How has the law been regulating food technology?

The Collins Dictionary defines Food Technology as “a branch of technology that is involved in the production of food.” Food forms the major part of human existence. It is a matter that requires attention in terms of production, packaging, storage and distribution. Food Science refers to the study of the different aspects of food like their physical, biological and chemical structures. When such studies are applied in research and application of the ways of quality control, nutrients preservation and safety management, the process forms the branch that is Food Technology.

Food Technology heavily derives from other branches of Science like analytical chemistry, biotechnology, microbiology, engineering, nutrition, and food safety management.

Quality food products and promotion in nutrition are prerequisites of any long-term development as the process largely depends on the health of the active population. In today’s situation where substandard food items have been occupying the market and wreaking havoc in the health and lifestyles of people, conforming to the specified quality standards is a must and the only solution. 

When did the concept of food technology enter Nepal? What were its alternatives in the past? How is it being monitored and regulated now? Are there enough ways available for gaining qualification in this sector?

The Start

The herald of Food Technology can be traced back to food preservation attempts. They were as follows:

  • Nicolas Appert developed the canning process in 1810 AD which meant preserving food by storing them in a can.
  • Louis Pasteur, in 1864 AD, researched into how to avoid spoilage of wine and later moved on to the study to avoid spoilage of milk hence developing the pasteurisation process which is a technique to heat milk to keep them from being spoiled and to kill organisms that could cause disease.
  • Pasteur’s efforts in food preservation made his way to becoming the giant of bacteriology and modern preventive medicine. 

Monitoring Bodies in the International Platform 

The International Union of Food Science and Technology (IUFoST) is the central and largest International coalition of different national food science organisations. It is a voluntary and non-profit association, the only one elected by peers across scientific disciplines as the scientific representative of Food Science and Technology in the International Science Council (ISC).

IUFoST is an assimilation of over 300,000 food scientists, bioengineers and technologists operating from a web spread across more than 100 countries.The main objective it carries is of stimulating exchange in the knowledge of healthy food production and nutrition development. For this purpose, it publishes its annual review ‘The World of Food Science’, the ‘Hunger Handbook’, the core food science and technology textbook and other world congress review papers. It works to further the humanitarian goals through advancement in food production and consumption.

The Union works closely with the World Health Organisation (WHO), Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), etc. In fact, it is the only organisation that has gained the consultative and representative status for the aforementioned organisations. 

The academia is looked after by ‘The Institute of Food Technologists’ (IFT). It is a dedicated international non-profit body of food experts focused on establishing uniform standards in food technology education. It offers the Certified Food Scientist (CFS) position which is the only food scientist designation that has acquired global recognition.

Food law is the branch of law related with regulation of food products (raw and finished) in a given jurisdiction. The FAO assists national governments in formulating food-related legislation for optimum consumer protection. ‘Codex Alimentarius’ is the book of guidelines prepared by the FAO which monitors fair practices in global food trade. 

Academic and Regulative Scenario in Nepal

Food Technology entered as a subject in Nepal’s education only in 2030 B.S. (1973 A.D.). Tribhuvan University’s Institute of Applied Science and Technology first started a Certificate Level Course in Dharan which was replaced after four academic years in 2036 BS by 3 years bachelors degree named B.Sc. Food Technology. It was extended later to a 4 years course with the name B. Tech. (Food). Now, postgraduate doctoral courses in food technology are being run under the Central Department of Food Technology, Tribhuvan University in Dharan. 

The Department of Food Technology and Quality Control (DFTQC) is the agency formed under the Ministry of Agriculture Development (MoAD), Government of Nepal in 1961 AD. It conducts its operations through three divisions namely ‘Quality Control Division’, ‘Central Food Laboratory’ and ‘Food Technology and Training Division’ and through two sections named ‘National Nutrition Programme’ and ‘SPS Enquiry Point’.

The department supervises food control programs in Nepal and is responsible for appropriate enforcement of food laws and regulations. 

Nepal Food Scientists and Technologists Association (NEFOSTA) is a non-government and non-profit making association of more than 500 professionals in Nepal that was set up in Dharan in 1984 AD and was later registered with the central office in Kathmandu in 1986 AD. It was founded with the aim of furthering safety and nutrition in food distributed all over Nepal. It currently operates two chapters in Dharan and in Hetauda and is preparing to open chapters abroad as well. It is obligated to conduct a national food conference every two years. 

Food Legislation in Nepal

  • Food Act, 2023 (1966) 
  • Food Rules, 2027 (1970) 
  • Food Regulation,2027 (1970)
  • दाना-पदार्थ ऐन, २०३३ (1976)
  • दाना पदार्थ नियमावली, २०४१ (1984)
  • Internal Quarantine Guidelines, 2071
  • Dietary Supplement Guideline, 2072 (2015)
  • Food Packaging and Labelling Regulation, 2073 (2016)
  • Directives on Production of Processed Drinking Water, 2074 (2017)
  • दूध तथा दुग्ध पदार्थको स्वच्छता एवम् गुणस्तर निदेशिका, 2075 (2018)
  • The Right to Food and Food Sovereignty Act, 2075 (2018
  • National Food Safety Policy, 2076 (2019)


Food conferences, sometimes vague and sometimes specific to one issue, have been held in the past and are still being held. While in the past the jobs of food technologists were undertaken by chemists in the laboratories, their replacement with qualified and trained food technicians today should be taken as a positive sign.

Nevertheless, the sector of food health is still a subject that we cannot afford to keep out of focus. The laws are to be strengthened enough to control the circulation of food products degraded in quality. Fraudulent activities in packaging and dissemination should be reviewed with sharp supervision.

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