Nagpur: In mid of ongoing controversy on Maggi issue, a statement of CEO of Food Safety & Standards Authority of India saying that retailers can be held responsible for selling unapproved products has sparked fire and the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) while lodging its strong objections to the proposed policy has reacted sharply saying that the proposed policy is ill conceived, unjustified,arbitrary and unilateral.
In a communication sent today to Yudhvir Singh Malik, CEO of FSSAI, the CAIT has said that we agree with approach of FSSAI to make available only safe & approved products in the Country and for this purpose a strict ban must be imposed on the Manufacturers and FSSAI is duly empowered to take appropriate action against such Manufacturer. Any action of holding retailers responsible will be construed as a failure of the administrative mechanism to check the products at the level of its origin.
It further said that that taking a voluntary cognisance of FSSAI circular dated 21st April,2015 for advising Food Department of States for discontinuation of Manufacturing/Sale/Distribution of products which have been denied approval by FSSAI, the CAIT sent a communication to Director (Enforcement), FSSAI, requesting for supply of such list with a view to circulate the same to traders across Country through Trade Associations & Federations, so that the retailers may not indulge in selling unapproved products. We regret to inform you that evan after passing 10 days, what to say of sending the list, the FSSAI office did not think it proper to even acknowledge the communication.
If such a state of working persists in FSSAI, how can retailers come to know whether product is approved or not.In the absence of any such mechanism, holding retailers responsible is unjustified-questioned CAIT.
That retailers activities are confined to selling only whereas manufacturing a product as per lawful rules & regulations is the duty of a manufacturer and hence onus of availaibility of approved product in the market is devolved upon the Manufacturer only. On the other side if retailers are found selling any contraband article, appropriate action can be taken against them under already existing Laws, Rules & Regulations. Keeping into consideration the length & breadth of Indian retail and subsequent nature of its working, it is almost difficult for a retailer to testify whether a product is approved or not. It can not be expected that for each product,retailer demand the manufacturer to supply him approval certificate along with the delivery of the product-added CAIT.
CAIT National President Mr. B.C.Bhartia said that the retail trade in India is often called as ” only source of disguise employment”. It is not confined to urban areas only. Majority of retailers are working in small towns & rural areas. Therefore, involving him into techincal juggernaut will prove to be counter productive and will adversely affect trade in India.
CAIT Secretary General Mr. Praveen Khandelwal said that the proposed decision to hold retailers responsible if found selling unapproved products is arbitrary, unilateral, ill-founded, based on conceived notions and runs contrary to the vision of Hon’ble Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi which was spelled out in his open letter to Traders released on 31st March,