- The Consumer Protection Act, 1986, gives all consumers the following rights:
- (a) the right to be protected against marketing of goods and services which are hazardous to life and property;
- (b) the right to be informed about the quality, quantity, potency, purity, standard and price of goods or services, as the case may be, so as to protect the consumer against unfair trade practices;
- (c) the right to be assured, wherever possible, access to a variety of goods and services at competitive prices;
- (d) the right to be heard and to be assured that consumer's interests will receive due consideration at appropriate forums;
- (e) the right to seek redressal against unfair trade practices or restrictive trade practices or unscrupulous exploitation of consumers; and
- (f) the right to consumer education.
The law provides for redress of consumer complaints arising out of violation of these rights, through consumer forums constituted at the district, state and the national level. (For more details, see the website of the National Consumer Disputes Redressal commission: www. consumercom.nic.in
The same rights apply to food consumers too. Simply put, food consumers have a right to safe food, right to information about the food - so as to facilitate informed choice, they have a right to a choice of foods at competitive prices, they have a right to be heard, right to be protected against unfair and restrictive trade practices , right to consumer education and right to grievance redress.
The Food Safety and Standards Act too protects consumers from unsafe food through formulation of science based standards and their enforcement through analysis of food and market surveillance. The law also ensures informed choice through label information, prohibits misleading claims or misrepresentation on labels and advertisements. The law not only provides punishment to those who violate the law, but also compensation to the victims of unsafe food.