They are also called as Legal Standards
These are those standards which are commonly established by the Central, State or Municipal agencies and are generally mandatory. These standards are set up by the law or through regulations and represent the minimum standards of quality. These are generally concerned with freedom of defects and devoid of adulteration and are enforced by liability rules in case of no-compliance.
Governments have traditionally played the major role in establishing minimum food quality standards and regulations for their populations. This recognises a degree of government responsibility for food quality issues to ensure, amongst other things, the availability of safe food for the population at large and to protect consumers from deceptive and fraudulent practices Public food quality standards have been enforced through legislation, and firms at different levels of the supply chain have developed various private standards.
Within the public arena this has led to profound changes in regulations at national, regional and multilateral levels. Legislations adopted to improve food safety include standards regarding the characteristics of the final product (e.g. maximum residue levels), production practices in the food supply chain, traceability within the supply chain and the legal liability of the supply chain.
At the international level, formal and informal discussions have primarily focused on the legitimacy and harmonization of standards. The change in public regulations has been accompanied by an increased use of private standards. These standards, which may include rules on infrastructure, equipment, modes of production, processing and quality management, often stipulate more stringent requirements than required by law.
Public voluntary standards
Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS)
The Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) formulated Indian Standards in the processed food sector and implements them by promotion through voluntary and third party certification system. BIS empowered through a legislative Act of the Indian Parliament known as the Bureau of Indian Standards Act, 1986, operates a product certification scheme. The product certification scheme is basically voluntary and aims at providing quality, safety and dependability to the ultimate customer.
Presence of certification mark known as Standard Mark on a product is an assurance of conformity to the specifications. The conformity is ensured by regular surveillance of the licensee's performance by surprise inspections and testing of samples, drawn both from the factory and the market.
The Directorate of Marketing and Inspection (DMI) enforces the Agricultural Produce (Grading and Marking) Act 1937. Under this Act, Grade Standards are prescribed for agricultural and allied commodities which are known as 'Agmark' Standards.
For the processed food sector BIS certification is more important than DMI certification.
BIS has on record, standards for most of the processed foods. These standards in general cover raw materials permitted and their quality parameters, hygienic conditions under which the product is manufactured and packaging and labeling requirements.
Manufacturers complying with the standards laid down by BIS can obtain an ISI mark which can be exhibited on their product packages. BIS has identified certain items like food colours/additives, vanaspati and containers for their packing, milk powder and condensed milk for compulsory certification.
BIS has granted more than 30,000 licenses to manufacturers covering practically every industrial discipline. The certification allows the licensees to use the popular ISI Mark, which has become synonymous with quality products for the Indian and neighboring markets over the past more than 40 years.
Export Inspection Council (EIC)
The Export Inspection Council was set up by the Government of India under Section 3 of the Export (Quality Control and Inspection) Act, 1963 (22 of 1963), in order to ensure sound development of export trade of India through Quality Control and Inspection and for matters connected thereof.
The main responsibilities if EIC are
- Notify commodities which will be subject to quality control and/ or inspection prior to export,
- Establish standards of quality for such notified commodities,
- and specify the type of quality control and / or inspection to be applied to such commodities