preserve such food and provide it with a distinct aroma or flavour or taste and a shelf life...,\" according to the propo
After the recent controversies involving the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India, the central government proposes to change the definition of food to widen its scope and close loopholes, reported by ET.
The new definition will exclude nutraceuticals, health supplements, functional food and dietary supplements, which will be subject to tougher regulations, officials from the industry and the health ministry said. "The earlier definition of food had certain loopholes of which some companies, especially pharma companies, were taking advantage," said a senior official in the ministry of health.
According to the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006, food is defined as "any substance, whether processed, partially processed or unprocessed, which is intended for human consumption and includes primary food." It excludes "drugs and medicinal products, cosmetics, narcotic or psychotropic substances."
The draft intends to broaden the definitions of traditional food and proprietary food that "food with additives added with a view to preserve such food and provide it with a distinct aroma or flavour or taste and a shelf life...," according to the proposal sent by the ministry to the industry.
The ministry of health and family welfare said on its website that the government plans to review and amend the Food Safety and Standards Rules, 2011. It sought suggestions and comments from stakeholders by 24th September.
While a ministry can change rules, an act can be amended only in parliament. Representatives of the food industry, citing procedural lapses in the proposed changes, have alleged that the government wants to "sharpen their teeth and extend their reach beyond the normal to target the industry."
"It is not understood as to how and why all of a sudden an unscientific and adhoc, restrictive definition has been flashed to food industry for comments," said Amit Dhanuka, president of the All India Food Processors' Association.