The Meaning and Purposes of Law

  •  Law has been defined as “a body of rules of action or conduct prescribed by controlling authority and having binding legal force.
  • Which must be obeyed and followed by citizens.

General Objective

To ensure the availability of
safe, wholesome, and honestly presented food supply for human consumption.

Main laws governing food laws:

Food Act No 26 of 1980

Amendments to the Act

  • Food (Amendment ) Act No. 20 of 1991
  • Food (Amendment)Act No. 29 of 2011

Food Act No 26 of 1980

The Act controls,

  • Manufacture
  • Importation
  • Transport
  • Sale /Expose for sale
  • Store
  • Distribution
  • Advertisement
  • Labeling of food.

Prohibitions in respect of Food

No person shall manufacture, import, sale or distribution any food

  • Injurious to health
  • Unfit for human consumption
  • Unclean, decayed, decomposed., Insect infested.
  • Adulterated.
  • Contravention of the provisions of Act/Regulation

Prohibitions on,

Manufacture, prepare, preserve, package or store for sale food under insanitary condition.

“ Insanitary condition” means such condition or circumstances as may contaminate food with dust, dirt or filth or render food injurious to health.

Prohibitions on Labelling, packaging, advertising

No person shall label, package, treat, process, sell or advertise any food

  • In a manner that is false
  • Misleading
  • Deceptive
  • Likely to create an erroneous impression

Implementation of the Food Act No 26 of 1980


Public Health Inspectors

Medical Officers of Health

Food & Drugs Inspectors

Food Inspectors
Veterinary Surgeons (Examination &
seizure of meat)

Any person authorized by the Excise Commissioner /Collector of Customs


Gazette Notification No.1097/13 dated September 17, 1999

The approval of following categories of officers as Authorized Officers:

Public Health Inspectors

Medical Officers of Health

Food & Drugs Inspectors

Food Inspectors

Duties of Authorized Officers

It is the duty and the responsibility of officers who are empowered with the AUTHORITY to implement the laws as defined and mandated under the Acts and Regulations.

Powers of Authorized Officers

Powers of Police Officers in terms of the Criminal Procedure Code (Act No 15 of 1979) Section 13(3)

Enter & examine any place where any article is manufactured, prepared, packaged & stored and take samples. Section 14(a)
Stop & examine or detain any vehicle and take samples. Section 14(b)
Open & examine receptacle or package  Section 14(c)

Obtaining SAMPLES under the Section 14 of the Food Act

Reference should be made to the

Part II of the Food (Miscellaneous) Regulations 1984 published in Gazette No 353 of June 07, 1985, and

Amendments on Food (Miscellaneous) Regulations 1984 published in Gazette No 615/11 of June 11, 1990

Please refer to provisions related to obtaining of Chemical analysis and Microbiological Analysis.

Memorandum to the Analyst (Form 1 of (Miscellaneous) Regulations 1984.

Seize & detain any article.Section 14(e)

Institute Prosecutions. Section 20(1)(a)

Arrest persons who commit offenses under the Act (without a warrant) [Re: Section Section 19

(Food Act (Miscellaneous) Regulations 1984)

Monitor conditions of the licence issued under Section 7 of the Food Act (Provision 2 (1)

Investigate any complaint made on any contravention of the Act or Regulations. (Provision 2 (2)

Maintain records of all inspections made and other actions taken (submit such reports as and when called by the CFA) (Provision 2 (3)

(Provision 2 (4) of PART 1

Powers and duties related to food handlers suffering from any infectious diseases:

Cause such a person to be examined by a Medical Practitioner

If suffering from a disease, direct such persons not to engage in the manufacture, preparation, preserving packing, distribution or sale any article until certified by a Medical Practitioner

Procedure in respect of article seized

Sec. 15(1)

article may be destroyed

(if the owner consents in writing to the destruction)

Shall release articles if provisions of the Act and Regulations have not been contravened.
Section 15 (2)(a)

Where the owner does not consent in writing to the destruction

Shall release articles if provisions of the Act and Regulations have not been contravened.

Section 15 (2)(a)

Inform the Magistrate (without delay) of the seizure of articles. Section 15 (2) (b)

Special provisions in relation to second or subsequent offence like or similar nature under this Act.

The court may

Cause the name and the address of the person convicted and the offence and the punishment imposed for that offence to be published in such newspaper or in such other manner as the court may direct and recover the cost of publication from the person convicted as if it were a fine imposed on him ;

Approved Analyst

  • The Government Analyst
  • Additional Approved Analysts
  • City Analyst – Colombo MC
  • City Analyst – Kandy
  • MRI
  • NIHS Lab- Kalutara
  • Anuradapura Lab
  • Kurunegala


Sec 18(1) Offences

Nature of the offence involves injury to health
Fine :- 5000/= to 10,000/=
Imprisonment :- not less than 6 months & not exceeding three years

For the first offence

Fine:- 500/= to 3000/=
Imprisonment :- not exceeding six months or to such fine & imprisonmen

For the second or subsequent offence

Fine:- 1000/= to 5000/=

Imprisonment :- not less than three months not exceeding 1 year or to such fine & imprisonment

75% of fines paid to the Local Authority

25% to the Authorized Officer


(Retired Asst. Director/FCAU, Ministry of Health)
Director-Food Products Evaluation & Consultative Services
077 3559758 E