Recently the Bombay High Court stayed the scheme of product approval by Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) for six months after considering it as ambiguous. This created great inconvenience to FSSAI and dietary supplement, health supplement, functional food and nutraceutical industry of India. Obviously, the decision of Bombay High Court was challenged before the Supreme Court of India.
Now the Supreme Court of India has stayed the Bombay High Court judgment. A bench headed by Justice JS Khehar stayed the HC decision after FSSAI alleged that the impugned order has paralysed the mechanism to enforce food safety norms on imported food items.
The impugned product approval scheme by FSSAI initially limited the requirement of product approval for novel foods that contain ingredients which are introduced for the first time in the country or which do not have a history of safe use. However, the scope of scheme was extended to cover all categories of products which are not standardised, even if they were old and established in the market.
The HC held that the advisory to manufacturers had no force of law and FSSAI had no power to issue the impugned communication without it being ratified by the two houses of Parliament. “The order has also had the effect of paralysing almost entirely the discharge of regulatory functions by the Food Authority in relation to all the food products that are specified under Section 22 of the Act,” Solicitor-General Ranjit Kumar said.