Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI)

Ministry of Health and Family Welfare


The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has restricted the permissible amount of industrial Trans Fatty Acid (TFA) in food products to 2 per cent from 2022.


  • Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is an autonomous body
  • Established under the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India.
  • The FSSAI has been established under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006, which is a consolidating statute related to food safety and regulation in India.
  •  FSSAI is responsible for protecting and promoting public health through the regulation and supervision of food safety.
  • The FSSAI is headed by a non-executive Chairperson, appointed by the Central Government, either holding or has held the position of not below the rank of Secretary to the Government of India.
  •  The FSSAI has its headquarters at New Delhi.
  • The authority also has 6 regional offices located in Delhi, Guwahati, Mumbai, Kolkata, Cochin, and Chennai.
  •  14 referral laboratories notified by FSSAI, 72 State/UT laboratories located throughout India and 112 laboratories are NABL accredited private laboratories notified by FSSAI.


FSSAI was established by Former Union Minister Dr Anbumani Ramadoss, Government of India on 5 August 2011 under Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 which was operationalized in year 2006. The FSSAI consists of a chairperson & 22 members. The FSSAI is responsible for setting standards for food so that there is one body to deal with and no confusion in the minds of consumers, traders, manufacturers, and investors. Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India is the Administrative Ministry of Food Safety and Standards Authority of India. The following are the statutory powers that the FSS Act, 2006 gives to the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI).

  1. Framing of regulations to lay down food safety standards
  2. Laying down guidelines for accreditation of laboratories for food testing
  3. Providing scientific advice and technical support to the Central Government
  4. Contributing to the development of international technical standards in food
  5. Collecting and collating data regarding food consumption, contamination, emerging risks, etc.
  6. Disseminating information and promoting awareness about food safety and nutrition in India


  • Framing of regulations to lay down the standards and guidelines of food safety.
  • Granting FSSAI food safety license and certification for food businesses.
  • Laying down procedure and guidelines for laboratories in food businesses.
  • To provide suggestions to the government in framing the policies.
  • To collect data regarding contaminants in foods products, identification of emerging risks and introduction of rapid alert system.
  • Creating an information network across the country about food safety.
  • Promote general awareness about food safety and food standards.

FSSAI Legislative Framework:

  • Highlights of the Food Safety and Standard Act, 2006
    • The Act aims to establish a single reference point for all matters relating to food safety and standards, by moving from multi- level, multi-departmental control to a single line of command.
    • The Act established FSSAI and the State Food Safety Authorities for each State.
  • Highlights of Food Safety and Standards Rule, 2011. The Rules provides for:
    • The Food Safety Appellate Tribunal and the Registrar of the Appellate Tribunal, for adjudication of food safety cases.
  • Highlights of Food Safety and Standards Regulations 2011
    • It covers Licensing and Registration, Packaging and Labelling of Food Businesses, Food Product Standards and Food Additives Regulation.
    • It prohibits and restricts on sales or approval for Non-Specified Food and Food Ingredients, such ingredients may cause harm to human health.
    • It provides for Food Safety and Standards on Organic Food and regulates Food Advertising.

FSSAI Structure

  • The FSSAI comprises of a Chairperson and twenty two members out of which one – third are to be women.
  • The Chairperson of FSSAI is appointed by the Central Government.
  • The Food Authority is assisted by Scientific Committees and Panels in setting standards and the Central Advisory Committee in coordinating with enforcement agencies.
  • The primary responsibility for enforcement is largely with the State Food Safety Commissioners.

Challenges and Shortcomings

  • The “petty manufacturers, retailers and hawkers” are exempted from FSSAI ambit. These segments greatly contributes to unorganised food sector and due to its low prices, most of the population prefer food consumption from these segments.
  • Lack of infrastructure such as food testing laboratories. There are only 87 National Accreditation Board for testing and calibration Laboratories (NABL) accredited Labs, where as there are more than 1500 private labs in India.
  • Shortage of qualified manpower and functional food testing equipment in state food laboratories and referral laboratories resulted in deficient testing of food samples.
  • There is an acute shortage of licensing and enforcement officers in the states which severely affected food safety measures.
  • The body has been only prescriptive in nature and failed to ensure safety, quality and hygiene in food industry.
  • There are only 377 products mentioned in the FSSAI regulations – whereas other countries have over 10,000 standards. Moreover, the list is not regularly reviewed.
  • FSSAI is highly underfunded to monitor the widening ambit of food laws. Also, there are no standard practices for food inspection, the process being mostly discretionary.
  • Cumbersome and lengthy approval procedures have delayed the pre-launch approvals for products from the FSSAI for over a year.
  • Consignments of imported food products often remain stuck at the ports awaiting clearance by the FSSAI – sometimes due to small issues like labelling of the packages not conforming to arbitrary norms specified by the FSSAI, which differ from the widely accepted global standards.
  • Differences of opinion between the food regulator and the food processing ministry also handicap the FSSAI functioning.
  • According to a CAG Report, FSSAI is yet to frame regulations and guidelines to govern different procedures.
  • The CAG also found that “licenses were issued on the basis of incomplete documents in more than 50 per cent of cases, checked in Audit”.

Landmark cases with FSSAI:

  • Nestle India Limited Maggi Case: The maggi noodles were reported with excess lead unfit for human consumption and FSSAI prescribed for ban.
  • Cadbury India: It was reported that worms was found in Cadbury’s Dairy Milk. The FSSAI declared packaging was not proper or airtight and made it mandatory to change the packaging.

FSSAI Initiatives

  • Heart Attack Rewind – It is the first mass media campaign of FSSAI. It is aimed to support FSSAI’s target of eliminating trans fat in India by the year 2022.
  • FSSAI-CHIFSS – It is collaboration between FSSAI and CII-HUL Initiative on Food Safety Sciences to promote collaborations between Industry, Scientific Community, Academia for food safety.
  • Swasth Bharat Yatra – It is a Pan-India cycle movement called as ‘Eat Right India’ aimed to create consumer awareness about eating safe and nutritious food.

Way Forward

  • FSSAI should also bring the manufacturers under the responsibility of imposing food safety. The focus should be on covering each person in supply chain for assessment of food manufacturing, storing and distribution.
  • FSSAI has recently notified the draft Regulations on Food Recall Procedure to provide guidance to Food Business Organisations (FBO). This will enhance the present regulatory system.
  • FSSAI and the state food authorities should conduct surveys of food business activity under their jurisdiction to ensure a comprehensive and reliable database of FBOs and ensure better enforcement and administration of the FSS Act.
  • Increasing limits of compensation and fine in cases of injury or death and providing adequate infrastructure such as food testing laboratories.
  • CAG has recommended that FSSAI should frame standard operating procedures on the formulation and review of standards, and ensure that these are being followed in the near future.

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