BY Ms. Osheen Verma, Legal Associate
The Food and Beverage (F&B) industry in India has experienced a remarkable surge, with significant advancements in domestic production, widespread distribution networks, and thriving import and export activities. Recognising the vital importance of ensuring the availability of safe and wholesome food for human consumption, the Indian government has undertaken various initiatives in recent years. These initiatives aim to consolidate food laws, align them with international standards, and uphold the integrity of the industry. At the forefront of regulating and closely monitoring the manufacturing, processing, storage, distribution, sale, and import of food products in India is the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI). This esteemed governing authority plays a pivotal role in safeguarding consumer well-being and industry integrity.
Food business operators in India face a multitude of regulatory requirements related to safety, sanitation, and hygiene standards. Strict compliance with these prerequisites is crucial to avoid potential legal complications and financial liabilities. It is worth noting that Indian regulations vary across different states and may involve specific labeling obligations, including the inclusion of statutory warnings in the local language. For businesses venturing into the food industry or aspiring to import food products into India, adept navigation and meticulous compliance with all applicable laws and regulations are imperative. Failure to do so can result in severe consequences, such as punitive penalties, substantial fines, potential criminal charges, and irreparable damage to one's reputation.
In this article, we delve into the intricate realm of legal compliance specific to India's F&B industry. By providing a comprehensive elucidation of the regulatory landscape, our aim is to equip stakeholders in the food and beverage domain with the essential knowledge necessary to establish and sustain operations that strictly adhere to legal requirements and compliance.This Avid Update of Palette & Policy is divided into five parts. Part 1 introduces the F&B industry in India, highlighting market analysis in recent years, particularly after the 2020 pandemic. Part 2 discusses the laws, regulations, and recent legal developments in the F&B sector. Part 3 focuses on mandatory legal compliances in the F&B industry. Additionally, Part 4 emphasises the significance of Labor Law, Intellectual Property Rights (IPR), and Consumer Protection Laws in the F&B industry. Finally, Part 5 explores the emerging trend of Carbon Labelling in India.