In a big step to create a culture of food safety in India, FSSAI announced a list of new initiatives to promote safe food at home, schools, offices, eateries and religious places. To commemorate the 10th anniversary of the enactment of the Food Safety and Standards Act 2006, FSSAI said it will launch these ten initiatives to connect people of all age groups to ensure safe food.
As part of this initiative, FSSAI will provide a green book to every household as well as create a dedicated website for safe and nutritious food at home. Similarly, in schools they will prepare a negative list of high fat, sugar and junk food (also known as salt foods) to ensure food safety and nutrition in school, which includes lunch boxes and the canteens. And they have plans to make licenses from FSSAI compulsory for food businesses involved in the mid-day meal scheme.
For offices, the canteens and cafeterias should be registered with the food regulator and they should also ensure monthly testing of kitchens, water and equipment used. As far as religious places are concerned, FSSAI said it is engaging with the management of places of worships to help them implement the Food Safety Management System (FSMS).
Health Minister J P Nadda said that, , “Provisions of safe food should become a part of ingrained culture in our country.” And that the adoption of global food safety standards would boost the export of agro-products and also, more importantly, provide better returns to farmers for their produce. FSSAI CEO Pawan Agarwal said that these 10 initiatives have been developed in collaboration with stakeholders and partners for the past few months. “States would be facilitated to implement them on pilot basis over the next few months and thereafter national roll out of these initiatives would be done possibly by next year,” Agarwal added.
Along with these new plans, FSSAI announced that it will conduct national milk quality surveys and frame standards for food fortification, organic food and also simplify the registration and licensing regulations. And, above all this, they’ve also launched a food safety display board that will help connect consumers directly with food safety officers. Corporates including Mother Dairy, Haldiram, Starbucks and Burger King have already volunteered to display this board.
This is a huge development for FSSAI and once everything is set in motion there will be a much needed change in the way food is handled and used in the country.