The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has asked State food safety commissioners to ensure proper due diligence is done while seizing food products.

The regulator shot off a letter to State food safety commissioners and regional directors on Tuesday after it came across instances where food safety officers resorted to seizures of food products without any reasonable grounds. “It has been brought to the notice that the power to seize articles of food is being resorted to.... by food safety officers even in case of minor violations and without any reasonable grounds to believe that the said food article is adulterated or unsafe,” the letter said.

The letter also stated that food safety officers should “strictly adhere to the procedural requirements” as stipulated by the regulations, “so as to avoid unnecessary complaints/ litigations by food business operators/associations.”

The State food safety commissioners were also asked to deal with “arbitrary or unreasonable seizures” in a stringent and effective manner, and to ensure food safety officers are properly trained on procedural aspects of sampling and legal proceedings as stipulated in the the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006.

As per Section 38 of the Act, food safety officers are empowered to take samples of any food products intended for human consumption or seize any food products that appear to be contravention of the regulations.