SC upholds stay on FSSAI advisory

The food safety regulator’s suggestion lacked statutory backing: Bench

In a blow to Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), the Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld a Bombay High Court order staying its 2013 advisory requiring manufacturers to take product approval for a broad spectrum of food items already available in the market.

A Bench of Justices J.S. Khehar and C. Nagappan agreed with the High Court that the food safety regulator’s advisory lacked statutory backing.

The May 2013 advisory brought under its ambit food products including “novel foods, functional foods, food supplements, irradiated foods, genetically modified foods, foods for special dietary uses or extracts or concentrates of botanicals, herbs or of animal sources.”

Industry body Assocham said “this decision will uphold the industry’s interests, especially in the small and medium scale sector, which find the process of product approval and enforcement as a cause of major concern, bordering on fear, for them.”

It said the advisory would have put an additional burden on the thin resources of the SME sector as well as wasted the valuable time in obtaining unnecessary approvals. The Confederation of All India Traders said the advisory was arbitrary and unjustified.

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