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Tobacco Is Not A ‘Food Product’, No Action Can Be Taken Against Manufactures Under FSSAI Act: Madras HC [Read Judgment]

Ashok Kini
20 Jun 2017 6:02 AM GMT
Tobacco Is Not A ‘Food Product’, No Action Can Be Taken Against Manufactures Under FSSAI Act: Madras HC [Read Judgment]
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The Madras High Court has observed that tobacco is not a food product for the purpose of Food Safety and Standards Act and no proceedings can be initiated against the manufacturers under the Act.

Justice M. Duraiswamy referred to a decision of Madurai Bench of the High Court wherein it held that persons who are manufacturing Gutkha and Pan Masala cannot be proceeded under the FSSAI. Tobacco is covered under the COTA (Cigarettes and other Tobacco Products Act, 2003).

The High Court of Kerala has also ruled in the same lines. It had (in facts of that case) held as follows:



  • Tobacco or tobacco products are not food as defined under Section 3(j) of the FSS Act and it is not a food product as specified in the Regulation 2.3.4 of the Regulations.

  • Tobacco and tobacco products are to be manufactured and sold strictly in accordance with the provisions of the CTP Act and the Rules framed thereunder.

  • The Food safety authorities have no right take any action against tobacco or tobacco products by virtue of Government Order dated 22.05.2012


A firm which has been manufacturing tobacco products since the year 1972, had assailed the action taken by Food Safety officer wherein, tobacco products manufactured by the petitioner was collected by the Food Safety Officer from their shop.

The High Court has set aside the proceedings against the firm. “The petitioner is manufacturing fine quality tobacco with prior licence obtained without violating any provisions of law, the ratio laid down by the Madurai Bench of Madras High Court squarely applies to the present case.”, the Bench observed.

Read the Judgment here.
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