“We are looking at strengthening the FSSAI activities. We are going to engage experts to contribute to the development of international technical standards for food sanitary and phtyo-sanitary standards. We have to focus on collecting and collating data regarding food consumption incidence and prevalence of biological risks, contaminants in food, residues of various contaminants in food products, identification of emerging risks and introduction of rapid alert system,” said FSSAI’s spokesperson.
To keep up with international standards, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), under the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, is working on launching new guidelines. FSSAI will engage reputed professionals and individual consultants to formulate new policies.
“We aim at creating an information network across the country so that the public, consumers and panchayats receive rapid reliable and objective information about food safety and issues of concern. We want to provide training programmes for persons who are involved or intend to get involved in food businesses,” adds the spokesperson.
“What can really the government and FSSAI do to ensure a healthy growth of the roughly Rs.17,00,000 crore (US$260 billion) food and beverage industry, the country’s largest, and make sure it supplies quality products to consumers? Educating citizens of food safety, everywhere and at all levels, would appear to be a primary task of the society. The function of regulatory authorities will be easier and appreciated if the society largely recognizes the concept of food safety. Unfortunately, food safety in India is being perceived more as an elitist concern. Few care for what the common man and underprivileged consume and how poor quality and adulterated food and beverages frequently cause disease, disability and death among them,” writes Nantoo Banerjee on Echo of India, on the country’s food safety woes.
The FSSAI had also floated a scheme to engage central, state government agencies, consumers’ organisations and NGOs, to undertake Information, Education and Communication activities.