The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is giving final touches to a draft reward scheme for whistleblowers providing information on cases of food adulteration. This was informed to FnB News in a chat over telephone by an official from FDA Maharashtra.
The notification has been proposed to cover areas such as information that would qualify for rewards under the scheme, persons who would be able to furnish information under the scheme, mechanism for receiving the information under the scheme and further processing of information, and disbursement of the reward and fund allotment.
As per Section 95 of the FSS Act - "The state government may empower the commissioner of food safety to order payment reward to be paid to a person who renders assistance in the detection of the offence or the apprehension of the offender from such fund and in such manner to be prescribed by the state government."
In order to encourage inflow of information from all stakeholders regarding adulterated food and unsafe food, the FSSAI has proposed to introduce a reward scheme for whistleblowers from funds being made available to state governments under a Centrally-sponsored scheme.
Under this scheme, a whistleblower may inform the apex regulatory body or the food safety officers about the offence regarding the manufacture, storage, and distribution of any kind of article of food for human consumption and that which is sub-standard, or sale of misbranded food or one which contains extraneous or adulterated matter.
The actual award under each category would depend on the nature of the offence for which the information would be provided.
In this regard, state governments would be allotted funds annually for disbursal of rewards under the scheme.