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A Full Paper on

Food Safety and Quality Standards – The Indian Scenario

Authored by: VM Sai Kamalesh Edida, PGDM, Mats, Bangalore.
Co – Authored by: Rudra Swati, PGDM, Mats, Bangalore.

1. Global Perspective of Agriculture Industry:

In recent years the growth rates of world agricultural production and crop yields have
slowed. This has raised fears that the world may not be able to grow enough food and
other commodities to ensure that future populations are adequately fed.

However, the slowdown has occurred not because of shortages of land or water but rather
because demand for agricultural products has also slowed. This is mainly because world
population growth rates have been declining since the late 1960s, and fairly high levels of
food consumption per person are now being reached in many countries, beyond which
further rises will be limited. But it is also the case that a stubbornly high share of the
world's population remains in absolute poverty and so lacks the necessary income to
translate its needs into effective demand.

As a result, the growth in world demand for agricultural products is expected to fall from
an average 2.2 percent a year over the past 30 years to 1.5 percent a year for the next 30.
In developing countries the slowdown will be more dramatic, from 3.7 percent to 2
percent, partly as a result of China having passed the phase of rapid growth in its demand
for food.

2. Agriculture Sector of Indian Economy:

India remains an agricultural economy in many important respects. The share of

agriculture in the country’s GDP constitutes about 18%. Agriculture provides a livelihood
for approximately 600 million citizens, at least indirectly. However, Indian Agriculture is
not very efficient, and the sector continues to limit overall economic growth.

India is endowed with rich land, water, and labor resources, although water resources are
overexploited is in some states due to non-economic pricing of irrigation, water and
power. Indian agriculture is characterized by low productivity, with average crop yields
for most crops well below world levels. The average farm size is 3.3acres and getting
smaller as farms are broken up as they pass from one generation to the next. “Large”
farms (>25acres) account for only 1.0% of the total of 119.2million farms in India. State
land-ceiling laws restrict farm size to 10 to 20 acres (irrigated, double-cropped) and 15 to
60 acres (non-irrigated) in various states. Only 35% of the net cropped area (141million
ha) or partly irrigated; 65% depends on monsoon rains.

With the beginning of economic liberalization in 1991, the Indian Government (GOI)
encouraged foreign direct investment in agriculture and food processing. Although the
GOI banned 100% foreign direct investment in the retail sector, there are opportunities
for foreign retailers to enter India through “Cash & Carry” (Wholesaling) and franchising
routes where 100% FDI is permitted.

3. Present Scenario in Indian Agriculture:

India has achieved a major breakthrough in agricultural production as a result of

technology evolved by Indian scientists and its wide adoption by the farmers. India
would need to increase the food production to 240 million tons. Therefore, there is a
need for critical appraisal of the post-green revolution technology to draw up a balance
sheet so that strategies are evolved for achieving sustainable agriculture.

"The intensive agriculture in India has caused widespread changes in the agro-
ecosystem. The insect pest, disease and weed complex has undergone a tremendous
change. There is an overall depletion in soil fertility as a result of intensive cultivation
of crops. The underground water resources are facing grave danger. The yields of
improved crop varieties have shown a plateau. The new technology has caused great
impact on the quality of our environment. The present book is an attempt to critically
analyze the benefits and maladies of post-green revolution era to pave the way for

second green revolution. The future strategies have been proposed for new approaches
in crop improvement, energy, insect pests, diseases, weeds, nutrients and water
management. The challenges to meet the changes in climate, transfer of technology,
new requirements in agricultural machinery and agro forestry have been discussed.
Finally, strategies for achieving sustainable agriculture with least disruption to eco-
system have been outlined.

4. Food Safety & Security in India:

Food security has been a major developmental objective in India since the beginning of
plan. India achieved self-sufficiency in food grains in the 1970’s and has sustained it
since then. But the achievement of food grain security at the national level did not
percolate down to households and the level of chronic food insecurity is still high. Over
225 million Indians remain chronically under nourished. In 2000-01, about half of the
rural children below five years of age suffered from malnutrition and 40% of adults
suffered from chronic energy deficiency. Such a high level of wasting away of human
resources should be a cause for concern.

In recent years, there has been a shift in policy focus towards household level food
security and per capita food energy intake is taken as a measure of food security. The
government has been implementing a wide range of nutrition intervention programmes
for achieving food security at the household and individual levels. The Public
Distribution System (PDS) supplies food items, such as food grains and sugar, at
administered prices through fair price shops. There have been a range of food-for-work
and other wage employment programmes. Another approach adopted by the government
is to target women and children directly; this includes mid-day meal programme for
school going children and supplementary nutrition programme for children and women.
According to NSS, per capita cereal consumption has been declining since the early
1970’s despite a significant rise in per capita cereal production. This can be attributed to
changes in consumer tastes, from food to non-food items and, within food group, from
coarse to fine cereals. The decline in cereal consumption has been greater in rural areas,

where the improvement in rural infrastructure has made other food and non-food items
available to rural households.

The reality is that the bottom 30% of the population has not shown any improvement in
cereal and calorie intake in the rural and urban areas despite a significant improvement in
their real per capita expenditure. Their per capita calorie intake (1600 to 1700) falls short
of the required norm. Intra-family food distribution is also inequitable in the rural
households and the pre-school children get much less than their physiological needs as
compared to adult males and females. Micronutrient deficiency is common among
people. Diets of about 80% of the rural population contain less than half of the normal
requirement of vitamin-A. This deficiency leads to preventable blindness. Iron deficiency
is widely prevalent among pregnant women. This results in a high incidence of low birth
weight children, which in turn contributes to malnutrition.

The most important challenge is to increase the energy intake of the bottom 30% of the
population and at the same time facilitate diet diversification to meet micronutrient
deficiency. The food gap can be met from the existing food grain stocks in the medium
term and by increasing their purchasing power in the long run through increasing job
opportunities. The micronutrient deficiency can be rectified through supplementary
nutrition and supply of fortified food. There is also a need to improve the efficiency of
the various food schemes initiated by the government and make it more available and free
of corruption and urban bias.

Food security has three components:

4.1 Availability of food in the market,
4.2 Access to food through adequate purchasing power, and
4.3 Absorption of food in the body.

4.1 Availability of Food:

This is a function of both home production and imports. There is no time to relax on the
food production front. The present global surplus of food grains is the result of
inadequate consumption on the part of the poor, and should not be mistaken as a sign of

4.2 Access to Food:

Lack of purchasing power deprives a person from access to food even though food is
available. Inadequate livelihood opportunities in rural areas are responsible for household
nutrition insecurity. For example, India today has over 30 million tons of wheat and rice
in government godowns; yet poverty induced hunger affects over 200 million persons. It
is endemic in south Asia and sub-Saharan Africa (Ramalingaswami et al. 1997; WFP
2001). Macro-economic policies, at the national and global level, should be conducive to
fostering job-led economic growth based on micro-enterprises supported by micro-credit.
Where poverty is pervasive, suitable measures to provide the needed entitlement to food
should be introduced. The State of Maharashtra introduced, nearly 25 years ago, an
Employment Guarantee Scheme to assist the poor to earn their daily bread during seasons
when opportunities for wage employment are low.

4.3 Absorption of Food:

Lack of access to clean drinking water, poor environmental hygiene and poor health
infrastructure, lead to poor assimilation of the food that is consumed. Nutrition security
cannot be achieved without environmental hygiene, primary health care and clean
drinking water security. Culinary habits also need careful evaluation as some methods of
cooking may lead to the loss of vital nutrients.

As a step to ensure Food Safety, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India has
implemented certain regulations in the Act. They are as follows:

 Vegetables Oil Products (Control) Order, 1998.

 Edible Oils Packaging (Regulation) Order, 1998.
 The Solvent Extracted Oil, Deoiled meal and Edible Flour (Control) Order, 1967.
 Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954 (PFA).
 Fruit Products Order, 1955 (FPO).
 Meat Food Products Order, 1973 (MFPO).

 Milk and Milk Products Order, 1992 (MMPO).

5. Food Security Management Systems Certification


5.1 Food Safety Management Systems:

International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has published ISO 22000:2005 -
Food Safety Management Systems – Requirements for any Organization in the Food
Chain, with a view to provide framework for internationally harmonized
requirements for systematically managing safety in food supply chains. Consequent
to publication of ISO 22000 on BIS has adopted this International Standard as
IS/ISO 22000:2005. This standard integrates the principles of Hazard Analysis and
Critical Control Point (HACCP) system developed by Codex Alimentarius
Commission and combines the HACCP plan with Prerequisite Programmes (PRPs)
and is fully compatible with Quality Management Systems (QMS) as per ISO
9001: 2000.

BIS has launched Food Safety Management Systems (FSMS) Certification IS/ISO
22000:2005 scheme which envisages grant of FSMS Certification license to
organizations according to IS/ISO 22000.

5.2 FSMS for Safe Food Supply Chains:

Food Safety is related to the presence of food borne hazards in food at the point of
consumption. Food reaches to consumers via supply chains that may link many
different types of organizations. One weak link can result in unsafe food that is
dangerous to health. As food safety hazards can occur the food chain at any stage,
adequate control throughout the supply chain is essential. Therefore food safety is a
joint responsibility of all organizations with in the food chain including, producers,
manufactures, transport & storage operators, sub contractors, retail and food service
outlets and service providers.

Recent studies have shown that there is significant increase of illness caused by infected
food in both developed and developing countries which give rise to considerable
economic costs besides being health hazards. This has necessitated the need for
establishing a food safety management system by all types of organizations within
the food chain.

5.3 Highlights of IS/ISO 22000:2005:

Following are the highlights of the IS/ISO 22000:2005 certification:

 Integrates the principles of Hazards Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP)
system developed be Codex Alimentarius Commission. It combines the HACCP
plan with prerequisite programme (PRPs) and operational PRPs.
 Requires that all Hazards that may be reasonably expected to occur in the food
chain are identified, assessed and controlled.
 Can be applied independent of other management system standards or can be
integrated with existing other management systems.
 Allows even small, tiny scale organizations to implement as externally developed
combination of control measures.
 Intended for organizations seeking more focused, coherent and integrated food
safety management systems.

 Emphasis on preventions of food safety hazards of all types.
 Ensures compliance with legislative and regulatory requirements.
 Provides for management of potential emergency situations & accidents that can
impact food safety.

5.4 Key Elements to ensure Food Safety:

The key elements of FSMS for managing & reducing the risk to health resulting from
operations across the food chain to final consumption are:
 Interactive Communication.
 System Management.
 Prerequisite Programmes.
 HACCP Principles.

5.5 Benefits to Customers:

The following are the benefits to the Customers. They are:

 Increased international acceptance of food products.
 Reduces risk of product/service liability claims.
 Satisfies customer contractual requirements.
 Ensures safety of food products.
 Greater health protection.
 Demonstrations conformance to international standards and applicable regulatory
 Helps to meet applicable food safety related statuary & regulatory requirements.
 Ensures to compete effectively in national and international markets.

6. Food Standards, Implementation and Quality Control:

Food is one of the essentials for maintenance of life and is embedded in cultural and
social habits of people. It is very important that the food available is safe/hygiene,
wholesome with right nutritional content, free from infection/bacterial contamination,
intoxication, contamination and adulteration.

Changes have been brought about habits-resulting due to developments in technology and
for socio economic reasons; food is in increasing demand for a range of food products.
Therefore Food Regulations and standards have become a sensitive subject and the
regulation of the quality of the food products the object of an increasing public interest.
Quality being the first consideration for the Consumer acceptance, which in turn is linked
with recognized national and international standards, reflecting the national and
international markets which are essential for the manufacturer to be able to design,
produce and market products embracing the Consumer's needs of quality features and
using up to date technologies. Compliance with these standards is ensured through the
use of regulatory standards and quality assurance systems.

6.1 Standardization Systems in India:

In the food and agriculture sector there are number of organizations responsible for the
formulation of Standards and monitoring their quality. These can be generally classified
in two systems as under.

A. Compulsory Legislations.
B. Voluntary Standards.

A. Compulsory Legislations:

1. Prevention of Food Adulteration Act 1954:

The most important compulsory legislation in our country in the area of Food Products is
the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act. (PFA-1954). The PFA-1954 Act is the basic

statutory regulation is intended to protect the common Consumer against the supply of
adultrated food products. The Act makes provision for prevention of adulteration of food
products and lays down that no person shall manufacture for sale, store, distribute any
adultrated or misbranded food products not conforming to the Standards laid down under
the Rules. These Standards are of minimum quality and are intended to ensure safety in
the consumption of these food products and safe guarding against harmful impurities
contaminations and adultration etc. Provisions of this act are mandatory and
contravention to these rules leads to both fine and imprisonment.

The Central Committee for Food Standards (C.C.F.S.) and its various Subcommittees
under the Directorate General of Health Services (D.G.H.S.) Ministry of Health and
Family Welfare is responsible for operation and enforcement of the Act. Various interests
concerned with Food Standards including consumer interests have representations in this

2. Essential Commodities Act 1954:

A number of Control orders have been formulated under the provisions of the Essential
Commodities Act. The main objectives of the Act are to regulate
manufacture/production, Commerce/trading and distribution of the essential commodities
including the food products.

Some of the important orders of the act are enumerated below:

 The Fruit Products Order (F.P.O.-1955).

 Solvent Extracted Oils, De-oiled Meal and Edible Flour Control Order,
Vegetable Oil Products Order, Meat and Meat Products Control Order.

B. Voluntary Standards:

1. Bureau of Indian Standards:

The main functions of the Bureau of Indian Standards the national standards Organization
of India are formulation of Indian standards for food and food products and their

implementation by promotion and through voluntary and third party certification systems.
These standards in general cover raw materials permitted and their quality parameters,
hygienic conditions of manufacturing and product safety with respect of microbial

2. Directorate of Marketing and Inspection (D.M.I.):

Directorate of Marketing and Inspection formulates grade Standards known as

"AGMARK" with relevant quality definitions and grade designation marks in respect of
various agricultural, horticulture, live stock, dairy and forest products. The quality of the
product is assessed and determined with reference to various factors like different areas
of production, variety, shape, weight, color, moisture, fat content and other relevant
chemical and physical parameters.

3. Eco-Mark:

The Ministry of Environment and Forests have instituted on labeling of environment

friendly products, on a national basis. With the consciousness of environment
conservation growing day by day the adoption of ECO-MARK in different categories of
food products will become necessary. The products will have to carry ECO-MARK a
new standard certifying them environment friendly. The scheme provides to indentifying,
accreditation and labeling of consumer products which do least damage to the
environment and also meet the quality standards/requirements of the relevant Indian
Standard for the product. Some of the food products identified under the ECO-MARK
Certification are Tea, Coffee, Refined Vegetable oils, Vanaspati, Food
Additives/Preservatives, Processed Fruits and Vegetable Products, Infant Foods and

4. ISO Standards:

With the increasing focus being given to the management of quality worldwide, the
International Standards Organization has introduced the quality system standards ISO
9000 series. These Standards provide guidelines and criteria for the formal control of

products and services by the manufacturing company and assure the purchaser/consumer
a consistent acceptable standard of products and services. ISO Standards reflects a long
term concepts and terminology, quality systems and supporting technologies.

6.2 Implementation of Standards/Quality Control:

For effective implementation of the regulatory standards and monitoring the quality of
the graded and certified foods and food products made available by the manufacturers
requires a net work of Testing/Analytical Laboratories with basic modern analytical
facilities and technical manpower.

The functions of these laboratories will be:

 To carry out/undertake the testing of the food products as per various regulatory
standards and ascertain their compliance to the relevant standards.
 Undertake Research and Development (R&D) investigations, Collaborative
Studies and generation of data for evolving new standards and revising the
existing standards and quality assessment studies.
 To identify and take corrective actions on non-conformities observed by quality

6.3 Quality Control:

Before undertaking the testing of Food Products it is necessary to classify the Foods
Products and the quality tests to be undertaken.

Food and Food Products are classified as under:

 Sugar and Honey products.

 Edible Starches and Starch Products.
 Food Grains and their Products.
 Bakery and Confectionery.
 Protein Rich Foods.

 Spices and Condiments.
 Fruits and Vegetable Products.
 Stimulant Foods like Tea, Coffee, Cocoa Powder.
 Alcoholic Drinks and Carbonated Beverages.
 Dairy Products.
 Meat, Fish and Poultry.
 Oils, Fats and Oil Seeds.
 Food Colors, Preservatives, Additives.
 Snacks, Fast Foods, Cooked Foods.

7. Suggestions to ensure food safety:

After getting a thorough knowledge about the food safety and quality standards in India,
we understood what Indian agriculture need. Following are some of the suggestions to
see greener India in the future.

 Use of advanced biotechnological methods in agricultural production.

 Ensure proper implementation of Quality Standards to maintain quality in
 Constant and rapid change in the agricultural methods which meets global
standards should be implemented.
 There is a need to shift from the existing expensive, inefficient and
corruption ridden institutional arrangements to those that will ensure cheap
delivery of requisite quality grains in a transparent manner and are self-targeting.
 Government should attract students to take specialized agriculture courses
wherein they will gain knowledge about the importance of agriculture in the near
 Farmers should be aware of the quality standards to be followed which
will lead them to better yield of crops.

8. Conclusion:

As awareness grows about food safety issues, the need for countries to provide greater
assurance about the safety and quality of food also grows. The increase in world food
trade has raised interest in food safety requirements. India should realize the need to meet
these challenges and keep pace with international developments. So in order to ensure
Food Safety and Security in India, the Government should take necessary measures for
proper implementation of the Quality Standards in place.

The Consumer is primarily interested in his health being protected from the hazards of
consuming contaminated/adultrated food than the legal action". So, in order to safeguard
the consumer interest the Food Standards must be adopted and implemented.


1. Websites:

2. Reports:

 Case Study: India responds to International Food Safety Requirements,

International Food Policy Research Institute.
 Economic Survey2004-05.
 India – Agricultural Economy and Policy Report - January 2009.
 Science and Shaping our Agricultural Future, M S Swaminathan.