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Comparative analysis of Sri Lankan and Indian Food Acts: legislative consistencies and inconsistencies

Author:

Charith Amidha Hettiarachchi

Ministry of Health, LK
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Abstract

Background and Objectives

All people have a right to access safe food as unsafe food leads to undesirable health consequences. Therefore, countries enact legislation to ensure food safety. The Food Safety and Standards Act of 2006 is the main food law in India while in Sri Lanka it is the Food Act of 1980. A comparison of these two laws enables us to study better legal provisions and may help to improve the Sri Lankan food law in the future.

 

Methods
A comparative analysis was conducted using a check list which was developed based on the Indian Food Safety and Standards Act of 2006 and the Sri Lankan Food Act of 1980.



Results
The definition of food in the Indian act specifically includes certain food items while it excludes non-food items such as medicinal products; however, the definition in the Sri Lankan act is not that precise. Unlike in Sri Lanka, in India a Food Safety Officer - Indian food inspection officer – is specifically allocated for food safety activities and is directly monitored by a superior authority such as the Designated Officer and Commissioner of Food Safety, through legal provisions. Regulations concerning food premises in Sri Lanka are vague and contravene the primary act while such confusion is not present in the Indian law. In contrast to Sri Lankan law, Indian law permits the issuance of a Notice of Improvement without prosecution. In addition, imprisonment is compulsory as a penalty. Under the Indian law, It is a legal requirement to test food samples in an accredited laboratory but such a requirement is not found in Sri Lanka.



Conclusions and Recommendations
Several deficiencies are present in the Sri Lankan food law. Therefore, there is an opportunity for bringing about improvements through future amendments. The definition of ‘food’ and ‘food-medicine interface’ is not precise and needs to be revised. The efficiency of Authorized Officers is low in Sri Lanka and can be improved by allocating an Authorized Officer specifically for food safety activities, giving more authority for monitoring food safety to the Chief Food Authority and Food Authorities and by approving Veterinary Surgeons and appointing Additional Medical Officers of Health as Authorized Officers. Sri Lankan legal inconsistencies with regard to registration of food premises needs to be corrected and specialized food laboratories need to be accredited. Additionally, Sri Lankan Food Authorities should be given powers to issue notices for violations which do not directly affect human health.

How to Cite: Hettiarachchi, C.A., 2021. Comparative analysis of Sri Lankan and Indian Food Acts: legislative consistencies and inconsistencies. Journal of the Postgraduate Institute of Medicine, 8(1), pp.E126 1–12. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/jpgim.8290
Published on 31 Mar 2021.
Peer Reviewed

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