Government of India
Department of Revenue
October 12th, 2006.
Subject: Testing of Supari (betelnut split or whole)- regarding-
The undersigned is directed to refer to above subject and to say that Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) while replying in a specific case have opined that Supari (betel nut split or whole) is an item of food.
2. DGHS while examining the issue of exemption from testing of Products imported from Nepal (split betal nuts) by Central Food Laboratory, Kolkata, have mentioned that the provisions of Section 2(v) of the PFA Act, 1954 reads as under,-
"2(v) "Food" means all article used as food or drink for human consumption other than drugs and water and includes:-
(a) any article which ordinarily enters into, or is used in the composition or preparation of, human foods,
(b) any flavoring matter or condiments, and
(c) any other article which the Central Government may having regard to its use, nature, substance or quality, declare by notification in the official Gazette, as food for the purposes of this Act.”
3. The Hon'ble Supreme Court in a case Pyarali K. Tejani vs. Mahadeo Ramchandra Dange and others, (Criminal Appeal no. 20 of 1973) which is a four judges bench judgment had considered the matter whether supari is an item of "food" within the meaning of section 2(v) of the PFA Act, 1954. The Hon'ble Supreme Court in this case had held that supari (betelnut) is an item of food within the meaning of section 2(v) of the Act, ibid.
4. In view of above, it is informed that Supari (betelnut split or whole) is an item of food and provisions of PFA Act, 1954 and provision relating to clearance of food items would be applicable while allowing clearance of the same from Customs locations. You may also issue suitable instructions to field formations under your jurisdiction.