Understanding The Role Of FSSAI In Ensuring Safe Food For All
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India is home to a vast population of 1.4 billion people, making it the second-most populous country in the world. The demand for food by this population presents a unique challenge for the country to ensure that food is safe, nutritious, and of the highest quality. To address this challenge, the Government of India established the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), a statutory body under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare that is responsible for the regulation and supervision of food safety in India.

Without food safety and regulations, the food industry would be plagued by food-borne illnesses, unsafe products, and a lack of trust in the food supply. 

Let’s take a deep dive into the FSSAI, its functions, and the importance of food safety and regulations in the food industry.


The FSSAI was established in 2006 under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006, and has its headquarters in New Delhi, four regional offices, 12 branch offices, and six import offices across the country. It is also responsible for the accreditation of laboratories for food testing and has fourteen referral laboratories, seventy-two state/UT laboratories, and 112 FSSAI-notified NABL-accredited labs.

History of the FSSAI

Before the establishment of FSSAI, there were multiple regulatory bodies in India overseeing the food industry, such as the Prevention of Food Adulteration (PFA) Act of 1954, the Fruit Products Order (FPO) of 1955, the Meat Food Products Order (MFPO) of 1973, and so on. These laws were inadequate and out of date to address the new challenges faced by the food industry.

The FSSAI aimed to bring all these laws under one umbrella and establish a single reference point for all matters relating to food safety and standards in India.

Functions of the FSSAI

The FSSAI is responsible for setting standards for food so that there is only one body to deal with and no confusion in the minds of consumers, traders, manufacturers, and investors.

1.    One of the main functions of the FSSAI is to set food safety standards. These standards are based on scientific evidence and are designed to ensure that food products are safe for consumption. The FSSAI sets standards for various types of food products, including packaged foods, processed foods, dairy products, and meat and poultry products, that cover everything from ingredients and labeling to hygiene and sanitation.

2.    The FSSAI also plays a key role in enforcing food safety regulations. The organization conducts inspections of food businesses to ensure that they are following food safety laws and regulations. If a business is found to be non-compliant, the FSSAI can take enforcement action, which can include fines, penalties, or even the revocation of licenses. The FSSAI also works closely with other government organizations, such as the police and the health department, to investigate and prosecute food safety violations.

3.    Another important function of the FSSAI is to monitor the food industry. The organization collects data on food products and food-related illnesses to identify trends and potential hazards. This information is used to develop policies and programs to improve food safety and protect the health of consumers. The FSSAI also provides training and education to food businesses and consumers on food safety and regulations.

4.    The FSSAI also plays a critical role in promoting food safety and nutrition awareness among the public. It runs several campaigns and programs to educate people about safe food handling, storage, and preparation practices. FSSAI also works with schools, colleges, and universities to promote food safety education among students.

Landmark Judgements by the FSSAI

FSSAI's decisions and judgments are based on scientific evidence and aim to protect the health of consumers. These examples show that the FSSAI takes food safety very seriously and takes action against any companies or products that do not meet its standards.

Some examples of these decisions and judgments in India include:

    In 2020, the FSSAI banned the use of potassium bromate and potassium iodate as food additives after a study found that they could cause cancer.

    In 2019, the FSSAI issued a notice to Maggi noodles manufacturer Nestle India after test results showed that the product contained lead and MSG above the permissible limit. Nestle India had to recall the product and relaunch it after getting clearance from the FSSAI.

    In 2018, the FSSAI banned the use of plastic microbeads in personal care and cosmetic products after studies showed that they were polluting oceans and endangering marine life.

    In 2017, the FSSAI issued a notice to several popular instant noodle brands, including Maggi, Top Ramen, and Yippee, for failing to comply with food safety standards. The brands were found to have excessive levels of lead and MSG in their products.

    In 2016, the FSSAI banned the use of glass particles in food products after it was found to be hazardous to health. 

    In 2015, the FSSAI banned the use of acid hydrochloride as a food additive after studies showed that it could cause cancer.

    In 2014, the FSSAI banned the use of ractopamine in pork and beef after studies showed that it could have adverse effects on human health.

Campaigns and programs run by the FSSAI

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) runs several campaigns and programs to promote food safety and nutrition awareness among the public. Here are a few examples:

5.    Eat Right India: This campaign aims to create awareness about the importance of a balanced diet and healthy eating habits. The campaign focuses on encouraging people to make healthier food choices and reduce their consumption of unhealthy foods.

6.    Safe and Nutritious Food (SNF): This program aims to provide safe and nutritious food to schoolchildren and pregnant and lactating women. The program includes providing fortified food to schools and anganwadis and running awareness campaigns on food safety and nutrition.

7.    Food Safety Training and Certification (FoSTaC): This program aims to train and certify food handlers, supervisors, and managers in the food industry to improve food safety and hygiene in food service establishments.

8.    Food Fortification: FSSAI runs several programs to promote food fortification, which is the process of adding essential vitamins and minerals to foods to improve their nutritional value. FSSAI has been promoting the fortification of staple foods such as wheat flour, rice, and salt with essential nutrients like iron, folic acid, and iodine.

9.    Food Safety Mitra (FSM): This program aims to provide technical assistance and support to small and medium food business operators to comply with food safety regulations.

By setting food safety standards, enforcing regulations, monitoring the food industry, and promoting food safety awareness, the FSSAI helps to protect the health of consumers and promote confidence in the food industry.

The food industry, as well as consumers, should be grateful for the work done by FSSAI to ensure that the food we eat is safe and nutritious.