They want government to postpone deadline for licence renewal

Food vendors and traders in the State have opposed renewing of their licence from the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act to Food Safety and Standards Act 2006 in the face of State government’s revised February 5, 2013 deadline.

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India has directed the State governments to order those dealing food products to adhere to the provisions of the FSSA 2006, which has stringent provisions against food adulteration and quality among others. The government, which wanted the licence renewal six months ago, had set the fresh deadline.

Interactive meet

On Monday, traders and food vendors yet again expressed their discontent over the deadline at an interactive meet with the Jai Kumar, Joint Director, Public Health Institute, and Srinivasan, the Union government’s Designated Officer of the Central Licensing Agency, organised by the Federation of Karnataka Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FKCCI).

Not only that, they sought an extension of deadline by citing some of the provisions could not be adhered to by small vendors, and pointed out it would entail additional financial burden.

“There is a need for the State government to educate all the stakeholders of the Act before pressing for the renewal of the licences. If there are no awareness programmes, it may lead to harassment of traders particularly the less educated and those from rural backgrounds,” said FKCCI president K. Shiva Shanmugam.

Practical difficult

K.L. Ramanatha Bhat, ex-president, Karnataka Pradesh Hotels and Restaurants’ Association, said that the government had not addressed practical difficulties. “Implementing the Act will increase our expenditure. We will have to measure the food ingredients and small enterprises cannot follow all these protocols,” he said.

Bharat Kumar R. Shah, chairperson, Internal Trade Committee, FKCCI, pointed out that the Act provides discretionary powers to food inspectors, which may lead to harassment to traders. In that case, he said, there is a need to bring in international standard safety practices to pesticides and insecticides manufactured by MNCs.

Responding to their concerns, Mr. Srinivasan was confident proper implementation of the Act. “There will be initial difficulties but traders should renew their licence to implement the Act.”

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