Sei sulla pagina 1di 15

PROTECTION OF CONSUMER AGAINST ADULTERATED

FOOD

NATIONAL LAW UNIVERSITY, JODHPUR


SUMMER SEMESTER
(JULY-NOVEMBER 2016)

Submitted By:
Shivani Chaturvedi
Roll no 1240
BA, LL.B
Semester V

Submitted To:
Ms. Gunjan Chawla

TABLE OF CONTENTS
acknowledgement.......................................................................................................................3
introduction................................................................................................................................4
what is food adulteration?......................................................................................................5
the agriculture produce (grading and marking) Act, 1937.........................................................6
prevention of food adulteration act, 1954..................................................................................7
essential commodities act. 1955.................................................................................................8
Fruit Products Order, 1955.....................................................................................................9
The Solvent Extracted Oil, De-Oiled Meal and Edible Flour ( Control) Order, 1967.........10
Meat food products order, 1973...........................................................................................10
Milk & Milk Products Order, 1992 (MMPO)......................................................................10
food safety and standards act, 2006.........................................................................................11
Benefits of Food Safety and Standards Act..........................................................................13
Loop Holes in the Food Safety and Standards Act..............................................................13
conclusion................................................................................................................................14
bibliography.............................................................................................................................15

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
Upon the completion of this project, I would like to acknowledge the help rendered by
various people. Without them, it would have been extremely difficult for me to bring this
endeavour to a meaningful end.
First and the foremost, I would like to express my overwhelming gratitude to my teacher, Ms.
Gunjan Chawla, Faculty of Consumer Law, for her constant support and incessant
encouragement throughout the course of this project.
I would also like to thank the IT Department at National Law University, Jodhpur for
providing all the necessary resources. I am also thankful to the Library staff for their help and
assistance at all times.
I would be failing in my duties if I forgo this opportunity to thank my friends for helping
me , colleagues and my parents who have been a constant source of encouragement and the
real driving force behind this work.

Shivani Chaturvedi

INTRODUCTION
Food is one of the most basic necessities of life. It is said that the health of the community is
the wealth of the nation. Over the centuries, the human beings have developed basic needs for
three things which are food, shelter and clothes. Shelter and clothing emerged as basic
necessities with time but since the very beginning of the human existence food has remained
as the source of survival on the Earth. Every human being is a consumer in some or the other
way, and he avails the goods and services for necessities and fittest survival.
Right to food is a fundamental right under article 211.and similarly; right to health is also a
part of right to life. It has been held in number of cases that life is more than mere animal
existence. For example, in Kharak Singh v. State of U.P., 2 it was observed, Article 21 means
not merely the continuance of a persons animal existence, but right to the possession of his
organs, his arms and legs etc. It cannot be argued that health is not a part of life when
possession of all organs of the body is protected by the fundamental right to life.
Therefore it is important that human beings get food which is safe and free from
contamination and adulteration. But in the modern times most of the business houses as well
big corporate companies which produce food items, in order to maximize their profits
produce products which are of substandard quality or mix ingredients which make these food
products contaminated thus harming the health and well being of the humans who act as
consumers when they purchase such food products. Therefore in order to protect the
consumers from such adulterated food products it is important that some measures are taken
up. When see from the Indian Context the Government has enacted various legislations from
the protection of the consumers against such adulterated food products, such as Agricultural
Produce (Grading and Marking) Act, 1937, the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act 1954, the
Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices Act, 1969, the Standards of Weights and
Measures Act 1976, Bureau of India Standards Act 1986, the Prevention of Food Adulteration
Act 1954, the Fruit Products Order, 1955, the Meat Food Products, 1973, the Vegetable Oil
Products (Control) Order 1947, the Edible Oil Packaging (Regulation) Order 1998, the
Solvent Extracted Oil, De oiled Meal, and Edible Flour (Control) Order, 1967, the Milk and
1 PUCL vs. Union of India, 2007(1) SCC 719
2 Kharak Singh vs. State of U.P., AIR 1963 SC 1295, 1312.
4

Milk Products Order 1997. But before understanding how any of these acts help in protecting
the consumers against contaminated and adulterated food, let us first understand what food
adulteration means.

WHAT IS FOOD ADULTERATION?


Food adulteration can be called as deliberate contamination of food materials with low
quality, cheap, non-edible or toxic substances. While the substance that degrades or lowers
the quality of food is an adulterant. Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954, an Act that
defined food safety norms in the country, defined that a food article is considered adulterated,
if:
a. The article sold by a vendor is not of the nature, substance or quality demanded by the
purchaser or which it purports to be;
b. The article contains any substance affecting its quality or of it is so processed as to
injuriously affect its nature, substance or quality;
c. Any inferior or cheaper substance has been substituted wholly or partly for the article, or
any constituent of the article has been wholly or partly abstracted from it, so as to affecting its
quality or of it is so processed as to injuriously affect its nature, substance or quality;
d. The article had been prepared, packed or kept under insanitary conditions whereby it has
become contaminated or injurious to health;
e. The article consists wholly or in part of any filthy, putrid, disgusting, rotten, decomposed
or diseased animal or vegetable substance or being insect infested, or is otherwise unfit for
human consumption;
f. The article is obtained from a diseased animal;
g. The article contains any poisonous or other ingredient, which is injurious to health;
h. The container of the article is composed of any poisonous or deleterious substance, which
renders its contents injurious to health;
i. The article contains any prohibited colouring matter or preservative, or any permitted
colouring matter or preservative in excess of the prescribed limits;
j. The quality or purity of the article falls below the prescribed standard, or its constituents
are present in proportions other standard, or its constituents are present in proportions other
5

than those prescribed, whether or not rendering it injurious to health. Thus, additions of water
to milk amount to adulteration, within the meaning of sub clauses (b) or (c).
Adulteration in food is normally present in its most crude form; prohibited substances are
either added partly or wholly substituted. In India normally the contamination/ adulteration in
food is done either for financial gain or lack in proper hygienic condition of processing,
storing, transportation and marketing. This ultimately results that the consumer is either
cheated or often become victim of diseases. However, adequate precautions taken by the
consumer at the time of purchase of such produce can make him alert and avoid procurement
of such food. It is important that consumer is educated on common adulterants and their
effect on health.
The Government of India has from time taken steps to ensure that health of the citizens and to
prevent them from adulterated and substandard food, no of legislations have been enacted.
They are as follows:

THE AGRICULTURE PRODUCE (GRADING AND MARKING) ACT, 1937 3


This Act provides for the grading and marking of agricultural and other allied commodities
with the objective of making available only the quality agricultural produce including
horticulture and livestock produce to the consumers. Under the provisions of this Act, the
Central Government is authorized to make rules fixing grade designation to indicate the
quality of any scheduled article, specifying grade designation, authorizing interested parties
to grade, specifying conditions regarding manner of marking packaging etc and providing for
the confiscation and disposal of produce marked otherwise than in accordance with the
provisions of this Act etc.
It is a mark given under Agricultural Produce (Grading and Marking) Act popularly known as
AGMARK Act. Affixing or printing AGMARK on a food product means that the particular
food item satisfies the standard prescribed under the Act. It provides assurance of quality to
the consumers. The AGMARK are given to agricultural, horticultural, forest and livestock
products. The Act and the rules stipulate conditions governing use of the standards and lays
down procedures for marking, packing and sealing etc. AGMARK is not mandatory; but to
apply AGMARK to a product that does not conform to the standards prescribed is an offence.
3 http://agmarknet.nic.in/apgm1937.htm
6

Approved laboratories undertake analysis and testing the purity of products and prescribe
conditions for use of the label, packing and marking also. The complaints and grievances of
the consumers in respect of AGMARK grade products can be made to Agricultural marketing
advisor who is empowered to order free replacement of the product. A consumer can also
approach consumer redressal agencies also i.e District Forum , State Commission and
National Commission etc.,

PREVENTION OF FOOD ADULTERATION ACT, 1954


A very important step towards the addressing of the problem of food adulteration was done in
the year 1954 by enacting a central legislation on the subject keeping in view the limits of the
penal code. For example, it does not cover the mixing of the substances that are not noxious
as water in milk and stone and inferior quality grains impulses. Moreover, it requires proving
mens rea. The Act provides for strict liability and at the same time condition of adulterated
food to be noxious is done away with.
Prior to this there were number of state laws for each state, which were enacted at different
times and without mutual consultation between the states. In 1937, a committee was
appointed by the Central Advisory Board of Health and it advised for the central legislation to
bring uniformity in the law. The basic idea behind is deterrent theory. It has 25 sections and
the rules were framed under it in 1955.
In Municipal Corporation of Delhi v. Surja Ram 4 the object of the Act was explained as
follows:
It is enacted to curb the widespread evil of food adulteration and is legislative measure for
social defence. It is intended to suppress a socio-economic mischief, an evil that attempts to
poison, for monetary gains, a very source of substance of life and wellbeing of the
community.
The Act provides for a Central Food Laboratory and the Central Committee for Food
Standards. The central government is vested with the rule-making power. As per the need, the
Act was amended four times -1964, 1971, 1976, and 1986.

4 (1965) Cr.LJ. 571


7

There are certain loopholes in the act5;


1) Act does not provide for the mandatory standardization of food products.
2) There is no requirement for training to the food inspectors. Usually, they dont know
how much sample to take and in what quantity the preservative is to be mixed in the
sample because of which the samples are usually destroyed by the time they are tested.
The minimum number of such inspectors required for the area is not given. In other
words, the inspector to the population ratio is missing in the Act.
3) The PFA gives right to any person to get the sample tested if he thinks that it contains
deleterious substance under section 12. But for this he has to pass two hurdles. First, he
has to inform the seller the purpose for which he is taking the sample and second that for
analysis he has to pay the requisite fees. As far as the first issue is concerned, no trader
who is really guilty will allow the consumer to take the sample. Secondly, though the fee
is refundable if the analysis report is positive, it is not possible for all to afford it initially,
as it is usually costly affair. Moreover it is always doubtful whether the analysis will be
cent percent precise.
4) There is the major problem with procedural part of the Act. The Act fails to mark
distinction between the categories of adulteration and have same punishment for all kind
of adulteration.
5) While sentencing, the judge has no discretion as there is provision of minimum
punishment. On the contrary, a burden is placed on him to state in judgment the special
and adequate reasons as to why a particular punishment is meted out.6
6) Coming to the practical side, under the present scenario the retailers are not in the
position to press the manufacturers for giving guarantee. Moreover there are no facilities
available to the traders to test the purity of the articles at the time of purchase.

ESSENTIAL COMMODITIES ACT. 1955


The EC Act, 1955 gives powers to control production, supply, distribution etc. of essential
commodities for maintaining or increasing supplies and for securing their equitable
distribution and availability at fair prices. Using the powers under the Act, various
Ministries/Departments of the Central Government have issued Control orders for regulating
5 Subhash C. Sharma, Consumer Protection, 8(4) Central India Law Quarterly 377, 381
(1995)
6 P.S. Rao, A Critique on the Prevention of Food adulteration Act, 1954, 13 Chartered
Secretary 827 (1983)
8

production/distribution/ quality aspect/ movement etc. pertaining to the commodities which


are essential and administered by them.

The Essential Commodities Act is being implemented by the State Governments/UT


Administrations by availing of the delegated powers under the Act. The State
Governments/UT Administrations have issued various Control Orders to regulate various
aspects of trading in Essential Commodities such as foodgrains, edible oils, pulses kerosene,
sugar etc. The Central Government regularly monitors the action taken by State
Governments/UT Administrations to implement the provisions of the Essential Commodities
Act.
The items declared as essential commodities under the Essential Commodities Act, 1955 are
reviewed from time to time in the light of liberalized economic policies in consultation with
the Ministries/Departments administering the essential commodities. At present the list of
essential commodities contains 15 items in which Foodstuffs, including edible oilseeds and
oils are under Item no.6 of the List.

FRUIT PRODUCTS ORDER, 1955


Fruit Products Order -1955, promulgated under Section 3 of the Essential Commodities Act1955, aims at regulating sanitary and hygienic conditions in manufacture of fruit, vegetable
products. It is mandatory for all manufacturers of fruit, vegetable products to obtain a license
under this Order. To ensure good quality products, manufactures under hygienic conditions,
the Fruit Product Order lays down the minimum requirements for;
1)
2)
3)
4)

Sanitary and hygienic conditions of premises, surrounding and personnel.


Water to be used for processing.
Machinery and equipment.
Product standards.

Besides this, maximum limits of preservatives, additives and contaminants have also been
specified for various products.
This order is implemented by Ministry of Food Processing Industries through the
Directorate of Fruit and Vegetable Preservation at New Delhi. The directorate has four
regional offices located at Delhi. The directorate has four regional offices located at Delhi,
Mumbai, Calcutta and Chennai, as well as sub-offices at Lucknow and Guwahati. The
officials of the Directorate undertake frequent inspections of the manufacturing units and
9

draw random samples of products from the manufacturers and markets which are analysed
in the laboratories to test their conformity with the specifications laid under FPO.
The Central Fruit Advisory Committee comprising of the officials of concerned
Government Departments, Technical expert, representatives of Central Food Technology
Research Institute etc. This committee is responsible for recommending amendments in the
Fruit Product Order.

THE SOLVENT EXTRACTED OIL, DE-OILED MEAL AND EDIBLE FLOUR


( CONTROL) ORDER, 1967.
This Order is basically a quality control order to ensure that the solvent extracted oils in
particular are not reached to the consumers for consumption before the same are refined and
conformed to the quality standards specified in the Order for the purpose. Standards for the
solvent (hexane), which is to be used for extraction of oil from the oil-bearing materials, have
also been specified so as to eliminate possible contamination of oil from the solvent used.
Salient Features
1) Governs the manufacture, quality and movement of solvent extracted oils, de-oiled meal

and edible flour;


2) Consumer protection through quality assurance of solvent extracted oils, de-oiled meal

and edible flour;


3) Eliminates the possibility of diversion of the oils for uses not intended.
4) Prohibit by, offer to buy, use or stock for use, any solvent not conforming to the quality
standards for extraction of vegetable oils; and
5) Specifies particulars to be declared on the label affixed to the container.

MEAT FOOD PRODUCTS ORDER, 1973


Meat Food Products Order, 1973 promulgated under the provisions of Essential Commodities
Act, 1955 provides for sanitary and other requirements, limits of heavy metals, preservatives,
insecticides, residue, etc., for meat food products. This order was being implemented by
Ministry of Rural Area and Employment.

MILK & MILK PRODUCTS ORDER, 1992 (MMPO)


Milk and Milk Products Order, 1992 administered by the Department of Animal Husbandry
& Dairying under Ministry of Agriculture was promulgated on the 9 th June , 1992 under the
provision of Section 3 of the Essential Commodities Act, 1955 with a view to maintain an
10

increased supply of liquid milk of desired quality to the general public. This order regulated
production, supply and distribution of milk and milk product throughout the country. The
order also seeks to ensures the observance of sanitary requirements for dairies, machinery and
premises, and quality control standards for milk and milk products.

FOOD SAFETY AND STANDARDS ACT, 2006


The Food Safety and Standards Act have been enacted to consolidate the laws related to food.
The important thing to note is that it does not deal with the food adulteration alone. It can be
easily inferred from the broad definition of the term unsafe food under section 3(zz) along
with many other expressions important for laying down the standards. Again, the Act gives a
vast definition of adulterant. And at the same time few more definitions give us a broad
picture such as contaminant, extraneous matter and food additive. The short title also
leads us to the same conclusion. The interpretation clause defines food safety as assurance
that the food is acceptable for human consumption., and standard {under section 3(zv)} as
in relation to any articles of food means standards notified by the food authority. For
removing any doubt the term sub-standard is also defined {under section 3(zx)}.
The Food Safety and Standards Act 2006 was introduced to overcome these shortcomings
and to give more importance to safety standards. This Act consolidates the laws relating to
food and establishes the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSA) for laying
down science-based standards for articles of food and to regulate their manufacture, storage,
distribution, sale and import, to ensure availability of safe and wholesome food for human
consumption.
This Act provides for the establishment of the FSSA which is an autonomous body under the
Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India. FSSAs work programs ensure
the provision of appropriate scientific, technical and administrative support for scientific
committees and scientific panels, ensuring that the FSSA carries out its tasks in accordance
with the requirements of its users, prepares statements of revenue and expenditure and
executes the budget, while developing and maintaining contact with the Central Government
and ensuring a regular dialogue with its relevant committees. The FSSA shall establish a
Central Advisory Committee, and this committee shall advise the FSSA in drawing up
proposals for the FSSAs work program, prioritization of work, identifying potential risks,
pooling

of

knowledge

and

other

functions
11

specified

by

the

regulations.

Sec.3(j)[16] of the FSS Act, 2006 provides that food means any substance, whether
processed, partially processed or unprocessed, which is intended for human consumption and
includes primary food to the extent defined in clause (zk), genetically modified or engineered
food or food containing such ingredients, infant food, packaged drinking water, alcoholic
drink, chewing gum, and any substance, including water used into the food during its
manufacture, preparation or treatment but does not include any animal feed, live animals
unless they are prepared or processed for placing on the market for human consumption,
plants prior to harvesting, drugs and medicinal products, cosmetics, narcotic or psychotropic
substances:

Provided that the Central Government may declare, by notification in the Official Gazette,
any other article as food for the purposes of this Act having regards to its use, nature,
substance, or quality;
There are general principles to be followed in administration of Act7:- The Central
Government, the State Governments, the Food Authority and other agencies, as the case may
be, while implementing the provisions of this Act shall be guided by the following principles,
namely:(1) (a) Endeavour to achieve an appropriate level of protection of human life and health and
the protection of consumers interests, including fair practices in all kinds of food trade with
reference to food safety standards and practices; (f) in cases where there are reasonable
grounds to suspect that a food may present a risk for human health, then, depending on the
nature, seriousness and extent of that risk, the Food Authority and the Commissioner of Food
Safety shall take appropriate steps to inform the general public of the nature of the risk to
health, identifying to the fullest extent possible the food or type of food, the risk that it may
present, and the measures which are taken or about to be taken to prevent, reduce or eliminate
that risk;
(2) The Food Authority shall, while framing regulations or specifying standards under this
Act(e) Ensure protection of the interests of consumers and shall provide a basis for consumers to
make informed choices in relation to foods they consume;
7 Section 18, Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006
12

Compensation in case of injury or death of consumer8:- (1) Without prejudice to the other
provisions of this Chapter, if any person whether by himself or by another person on his
behalf, manufactures or distributes or sells or imports any article of food causing injury to the
consumer or his death, it shall be lawful for the Adjudicating Officer or as the case may be,
the Court to direct him to pay compensation to the victim or the legal representative of the
victim, a sum(a) Not less than five lakh rupees in case of death;
(b) Not exceeding three lakh rupees in case of grievous injury; and
(c) not exceeding one lakh rupees, in all other case of injury:

BENEFITS OF FOOD SAFETY AND STANDARDS ACT


1) The biggest advantage it has is the mandatory standardization it provides for food.
Moreover, the liability of the person will be civil liability which will be easier to prove.
It will be the special responsibility of the food business operator to ensure that the
articles of food satisfy the requirements of the Act at all stages of production, etc.9
2) For the first time there is a provision for compensating the consumer who gets any injury
or incur any health hazard, along with the penalty or punishment given to the perpetrator.
The Act imposes responsibility on the operator of business to recall the articles of food,
if he finds that they dont satisfy the standards of the Act.10
3) If the inspector or the food officer is found misusing his power, there is provision to
impose fine on him on the proof of his being guilty.11
4) Now there will be only one Ministry looking into the whole affair instead of nine
ministries. The graded system of penalties will remove confusion and inequality that
existed before as there was same minimum punishment for all forms of adulteration.12
8 Section 65, Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006
9 Section 26, Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006.
10 Id., Section 28
11 Id., Section 39
12 Id., Section 48-67
13

LOOP HOLES IN THE FOOD SAFETY AND STANDARDS ACT


the Act provides for compulsory process of registration, this may create problem for small
businessmen like hawkers and venders.
2. There is no registration process mentioned; nor is there any authority specified for the
registration.
3. The Food Safety Officer has defined no jurisdiction for the sake of inspection and seizer of
sample.13
4. The provisions that give power to the officers to grant license, or impose huge penalty give
way to possibility of corruption.14
5. As the Act provides for both the criminal as well as civil procedure, there is possibility of
confusion as to what procedure to be followed.
6. One year limitation period has been provided for the bringing the case in the notice of an
authority under the Act.
7. Except from the packaged drinking water, the potable water used in the manufacture of
most of the articles of food, is excluded from the purview of the Act.

CONCLUSION
In spite of the best of the legislation, the result seems to be with no big change in the practice.
It is because one cannot change the mind setup of the people who are illiterate and have little
to think of others. This cannot be done all of a sudden but strict enforcement machinery is
feasible. The need is not of a new legislation but to see whatever the provisions are, they
should be strictly adhered to. At the same time the need of the hour is not an integrated law
(that the Act actually is) but the integrated approach that includes the contribution from the
public and NGOs.
In order to prevent consumers from adulteration, it is important that:

Awareness is created about food safety and services.

13 Section 41 (1) , Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006


14 Section 69 (1), Food Safety and Standards Act , 2006
14

Emphasis should be on good manufacturing practices than on detection of adulteration

and prosecution.
More laboratories with sophisticated technologies should be established in order to meet

the current needs.


Harmonious approach of the multiple food laws is necessary for uniform and logical
approach to regulate the quality of food.

BIBLIOGRAPHY
Articles:
1) Subhash C. Sharma, Consumer Protection, 8(4) Central India Law Quarterly 377, 381
(1995)
2) P.S. Rao, A Critique on the Prevention of Food adulteration Act, 1954, 13 Chartered
Secretary 827 (1983).
3) Devi Prashad Ghosh, Food Adulteration in India: Issue of Policy or Social System?
2(1)49-69, June, 2012.
Weblinks:
1) https://www.academia.edu/6271170/Food_Adultration_in_India_Issue_of_Policy_or_So
cial_System
2) http://www.legalservicesindia.com/article/article/a-vision-of-food-176-1.html
3) http://agmarknet.nic.in/apgm1937.htm
Cases:
Municipal Corporation of Delhi v. Surja Ram, (1965) Cr.LJ. 571

15