New Delhi, Aug. 31: A bill containing an integrated food law is likely to be introduced in the winter session of Parliament.
Sources in the ministry of food processing industries said that in the wake of allegations about pesticide residues in soft drinks, water and other food products like milk, an integrated food law assumes “all the more importance and is of top priority for the ministry”.
It has been a long-standing demand of the food and beverages industry that a “single-window” approach taking care of various clearances can ease hassles and ensure better compliance with rules.
Several authorities govern various facets of laws related to processed food. Some of these are the Fruit Products Order 1955, the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), which provides the ISI (Indian Standard Institute) mark for food products, Milk and Milk Products Order, Meat and Fish Products Order, Eggmark, Prevention of Food Adulteration (PFA) and the Agriculture and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority.
These authorities come under various ministries.
“Sometimes, we need more than one clearance, and getting it from various ministries is both time-consuming and exacting,” said a food safety official of a leading FMCG company.
A group of ministers had been constituted to propose legislative and other changes for preparing the integrated food law. It proposes to converge and modernise the existing laws on food processing and bring about a single statute for regulation of food products.
This law is expected to take into account the international scenario and modern developments in this area.
Cola norms revision
The Centre has issued a draft notification for revision of standards to regulate the presence of metals and pesticides in beverages, reports PTI.
The draft issued for public comment within a month of its notification proposes to extend the norms for pesticide residues in bottled water that will be applicable from January 1 next year to all kinds of beverages, including soft drinks.
The Union ministry of health and family welfare has issued the notification following a controversy that broke out after a Centre for Science and Environment report alleged excessive presence of pesticides in soft drinks. Later, a government report also indicated excessive presence of pesticide and metal residues in soft drinks.
The draft proposes a limit of 0.0001 mg per litre individually and 0.0005 mg a litre collectively for pesticide residues. The notification also proposes more stringent limits for presence of heavy metals in all kinds of beverages.