Food Act of Bhutan, 2005

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Food Act of Bhtan 2005_English version_

THE FOOD ACT OF BHUTAN, 2005

Royal Government of Bhutan

Mininstry of Agriculture

THE FOOD ACT OF BHUTAN, 2005

Content
PREAMBLE...................................................................................................................
CHAPTER I: PRELIMINARY....................................................................................
Title, commencement and extent ..............................................................................

Repeal .....................................................................................................................

CHAPTER II: GENERAL POWERS OF THE MINISTER ......... ................................
General Powers ................................................................................................................

CHAPTER III: NATIONAL FOOD QUALITY AND SAFETY COMMI SSION.......
Creation of the Commission ......................................................................................

Functioning of the Commission.................................................................................

Mandate of the Commission ............................................................................................

CHAPTER IV: THE “BHUTAN AGRICULTURE AND FOOD REGULA TORY
AUTHORITY” (BAFRA) ............................................................................................
Mandate of the BAFRA...................................................................................................

CHAPTER V: NATIONAL CODEX COMMITTEE................ .....................................
Creation of the Committee.........................................................................................

Functioning of the Committee ...................................................................................

Mandate of the Committee...............................................................................................

CHAPTER VI: FOOD INSPECTORS AND ANALYSTS .............................................
Responsibility for Inspection Services.......................................................................

Appointment of Inspectors and Analysts.........................................................................

ii

Object of Inspections .................................................................................................

General Powers of Inspectors ...................................................................................

Unsafe Food...............................................................................................................

Urgent Destruction...........................................................................................................

Public Safety ....................................................................................................................

Conduct of Inspections ..............................................................................................

CHAPTER VII: FOOD AND FOOD BUSINESSES......................................................
Operation of Food Businesses .........................................................................................

Food and Food Testing .............................................................................................

Genetically modified food ..........................................................................................

CHAPTER VIII: IMPORT AND EXPORT .................... ................................................
Imported Food...................................... ......................................................................

Exported Food............................................................................................................

CHAPTER IX: ENFORCEMENT..............................................................................
Improvement Notice ........................................................................................................

Appeals ...........................................................................................................................

Liability .......................................................................................................................

CHAPTER X: OFFENCES AND PENALTIES .............................................................
Offences .....................................................................................................................

Defences .....................................................................................................................

Penalties .....................................................................................................................

Duty to Report Offences ............................................................................................

Payments Due ..................................................................................................................

CHAPTER XI: MISCELLEANEOUS ............................................................................
Rules and Regulations...............................................................................................

Authoritative Text............................................................................................................

Amendment................................................................................................................

Definitions........................................................................................................................

1

PREAMBLE

The purpose of this Act is to protect human health nd to regulate and facilitate the
import, export and trade of food in the Kingdom of Bhutan.

Be it enacted by the 84th session of the National Assembly of Bhutan on the 29th
day of the 9th month of the Female Bird Year corresponding to the 30th day of the
11th month of the year 2005.

CHAPTER I

PRELIMINARY

Title, commencement and extent
1 (a) This Act shall be called “The Food Act of Bhutan, 2005”.

(b) This Act shall come into force from the date to be notified by the
Government in the official gazette, provided that different dates may be
appointed for different provisions of this Act and any reference in any such
provision to the commencement of this Act shall be construed as a reference
to the coming into force of that provision.

(c) This Act shall extend to the whole of the Kingdom of Bhutan.

Repeal
2 This Act hereby repeals any provisions of any law, by-law, rule or regulation

which is inconsistent with this Act

CHAPTER II

GENERAL POWERS OF THE MINISTER

General Powers
3 The Minister responsible for agriculture shall be th primary authority for the

administration of this Act.

2

4 The Minister may, after consultation with the Commission, authorise:

(a) any public officer, whether from the Ministry responsible for health, the
Ministry responsible for trade, the Ministry responsible for customs or
any other government office, to exercise or perform any power, duty or
function under this Act;

(b) any local authority to enforce within its area of jurisdiction and through
its duly authorised officers such provisions of this Act as the Minister
may specify.

5 The Minister may, after consultation with the Commission, restrict any
authority granted under section 4 to such sections as it may specify, and/or
may impose any other conditions on the exercise of that authority.

6 The Minister, after consultation with the Commission and, where
appropriate, in agreement with the Ministers concered, shall outline the
respective duties to be performed under this Act by the department
responsible for regulatory services or any other unit within the Ministry, the
Ministry responsible for health, the Ministry responsible for customs, the
Bhutan Chamber of Commerce and Industry and local authorities, all of
which shall cooperate with the Minister in carrying out official activities
under this Act.

7 The Minister, after consultation with the Commission, may officially
recognise institutions to conduct laboratory tests under this Act.

8 The fees and fines due under the provisions of this Act shall be collected as
prescribed by rules and regulations.

9 The Minister shall designate within the “Bhutan Agriculture and Food
Regulatory Authority” (BAFRA) a Codex Contact Point, which shall serve as
the secretariat of the Commission and of the Nationl Codex Committee.

3

CHAPTER III

NATIONAL FOOD QUALITY AND SAFETY COMMISSION

Creation of the Commission
10 There is hereby established a Commission, to be known as the National Food

Quality and Safety Commission, which shall consist of the following
members:

(a) the Minister responsible for agriculture, who shall serve as Chair;

(b) the director general, executive director or director of:

(i) the “BAFRA” ;

(ii) the department of Agriculture, Ministry of Agriculture;

(iii) the department of Livestock, Ministry of Agriculture;

(iv) the department responsible for public health within the Ministry
responsible for health;

(v) one department within the Ministry responsible for trade and
Industry;

(vi) one department within the Ministry responsible for home affairs;

(vii) the office responsible for legal affairs.

(c) the secretary general of the Bhutan Chamber of C mmerce and
Industry;

(d) one high-level representative from the national agency responsible for
the environment;

(e) the Codex Contact Point, who shall serve as Secretary.

11 The Chair may remove a representative where the Commission has
determined and recommended to the Chair that represntation by that
organization or unit is no longer essential to the functioning of the
Commission.

12 The Chair may appoint any additional representative or representatives where
the Commission has determined and recommended to the C air that
representation by such additional organization or unit is essential to the
functioning of the Commission.

4

13 All members of the Commission shall hold office unless and until removed
by the Chair.

14 A member of the Commission may resign in writing to the Chair; a
replacement shall be appointed within 20 days.

Functioning of the Commission
15 The Commission may make provision for the scheduling and conduct of its

meetings and the procedures to be followed at its meetings; it shall meet at
least once a year, and as and when required.

16 The Commission may form such temporary committees or working groups,
made up of Commission members, non-Commission members or both, as it
deems fit, to analyse and report on such technical issues as it may assign to
them.

17 Where the Commission so authorises, representatives of government
organizations and agencies, as well as industry and co sumer groups, may
attend meetings of the Commission but may not vote.

Mandate of the Commission
18 The Commission shall:

(a) formulate policy to maximise industry development, protect consumers,
foster trade and improve food control in the Kingdom, by proposing
goals, strategies and structures, and by developing annual work plans
and programmes for all relevant actors in the food c ntrol system;

(b) on its own initiative, discuss any matter connected with the
enhancement of food control in the Kingdom, with regard to production
for the national market, import and export;

(c) identify the borderlines of responsibility among the Commission and the
Committee, and resolve any overlaps or gaps in responsibilities among
these bodies;

(d) make recommendations to the Minister on the activities of food
inspectors, customs officials and staff of the other departments,
ministries and organizations referred to in section 3.2, in order to ensure
that there are no overlapping responsibilities or gaps in food control
activities in the Kingdom;

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(e) in the case of a food emergency, identify the organizations or units
responsible for taking action, specify the actions to be taken, coordinate
a national response and keep records of any such food emergencies;

(f) where food is seized under this Act on suspicion of being harmful to
human health, provide advice to the BAFRA, upon request, regarding
the appropriate action to be taken;

(g) review and approve the work of the National Codex Committee
regarding:

(i) the development and acceptance of national standards regarding
food quality, food safety, ingredients, additives, adulterated food,
weights and measures, laboratories and other technical issues;

(ii) the preparation of standards, rules and regulations, orders, and
notices under this Act, as well as amendments thereto;

(h) make recommendations to the Minister on the level of any fees and
penalties to be assessed under this Act;

(i) recommend educational activities to inform food businesses and the
people of Bhutan of the importance of food safety and how they can
improve the safety and quality of food in the Kingdom;

(j) coordinate responses to the media with regard to all food control issues
in Bhutan, and appoint a media spokesperson as necesary;

(k) make a record of each of its meetings and make additional reports to the
Minister as directed.

19 The Codex Contact Point, designated within BAFRA by the Minister, shall
serve as the secretariat for the Commission, acting on its behalf in carrying
out essential day-to-day tasks.

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CHAPTER IV

THE “BHUTAN AGRICULTURE AND FOOD REGULATORY
AUTHORITY” (BAFRA)

Mandate of the BAFRA
20 Under the general authority and supervision of the Minister, the BAFRA

shall have all the powers that are reasonably necessary or expedient to enable
it to implement the provisions of this Act.

21 Without limiting the generality of the powers under section 7.1, the BAFRA
shall exercise the following responsibilities under this Act:

(a) advise the Commission on all matters relating to the harvest,
manufacture, import, export, treatment, packing, labe ling, grading,
storage, transport, handling and serving of food and all matters
incidental thereto;

(b) Advise the Commission regarding the declaration of a foreign national
authority as “recognised authority” under this Act;

(c) implement the food control policies and strategies laid down by the
Commission, using its inspectorate and laboratory facilities;

(d) oversee the activities and training of food inspectors and analysts,
including monitoring all inspection and analysis activities and keeping
records;

(e) collect fixed penalties under this Act and keep detailed records
regarding all warnings and penalties imposed, including whether the
level of penalties is linked to the seriousness of the offence;

(f) resolve administrative appeals lodged against official decisions and
actions taken under this Act;

(g) assist in the preparation and amendment of rules and regulations, orders
and notices under this Act;

(h) recommend educational activities to inform food businesses and the
people of Bhutan of the importance of food safety and how they can
improve the safety and quality of food in the Kingdom;

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(i) on its own initiative, discuss any matter connected with the
enhancement of food control in the Kingdom, with regard to production
for the national market, import and export, and application of the
general principles of food hygiene and the hazard analysis and critical
control point system, and report in writing to the Minister on such
deliberations;

(j) make a record of each of its meetings and make additional reports to the
Commission and/or the Minister upon request.

CHAPTER V

NATIONAL CODEX COMMITTEE

Creation of the Committee
22 There is hereby established a Committee, to be known as the National Codex

Committee, which shall consist of the following qualified members
appointed upon nomination of their respective agencies or organizations:

(a) the Secretary of the Ministry responsible for ag iculture, who shall serve
as Chair;

(b) one representative of BAFRA;

(c) one representative of the department of Agriculture, Ministry of
Agriculture;

(d) one representative of the department of Livestock, Ministry of
Agriculture;

(e) one representatives of the Ministry responsible for public health;

(f) one representative of the Ministry responsible for trade and industry;

(g) one representative of the department responsible for urban affairs;

(h) one representative of the Bhutan Chamber of Commerce and Industry;

(i) the Codex Contact Point, who shall act as secretary of the Committee..

23 The Chair may remove a representative where the Committee has determined
and recommended to the Chair that representation by that organization or unit
is no longer essential to the functioning of the Committee.

8

24 The Chair may appoint any additional representative or representatives where
the Committee has determined and recommended to the C air that
representation by such additional organization or unit is essential to the
functioning of the Committee.

25 Each member of the Committee shall, unless earlier removed by the Chair of
the Committee, hold office for a period of three years from the date of
appointment, and, upon the expiry of that period, shall be eligible for re-
appointment.

26 Members of the Committee may resign in writing to the Chair; a replacement
shall be appointed within 20 days.

Functioning of the Committee
27 The Committee may make provision for the scheduling and conduct of its

meetings and the procedures to be followed at its meetings; it shall meet at
least two times per year, and as and when required.

28 The Committee may form such temporary sub-committees, made up of
Committee members, non-Committee members or both, as it deems fit, to
provide advice of a technical nature to the Committee, the Commission
and/or the Minister.

29 Any member who cannot attend the meeting of the Committee may designate
an alternate, who shall attend in that member’s stead and who may exercise all
the responsibilities of such member, including voting.

30 Where the Committee so authorises, representatives of governmental
organizations and agencies, as well as industry and co sumer groups, may
attend meetings of the Committee but may not vote.

Mandate of the Committee
31 The Committee shall:

(a) serve as the main contact point for Codex and other food control matters
within the Kingdom, studying Codex documents and colle ting and
analysing all relevant information in order to formulate advice to the
government;

(b) act as liaison with the food industry, consumers, traders and all other
concerned persons and organizations, distributing information received
from the Codex Alimentarius Commission Secretariat and facilitating
wide consultation in order to ensure that the government is provided
with an appropriate balance of policy and technical advice on which to

9

base decisions relating to the acceptance of Codex standards and all
other food control matters in the Kingdom;

(c) coordinate responses to Codex questionnaires and other requests for
information, and cooperate with the Codex Alimentarius Commission
Secretariat in nominating delegates to attend regional r international
meetings;

(d) draft standards, rules and regulations, orders, and notices under this Act,
as well as amendments thereto, and make proposals t the Commission
regarding any necessary legislative changes;

(e) review international and regional food standards, collect and analyse
data for elaborating national food standards and establi h standards for
food of all types in the Kingdom, ensuring that such standards are
practicable in the local environment;

(f) cooperate with other local and foreign organiztions whose tasks
concern food standards;

(g) make a record of each of its meetings and make additional reports to the
Commission and/or the Minister as directed.

32 The Committee may form such temporary committees or working groups,
made up of Committee members, non-Committee members or both, as it
deems fit, to analyse and report on such technical issues as it may assign to
them.

CHAPTER VI

FOOD INSPECTORS AND ANALYSTS

Responsibility for Inspection Services
33 The BAFRA shall exercise all responsibility for and oversight of food

inspection activities carried out in Bhutan.

10

Appointment of Inspectors and Analysts
34 The Minister shall appoint, designate or authorise such qualified persons as it

deems fit as food inspectors who shall be vested with the powers, duties and
functions of food inspectors under this Act.

35 The Minister shall appoint, designate or authorise such qualified persons as it
deems fit as analysts who shall be vested with the powers, duties and
functions of analysts under this Act. The Minister shall also designate the
approved laboratories for the purpose of this Act.

36 Each person appointed, designated or authorised under section 12.1 or
section 12.2 shall be provided with an identification card signed by or on
behalf of the Minister, certifying that such person has been designated a food
inspector or analyst, as the case may be, under this Act.

Object of Inspections
37 Inspections carried out under this Act shall have s their object:

(a) the hygiene of food businesses and their surroundings and installations,
as well as means of transport, equipment and materials;

(b) food, ingredients, additives, disinfectants or any substances or processes
used in food manufacturing, food handling or food preservation;

(c) the health and hygiene status of personnel empoyed at food businesses,
as well as their knowledge of and training in good handling practices
and hygiene control in food businesses;

(d) packaging materials as well as the methods and processes of packing;

(e) cleaning, disinfection and maintenance carried out at food businesses,
including the state of storage facilities and the maintenance level of
equipment;

(f) labelling.

38 Inspections carried out under this Act shall have s their purpose:

(a) enforcement, with inspectors responsible for seeking out violations of
this Act;

(b) auditing, with inspectors monitoring the contrls in place and carried
out by food businesses;

(c) education, training and sensitisation of owners and persons in charge of
food businesses, as well as employees of such food businesses;

11

(d) the provision of assistance to owners and persons in charge of food
businesses in implementing and improving controls on their own
operations.

General Powers of Inspectors
39 A food inspector may at any reasonable time enter any food business or other

premises

(a) inspect or search any part of such premises, and examine any food,
appliance, product, material, object or substance which is being or is
suspected of being used or destined for use in connectio with the
harvest, manufacture, import, export, treatment, packing, labelling,
grading, storage, transport, handling or serving of fo d;

(b) demand any information regarding any food, appli nce, product,
material, object or substance at such premises, from the owner or person
in charge;

(c) weigh, count, measure, mark, seal, open and remov samples of any
food, material, object or substance at such premises, or lock, secure, seal
or close any door or opening giving access to them;

(d) examine or make copies of, or take extracts from, any book, statement
or other document found at such premises which refers to or is
suspected to refer to any food, appliance, product, material, object or
substance referred to in section 39(a);

(e) demand from the owner or any person in charge n xplanation of any
entry in any book, statement or other document at that premises;

(f) inspect and demand from the owner or person in charge information
regarding any operation or process used in such premises;

(g) read any values recorded by measuring instruments installed at the
premises;

(h) make controls with his or her own instruments;

(i) take photographs;

(j) seize any food, appliance, product, material, object, substance, book,
statement or document which appears to provide proof f a
contravention of any provision of this Act, providing a signed receipt
which shall be countersigned immediately by the owner or person in
charge of such premises or object.

12

40 A food inspector may stop and search any vehicle in which any food is being
or is suspected of being treated, packed, stored, transported, handled or
served or in which any other operation or activity in connection with food is
being or is suspected of being carried out.

41 A food inspector may stop and search any person whom he or she suspects of
committing an offence under this Act. Where a person refuses to be searched,
such person may be detained for the conduct of search. The person so
detained shall be handed over to the Royal Bhutan Police with a statement in
writing of the grounds for such detention.

Unsafe Food
42 Where it appears that any food discovered in a food business, premises or

vehicle or in the possession of any person is unfit for human consumption or
is likely to cause harm or danger to human health, food inspector shall:

(a) seize, mark and seal such food, issuing a notice to the owner or person
in charge of the food that the food or any specified portion of it is
temporarily not to be sold, removed, manipulated, tampered with or
otherwise altered, without authority or without being under the
supervision of the food inspector; and/or

(b) issue a written notice temporarily ordering the food removed to some
specified place.

43 Any food seized under section 39 and 42 may be sent for analysis to a
laboratory authorised under section 7, in accordance with the procedures
prescribed by rules and regulations.

44 Analysts receiving any items under section 39 and 43 shall follow the
prescribed procedures for marking and maintaining the items seized.

45 As soon as is reasonably practicable, a food inspector taking any action under
section 42 shall review the situation to determine whether the circumstances
which caused the notice to be issued no longer exist, and:

(a) if the food inspector is so satisfied, he or she hall withdraw the notice,
and where appropriate, allow the release of any items from the place
where they are stored;

13

(b) if the food inspector is not so satisfied, he or she may refer the matter to the
BAFRA, which may consult with the Commission as necessary, and which
may order that any food referred to under section 42 be destroyed or disposed
of under the supervision of a food inspector.

Urgent Destruction
46 Notwithstanding section 45, where there is a clear and present danger for

human health or the environment, a food inspector may i mediately destroy
or order the destruction of unsafe food.

47 Where food is destroyed or ordered to be destroyed under section 46, the
food inspector must submit a sample of the food to an authorised laboratory
in accordance with the procedure prescribed by rules and regulation.

Public Safety
48 Where any action is taken under section 42, 45(b) or 46 because of a threat to

human health, the food inspector shall immediately notify the BAFRA. The
Minister shall take all measures necessary to ensur p blic safety and the
protection of consumers, such as instructions to relevant agencies or units,
public warnings, recall orders, marketing restrictions, marketing bans or
other appropriate measures.

49 To facilitate reaction and response in the case of a threat to human health, the
Minister, after consultation with the Commission, may establish standing
instructions, guidelines and procedures assigning responsibility for certain
actions to specific government units.

Conduct of Inspections
50 A food inspector shall exhibit the identification card by virtue of which he or

she is authorised as a food inspector:

(a) before carrying out any inspection under section 39, 40 or 41; and

(b) on demand by any person affected by the exercise or performance of
any power, duty or function of such food inspector under this Act.

51 A food inspector carrying out an inspection under s ction 39, 40 or 41may
request the presence of such other food inspectors or law enforcement
personnel as the food inspector considers necessary.

14

52 During an inspection under section 39 or 40, the owner or other person in
charge of the food business or vehicle:

(a) may accompany the food inspector;

(b) shall supply any information or documents requested by the food
inspector relevant to any inspection object outlined in section 37;

(c) shall permit the taking of samples and evidence such as photographs.

CHAPTER VII

FOOD AND FOOD BUSINESSES

Operation of Food Businesses
53 All food businesses in Bhutan are subject to standards established by the

Minister, after consultation with the Commission, con erning their
construction and operation.

54 In granting a licence to operate a business in Bhutan, the Minister responsible
for trade shall, in addition to its own requirements, apply and impose any
additional standards and conditions established by the Minister after
consultation with the Commission.

55 Any owner or person in charge of a food business shall ensure that all
employees meet the standards for health and safety established by the
Minister after consultation with the Commission.

56 Any person preparing, handling or serving food in the Kingdom is subject to
a medical examination at intervals to be set by the Minister, after consultation
with the Commission, to ensure that the person is not suffering from a
disease or condition which may render that person liable to contaminate food.

Food and Food Testing
57 All food sold in Bhutan shall meet the prescribed standards for quality and

safety established by the Minister after consultation with the Commission.

15

58 Any owner or person in charge of a food business from which food is
submitted for analysis to an approved laboratory under section 43 may be
subject to such fees for that analysis as the Minister may establish after
consultation with the Commission.

Genetically modified food
59 The Minister after consultation with the National Food Quality and Safety

Commission shall regulate food business pertaining to genetically modified
food.

60 For the purpose of Section 59 the rules and regulations may define
genetically modified organism and genetically modifie food.

CHAPTER VIII

IMPORT AND EXPORT

Imported Food
61 The Minister, after consultation with the Commission, may establish

requirements for the obtaining of prior permission before food may be
imported into Bhutan.

62 All food imported into Bhutan must be certified by the recognised authority
in the exporting country, and must meet the applicab e standards for that
particular food established in Bhutan.

63 The containers, packaging material, labelling and i gredients of food
imported into Bhutan are subject to inspection by a food inspector, and fees
for such inspection may be levied as established by the Minister after
consultation with the Commission.

64 Food may only be imported into Bhutan at an officially designated border
point.

16

Exported Food
65 The containers, packaging material, labelling and i gredients of food

exported from Bhutan are subject to inspection by a food inspector, and fees
for such inspection may be levied as established by the Minister after
consultation with the Commission.

66 Exporters wishing to export food from Bhutan shall inform the BAFRA of
any inspection, analysis or documentation required by the relevant importing
country or countries, and any such inspection, analysis or documentation may
be subject to such fees as the Minister may establih after consultation with
the Commission.

67 Food may only be exported from Bhutan at an officially designated border
point.

CHAPTER IX

ENFORCEMENT

Improvement Notice
68 If a food inspector has reasonable grounds for believing that an owner or

person in charge of a food business is failing to comply with this Act, he or
she may serve an improvement notice on that owner or person in charge:

(a) stating the food inspector’s grounds for believing that the owner or
person in charge of the food business is failing to comply with the Act;

(b) specifying the measures which the owner or person in charge must take
in order to remedy the failures referred to in paragraph 68(a); and

(c) requiring the owner or person in charge to take those measures, or
measures which are at least equivalent to them, within such period as
may be specified in the notice.

Appeals
69 Any person aggrieved by a decision or action of a food inspector under this

Act may appeal to the BAFRA in writing, in the manner established by the
rules and regulation.

17

70 Any person not satisfied with a decision of the BAFRA under section 69 may
lodge a complaint with the Royal Court of Justice in accordance with the
relevant provisions of the Civil and Criminal Procedure code.

Liability
71 No food inspector or other person, including the Royal Government, shall be

jointly or severally liable in respect of anything done in good faith in the
exercise of a power or duty under this Act unless the act or omission
contravenes any of the provisions of this Act or any rule, direction or order
made there under.

CHAPTER X

OFFENCES AND PENALTIES

Offences
72 Notwithstanding section 71, any food inspector who:

(a) seizes any food for any reason other than that the food is likely to cause
harm or danger to human health or that the hygiene co ditions are liable
to cause a food safety hazard;

(b) agrees to do, abstains from doing, permits, conceals or performs any act
which is contrary to the proper exercise of official powers under this
Act or which is otherwise contrary to the laws of Bhutan; or

(c) discloses to any other person any information acquired in the exercise of
official powers under this Act, relating to the business or affairs of any
other person, except for the purpose of enforcing this Act or where
required to do so by any court or under any law;

shall be guilty of an offence and punishable under “Administrative
Discipline Rules and Regulations” of the Bhutan Civil Services Rules
and Regulations 2002.

73 Notwithstanding section 71, any analyst who:

(a) agrees to do, abstains from doing, permits, conceals or performs any act
which is contrary to the proper exercise of official powers under this
Act or which is otherwise contrary to the laws of Bhutan; or

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(b) discloses to any other person any information acquired in the exercise of
official powers under this Act, relating to the business or affairs of any
other person, except for the purpose of enforcing this Act or where
required to do so by any court or under any law;

shall be guilty of an offence and punishable under “Administrative
Discipline Rules and Regulations of the Bhutan Civil Services Rules
and Regulations 2002.

74 Any person who sells, manufactures, exports or imports any food:

(a) which contains or has been treated with a prohibited substance or which
has otherwise been contaminated;

(b) which contains or has been treated with a particular substance in a
greater measure than that permitted by the rules and regulation;

(c) which does not comply with any standard of quality, strength, weight,
measurement or purity prescribed the rules and regulation;

(d) to which any substance has been added so as toincrease the mass or
volume of such food with the object to deceive;

(e) from which any substance or ingredient has been r moved or omitted
with the result that the food’s nutritive value or ther properties, in
comparison with those of a food in a normal pure and sound condition,
are diminished or otherwise detrimentally affected;

(f) which has been treated in such a manner that is damaged or unsound
condition or inferior quality is concealed either entirely or partly;

(g) which has otherwise been adulterated;

(h) which has not been labelled in accordance withthis Act or its rules and
regulation;

(i) which has passed its expiration date; or

(j) which is otherwise declared by the Minister after consultation with the
Commission to be harmful or dangerous to human healt ;

shall be guilty of an offence and punishable under section 79 of this Act.

75 Any person who:

(a) uses a prohibited process, container or object in connection with the
harvest, manufacture, handling, serving, treatment, packing, grading,
labelling, sale, transport, import, export or storage of any food, or sells,
exports or imports such food;

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(b) sells, prepares, packages or stores for sale any food under unsanitary
conditions;

(c) furnishes a warranty with respect to food, which is false or misleading
in any respect;

(d) operates a food business without a licence properly issued under the
laws of Bhutan;

(e) operates a food business contrary to any conditi s imposed by the
Minister responsible for trade or by the Commission;

(f) fails to report an offence as required under section 86; or

(g) as the owner or person in charge of a food busines :

(i) fails to ensure that all employees of the food business follow the
prescribed health and safety procedures; or

(ii) fails to carry out within the specified time period any measures
specified in an improvement notice issued under section 68;

shall be guilty of an offence and punishable under section 79 of this Act.

76 Any person who:

(a) publishes a false or misleading advertisement of any food; or

(b) for purposes of import, export or sale, describes or labels any food in a
manner which is false or misleading as regards its origin, nature,
substance, quality, strength, nutritive value or other properties, or the
time, mode or place of its manufacture;

shall be guilty of an offence and punishable under section 79 of this Act.

77 Any person who:

(a) obstructs or hinders a food inspector in the ex rcise of official powers
under this Act;

(b) fails to provide, upon the request of a food inspector, any licence or
other document issued under this Act or the laws of Bhutan;

(c) where a food inspector demands information relating to a matter within
his or her knowledge, refuses or fails to give such information, or gives
information which is false or misleading knowing it to be false or
misleading;

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(d) removes, obliterates, alters, damages, breaks or opens a seal or fastening
placed by a food inspector on any food or its package or container or on
any door or opening giving access to it;

(e) retakes any sample or other article seized under this Act, or hinders or
obstructs the seizure of any such sample or other article;

(f) falsely makes use of any warrant, certificate, r port, invoice or other
document under this Act;

(g) impersonates a food inspector; or

(h) fails to inform the Minister of any offence committed or likely to be
committed under this Act;

shall be guilty of an offence and punishable under section 79 of this Act.

Defences
78 In any proceeding for an offence under this Act, it shall be a defence for the

defendant to prove:

(a) that he or she purchased food from another person who furnished a
written warranty as to the safety and quality of the food in question, and
that the defendant imported or sold the food in the same condition as
when he or she purchased it;

(b) that he or she could not with reasonable diligence have ascertained that
the import, export or sale of the food would be in contravention of this
Act or its rules and regulations.

Penalties
79 Any person who commits an offence against this Act shall be liable to:

(a) a warning, at the discretion of a food inspector, who shall however
provide the BAFRA with the name of the offender, the date of the
offence and a description thereof;

(b) a fixed penalty paid to the BAFRA, as outlined in sections 80 and 81;

(c) upon conviction through a court process, a penalty as outlined in section
82;

(d) a penalty imposed under section 83; or

(e) any of the above penalties in combination.

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80 Where a food inspector has reason to believe that any person is committing
or has committed an offence under this Act, the food inspector may then and
there serve notice in writing charging that person with an offence, informing
such person that he or she must:

(a) appear before the BAFRA on the date specified; or

(b) in accordance with procedures and penalties set out by the rules and
regulation, pay the applicable fixed penalty to theBAFRA, in lieu of
appearance before it.

81 Any person who chooses to pay the fixed penalty as outlined in paragraph
80(b) shall, within seven days of the date of the notice, sign the notice in
acknowledgement of guilt and return it, together with the sum cited therein,
to the BAFRA.

82 Any person charged and convicted by a court for an offence under this Act
shall be liable:

(a) on a first conviction, to a fine established by the rules and regulation, or
to imprisonment for a period not exceeding 3 months, or to both;

(b) on a second conviction to a fine established by the rules and regulation,
or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding 6 months, or to both;

(c) on a subsequent conviction, to penalties commensurate with the offence
as determined by the court, taking into account the off nder and the
nature of the offence;

(d) to the forfeiture to the Royal Government of Bhutan of any food,
appliance, vehicle, product, material, substance or other object used in
connection with the commission of the offence.

83 Upon the imposition of a penalty under sections 81 or 82 for any offence
under this Act, the BAFRA or the Commission may, in addition to any other
penalty lawfully imposed, recommend to the Minister r sponsible for trade
that:

(a) new or amended conditions be imposed in connection with any licence
to operate a food business issued to the offender;

(b) any licence to operate a food business issued to the offender be
suspended, cancelled or revoked; and/or

(c) the offender be prohibited from participating i the management of the
food business with respect to which the offence wascommitted, or in
the management of any food business in Bhutan.

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84 The BAFRA shall from time to time examine the circumstance or
circumstances which led to the imposition of any penalty under section 83,
and where such circumstances are no longer in effect, it shall recommend to
the Minister responsible for trade the reversal of any penalty imposed under
that section.

85 The penalties and offences which are not covered under this act shall be
imposed as per the Bhutan Penal Code 2004

Duty to Report Offences
86 Any person with knowledge of an offence committed or likely to be

committed under this Act shall furnish to the nearest local office of the
Ministry without delay any information he she may possess regarding such
offence.

Payments Due
87 Payments due under this Act, if not paid in a timely fashion or if not covered

by the proceeds of sale of anything seized, shall be recovered through the
courts.

CHAPTER XI

MISCELLEANEOUS

Rules and Regulations
88 In accordance with the provisions of this Act, the concerned Ministry shall

have the power to make the rules and regulations.

Authoritative Text
89 In the event of any difference, variation or inco sistency in terms of

meaning, language or such other variations between the Dzongkha and
English text, the text in Dzongkha shall prevail.

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Amendment
90 The Food Safety and Quality Commission may review the Act from time to

time and propose amendments thereto as and when necssary to the National
Assembly of Bhutan for approval.

Definitions
91 In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires:

i “additive” means any substance not normally consumed as a food by
itself and not normally used as a typical ingredient of food, whether or
not it has nutritive value, the intentional addition f which to a food for
a technological (including organoleptic) purpose in the manufacture,
processing, preparation, treatment, packing, packaging, transport or
holding of such food results, or may be reasonably expected to result
(directly or indirectly), in it or its by-products becoming a component of
or otherwise affecting the characteristics of such food;

ii “adulterated”, with regard to food, means:

(a) any constituent part has in whole or in part been omitted or
abstracted;

(b) damage or inferiority has been concealed in any manner;

(c) any substance has been substituted wholly or in part;

(d) any substance has been added or mixed or packed with food so as
to increase its bulk or weight or reduce its quality or strength or
make it appear better or of greater value than it is;

(e) any constituent exceeds the amount stated on the label or
permitted by the rules and regulation;

(f) it consists wholly or in part of any filthy, putrid, rotten,
decomposed animal or vegetable substance or is insect-inf sted or
is otherwise unfit for human consumption; or

(g) it has been processed, packed, stored or distributed under
unsanitary conditions.

iii “advertisement”, in relation to any food, means any written, pictorial,
visual or other descriptive matter or verbal statement, communication,
representation or reference:

(a) appearing in a newspaper or other publication;

(b) distributed to members of the public; or

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(c) brought to the notice of members of the public in any manner, and
which is intended to promote the sale or encourage the use of
food;

and “advertise” has a corresponding meaning.

iv “analyst” means an official analyst designated under section 35 of this
Act;

v “any reasonable time” means during regular business hours;

vi “appliance” means the whole or any part of any implement, machine,
instrument, apparatus or other object used or capable of being used in
connection with the manufacture, treatment, packing, labelling, grading,
storage, transport, preparation, handling or serving of any food;

vii “approved laboratory” means a laboratory designated under section 35
of this Act.

viii “BAFRA” means the Bhutan Agriculture and Food Regulatory
Authority under the Ministry of Agriculture or any Government agency
that may in future take over it’s responsibilities;

ix “border point” means any airport or border crossing designated as an
official border point by the Minister;

x “Codex Alimentarius Commission” means the commission that
implements the joint Food and Agriculture organisation/ world Health
Organisation food standard progammme, the purpose of which is to
protect the health of consumers and to ensure fair pr ctices in the food
trade.

xi “Commission” means the National Food Quality and Safety
Commission established under section 10 or any agency that may in the
future take over it’s responsibilities;

xii “Committee” means the National Codex Committee established under
section 22 or any agency that may in the future take over it’s
responsibilities;

xiii “container” means a box, bag or other receptacle in which food has been
or is being transported;

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xiv “contamination” means the presence in food of any substance not
including an additive, as a result of its production including crop
production or animal husbandry, or due to its manufcture, treatment,
packing, packaging, transport or storage or due to environmental effects,
and not including insect fragments, rodent hairs and extraneous manner,
and “contaminate” has a corresponding meaning;

xv “export” means to export from the Kingdom of Bhutan by any means,
and “exportation” has a corresponding meaning;

xvi “exporter” includes any person who, whether as owner, consignor,
consignee, agent or broker, is in possession of or in any way entitled to
the custody or control of any food;

xvii “food” means any article or substance, intendd for human
consumption, whether processed, semi-processed or raw, including
water and beverages which may contain any flavouring matter or
condiments, except for pharmaceutical drugs, tobacco nd cosmetics;

xviii “food business” means any business where harvesting, manufacture,
handling, serving, treatment, packaging, grading, labe ling, transport,
import, export or storage of food is carried out, whether for profit or not;

xix “food emergency” means a food shortage or a food-borne disease
outbreak;

xx “food inspector” means a person authorised by the Minister meeting any
essential qualifications established by the Minister, and designated as
such under section 34 of this Act;

xxi “import” means to import into the Kingdom of Bhutan by any means,
and “importation” has a corresponding meaning; “importer” includes
any person who, whether as owner, consignor, consignee, agent or
broker, is in possession of or in any way entitled to the custody or
control of any food;

xxii “improvement notice” means a notice served under section 68 of this
Act;

xxiii “ingredient” means any substance, excluding an additive, used in the
manufacture or preparation of food and present in the final product;

xxiv “label” means any brand or mark or any written, pictorial or other
descriptive matter appearing on or attached to or packed with any food
or its package and, when used as a verb, means to brand or mark with or
to attach or to provide in any other manner any written, pictorial or
other descriptive matter;

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xxv “local authority” means:

(a) a municipal administration; or

(b) a dzongkhag administration.

xxvi “manufacture” includes production, preparation, processing,
preservation or other similar process, and “manufact rer” and
“manufacturing” have corresponding meanings;

xxvii “Minister” means the Minister responsible for agriculture;

xxviii “owner or person in charge” in relation to any thing, includes any
person having for the time being the possession, custody or control
thereof;

xxix “package” means anything by or in which any food is covered,
enclosed, contained or packed;

xxx “packaging material” means any article or substance which is intended
to or may come into contact with food, including any containers such as
cans, bottles, cartons, boxes, cases or sacks, or wrapping and covering
material such as foil, film, metal, paper, wax paper or cloth;

xxxi “premises” means any land, building or other structure;

xxxii “prescribed” means prescribed by this Act or its rules and regulation;

xxxiii “prohibited” means prohibited under this Act or its rules and regulation;

xxxiv “recognised authority” means a foreign national authority officially
recognised by the Minister as responsible for certifica on for export;

xxxv “Rules and regulations” means and includes any rule, notification, order
and the rules and regulation made under this Act;

xxxvi “sell” includes to offer, advertise, keep, store, display, transmit,
transport or deliver for sale, or to exchange, or to dispose of to any
person in any manner whether for a consideration or otherwise, and
“sold”, “selling” and “sale” have corresponding meanings;

xxxvii “treated” means coloured, stained, powdered, polished, coated or
steamed, or mixed, preserved, flavoured, diluted or thickened with any
substance, and “treat” and “treatment” have corresponding meanings;

xxxviii “unsanitary conditions” means such conditions or circumstances as
might cause contamination of food or might render food dangerous or
harmful to human health;

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xxxix “vehicle” means any vessel, aircraft, train, conveyance, cart, container,
animal or other thing that can transport food from ne place to another;

xxxx “warranty” means a label on any food making an express or implied
undertaking that the food is fit for human consumption and fulfils all
specified conditions contained in such label.

Related Laws

2006 Food Law