The vertex food regulatory authority of the country, FSSAI issued an advisory to all the FBOs of the country to ensure that only proper and right information about the products and services are to be provided by FBOs either through agents or directly, under the guidelines to avoid any kind of penalty or punishment.
The advisory by the FSSAI has stated that ‘It may be advised to all the stakeholders that the defence of lack of due diligence on part of the agent or the consultant engaged by the FBOs may not be admissible’.
“Otherwise the same may render the FBO and/or its agent/consultant liable for penal action under Section 61 of the FSS Act 2006,” reads the advisory.
The Section 61 prescribes punishment for false information and it says, “if a person, in connection with a requirement or direction under this Act, provides any information or produces any document that the person knows is false or misleading, he shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may be extended to three months and also with fine which may extend to two lakh rupees.”
According to FSSAI, it has taken legal consultations regarding the matter. Advisory further marked section 80 (B) of FSS Act and “defence of due diligence” under the section 80.
Under this proviso, another person does not include a person who was ‘’an employee or agent of the defendant” and thus the said defence of lack of due diligence by the agent/ consultant may not be admissible to the FBO.
FSSAI also officially announced the advisory by rendering it to the Food safety officers of all the states and UTs along with the licensing authorities based at Delhi, Guwahati, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai for proper compliance to the advisory.