Food and beverage market

This article has been written by Mehernaz Contractor of Siddharth Law College, Mumbai. This article provides a detailed view of Indian and international food laws.

It has been published by Rachit Garg.


Food is essential for the survival of a human being. Article 21 not only includes the Right to Life but also, the Right to Food. Right to Food was discussed in brief in the case of People’s Union for Civil Liberties v. Union of India and Others (PUCL) (2001) through a writ petition. The Right to Food is also regarded as a fundamental duty of the state which is provided in Article 47 of the Indian Constitution. Many restaurants, food stalls, factories, etc., are being opened every day in almost all parts of the world. These places must ensure proper sanitation and hygiene in manufacturing, processing, preparation, etc. International organizations are being run to ensure that customers obtain high quality and safety while consuming food. 

Download Now

Food laws and regulations in India 

People who want to start a business in manufacturing or processing of food can have some certification marks on their product so that a customer can rely on such certification marks while buying a product. There are some standards or marks to be voluntarily adopted while manufacturing food products which are described  below:-

  1. AGMARK : It is a certification mark adopted for agricultural produce which ensures that the products conform to standards notified by the Directorate of Marketing & Inspection (DMI), Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare, Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare under Agricultural Produce (Grading Marking) Act, 1937. AGMARK covers almost 222 commodities. Although this certification scheme is voluntary, Food Safety and Standards (Prohibition and Restriction on Sale) Regulations 2011 have prescribed mandatory certification under AGMARK for certain products viz, blended edible vegetable oil, fat spread.
  2. Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS): BIS was established under the Bureau of Indian Standards Act, 2016. It functions under the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food, and Public Distribution. Although this certification scheme is voluntary, Food Safety and Standards (Prohibition and Restriction on Sale) Regulations 2011 have prescribed mandatory certification under BIS for certain products viz, milk powder, infant milk substitutes, packaged drinking water, etc. It also prescribes ISI (Indian Standards Institute) certification marks for food products.

There are other certifications launched by the Quality Council of India such as IndiaHACCP and IndiaGHP for maintaining food quality and hygiene. 

new legal draft

Before 2006, Food Industry was regulated by a lot of Acts that focussed on sanitation, quality, hygiene, and adulteration or mixing of poisonous substances in food which are stated below:-

  1. The Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954 – This Act penalizes adulteration or contamination of food that could cause harm or danger to the health of the customers. The Act also regulates the use of pesticides and chemicals in the preparation of food. Penalties are imposed if the contamination or adulteration causes injury or death to a person. Various tests for adulteration are suggested in the Act. A Committee was formed for maintaining the standards of food. Tests are conducted in the Central food laboratory to check if there was any adulteration in food or not.
  2. The Fruit Products Order, 1955 – This Order was established to maintain sanitary and hygienic conditions while manufacturing fruit and vegetable products. It was regulated under Section 3 of the Essential Commodities Act, 1955. Vinegar, pickles, squashes, jams, etc. were included under this Act. The Order also contained information about the packaging and labeling of fruit products. 
  3. The Meat Food Products Order, 1973 – This Order provides for sanitary conditions and sets limits on insecticides and chemicals for meat products. The Order’s objective is to monitor that diseases should not be transferred from animals to human beings. This Order was regulated by the Directorate of Marketing and Inspection, Ministry of Agriculture, and Rural Reconstruction.
  4. The Vegetable Oil Products (Control) Order, 1947 – This Order regulated the production and distribution of all edible oils. Vanaspati and other edible oils used for cooking must ensure all ISI standards.
  5. The Edible Oils Packaging (Regulation) Order, 1998 – This Order ensured that the quality of edible oils should be maintained during sale. The oil to be sold must follow all standards of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954.
  6. The Solvent Extracted Oil, De-oiled Meal, and Edible Flour (Control) Order, 1967 – This Order acted as quality control to ensure that the oils must be refined and processed before reaching the consumption market.
  7. The Milk and Milk Products Order, 1992 – This Order regulated the manufacturing, processing, and distribution of liquid milk. This Order also made sure that milk was supplied to distributors on time.

Compulsory legislations 

Food businesses have to comply with the provisions of the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 (FSS) to deal with manufacturing or processing or supply of food products.

Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006

The Food Safety and Standards Act became effective in 2011 and repealed all of the above-mentioned Acts and Orders. This Act regulated the manufacture, storage, distribution, sale, and import of food products to ensure the availability of safe and nutritious food for human consumption. It also established the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI). It also states the responsibilities of food operators, manufacturers, packers, wholesalers, distributors, and sellers. The Food Authority and the state food safety authorities shall be responsible for the enforcement of this Act.

Members of FSSAI

FSSAI comprises a chairperson and twenty-two members out of which one-third shall be women. It also consists of a Central Advisory Committee which looks after the interests of the food industry, agriculture, consumers, relevant research bodies, and food laboratories. This Act contains provisions regarding the packaging and labeling of food and the prohibition of unfair trade practices. Packaging of food must contain the name of the food, list of ingredients, date of manufacturing, net quantity, etc. 

Categories of food

FSSAI categorizes food products into two types – Standardized and Non-standardized. Standardized food products are those which do not require approval before manufacture, sale, distribution, or import. Non-standardised food products are those which do not have any standards prescribed for them so prior approval is required for such products. Foods imported into India have to follow the FSS Act, Rules and Regulations. If the food articles are standardized, the importer only needs an FSSAI license to import them. The importer also needs to comply with FSSAI regulations for the sale and distribution of food products. If a new or unknown food article is introduced for import, it is considered non-standardized and requires product approval under Section 22 of the FSS Act, 2006. The FSS Act, 2006 does not apply to food being exported out of India. 

Types of license

Licenses available under FSSAI are:-

  1. Registration – No license is required for businesses with an annual turnover of fewer than 12 lakhs. Only registration is sufficient for it. The applicant has to fill out Form A under FSSAI.
  2. State License – Food business operators having an annual turnover of more than 12 lakhs but less than 20 crores are eligible for it. Form B must be filled for it.
  3. Central License – Food business operators having an annual turnover of more than 20 crores are eligible for it. Form B must be filled for it.

Functions of FSSAI

Functions of FSSAI are:-

  • To frame regulations for food safety standards
  • Setting guidelines for the proper regulation of food laboratories
  • Contributes to international technical standards in food
  • Promotes awareness about food safety and nutrition in India

Several regulations like Food Safety and Standards (Licensing and Registration of Food Businesses) Regulation, Food Safety and Standards (Food Products Standards and Food Additives) Regulation, Food Safety and Standards (Packaging and Labelling) Regulation, Food Safety and Standards (Contaminants, Toxins, and Residues) Regulation, Food Safety and Standards (Laboratory and Sampling Analysis) Regulation, Food Safety and Standards (Food Recall Procedure) Regulation, etc. are passed under this Act which looks after different areas involved in the food supply chain.

Key areas covered by Indian food laws 

The Indian food industry must follow standards of food products which are regulated by the Food Safety and Standards Act are stated below:-

  • Dairy products
  • Fats, oils, and fat emulsions
  • Fruits and vegetable products
  • Cereal and cereal products
  • Meat and meat products
  • Fish and fish products
  • Sweets and confectionery
  • Sweetening agents, including honey
  • Salt, spices, condiments, and related products
  • Beverages (other than dairy and fruits and vegetables based)
  • Proprietary food
  • Fortification of staple foods i.e. vegetable oil, milk, salt, rice, and wheat flour/maida.

FSSAI ascertains some factors to ensure quality, such as:

  • No article of food should contain food additives
  • No articles of food should contain any continents or toxic substances
  • No article of food should contain an excess amount of pesticides or insecticides 
  • Modified articles of food should not be manufactured, processed, or sold.
  • Every article of food should adhere to standards of packaging and labeling

International organizations for food law 

The Indian food industry is not only regulated by the Food Safety and Standards Act but it is also regulated by International organizations which monitor the safety and hygiene of the food. They are mentioned as follows:-

  1. World Health Organization (WHO) – The Nutrition and Food Safety Team of WHO looks after food safety and prescribes guidelines for escaping from diseases that can originate from unhygienic food. The Standards and Scientific Advice on Food and Nutrition (SSA) Unit of WHO is responsible for maintaining policies for food nutrition. 
  2. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) – It works toward the eradication of hunger by creating more sustainable policies. It encourages industries like agriculture, forestry, and fisheries to contribute to their goals and mission. 
  3. Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC) – It is implemented by the Joint FAO/WHO Food Standards Programme. The Commission meets in regular sessions once a year alternating between Geneva and Rome. CAC publishes a document called Codex Alimentarius which means ‘Food Code’ and is a collection of internationally adopted Food Standards. It covers standards for various purposes such as food labeling, food hygiene, food additives, pesticide residues, etc. The Codex Alimentarius is published in six official languages of the United Nations. Three types of standards are covered by the Codex Alimentarius:
  • General Standards
  • Commodity Standards
  • Regional Standards.
  1. International Organisation for Standardization (ISO) – ISO for food covers food products, food safety management, microbiology, fisheries, essential oils and starch, and its by-products. Various ISO’s are used in the food industry like ISO/ TC 34, ISO/ TC 34/ SC 5, ISO 20633, ISO/ TC 34/ SC 4, ISO 22000, ISO 16140, etc.
  2. World Trade Organization (WTO) – This organization along with trade focuses on standards of food. Food Security is an important concern in the world and so the WTO imposes some restrictions on food management.

International regulations on food laws across the globe 

Every country has its different food laws according to the needs and well-being of the citizens of the country. Various countries around the globe implement the regulations in their way which can be seen below:-


The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is the authority responsible for safeguarding the quality of food for securing the health of the citizens. A regulated control is kept on frozen foods in Canada. It has adopted the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) System for the regulation of food. The food industry in Canada is regulated by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency Act, Food and Drugs Act, Meat Inspection Act, Canada Agricultural Products Act, and the Fish Inspection Act and their respective regulations. 

United States

Food Supply in the U. S. is regulated by the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). The Food Code has been published by the Food and Drug Administration for regulating food industries, restaurants, and grocery stores. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is responsible for implementing all regulations and laws on food.

Australia/New Zealand

Food safety is jointly implemented in Australia and New- Zealand by Food Standards Australia-New Zealand (formerly Australia New Zealand Food Authority). This Authority makes sure that the additives or continents are not added to food. 


Food is regulated in China by the State Food and Drug Administration. The safety of food is ensured through the Food Hygiene Law of the People’s Republic of China. It follows HACCP and Codex Alimentarius for maintaining the hygiene of food.


Regulation of manufacture, import, and sale of food is done through acts like Food Safety Basic Law, Food Sanitation Law, etc. Food Safety is controlled under the jurisdiction of the Department of Food Safety under the Pharmaceutical and Food Safety Bureau. 

European Union

Every process in the food supply is monitored by the  European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). This authority provides its scientific ideas on emergency issues of food.


Food safety is very important for providing nutrition and care to people. Stricter food laws should be enforced so that adulteration or contamination is not done to food. Unhygienic food can cause much damage to a person’s health, and so various authorities must adhere to guidelines provided by the government. Various organizations are contributing to food safety, and they provide standards to which businesses must strictly comply. Penalties must be enforced for whoever is found guilty of any act which can cause any damage to food consumed by the people.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Who is responsible for the implementation and enforcement of FSSA, 2006? Or who is the regulatory authority under the Food Act in India?

FSSA, 2006 is enforced by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India and State Food Authorities.

What is an improvement notice and who issues an improvement notice? 

Improvement notice is issued by Designated Officer (DO) and it is issued if the food business operator fails to comply with Section 32 of the FSS Act, 2006.

Under what circumstances can the Designated Officer suspend the license?

The license can be canceled by the Designated Officer if the food business operator fails to comply with   the improvement notice.

What is the time frame for making an appeal to the state commissioner of food safety?

An appeal can be made within fifteen days of the notice served by the person or period specified in the improvement notice whichever is less

Which license is required by a food business operator to run a food business in more than two states?

Food business operators who operate in more than two states must get a central license for head office and a separate license depending upon the turnover of the business. 

What are the various FSSAI regulations under FSS Act, 2006?

Various regulations are implemented by FSSAI such as Food Safety and Standards (Licensing and Registration of Food Businesses) Regulation, Food Safety and Standards (Food Products Standards and Food Additives) Regulation, Food Safety and Standards (Packaging and Labeling) Regulation, Food Safety and Standards (Contaminants, Toxins, and Residues) Regulation, etc. 

Why is food safety important to the food industry?

For any step in the food supply, food safety comes first. People involved in this chain of business must abide by the standards prescribed by the Food Authority which can lead to a good and clean environment.


Students of Lawsikho courses regularly produce writing assignments and work on practical exercises as a part of their coursework and develop themselves in real-life practical skills.

LawSikho has created a telegram group for exchanging legal knowledge, referrals, and various opportunities. You can click on this link and join:

Follow us on Instagram and subscribe to our YouTube channel for more amazing legal content.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here