The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is set to roll out a Food Safety Inspection and Sampling System in a bid to beef up compliance and enforcement of safe, hygienic and nutritious supply of food to the people.
This was stated by Pawan Kumar Agarwal, CEO, FSSAI, while delivering the valedictory address at ‘MASSMERIZE 2017, FICCI‘s Retail FMCG & E-Commerce Conference in New Delhi.
The move is expected to affect the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in food business. As per Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006, each and every restaurant players, small or big food chains, and other allied businesses has to first register their business with FSSAI as running a restaurant/ food business without a license will be treated as a legal offense and this would invite penalties.
FSSAI is mandated to lay down scientific standards for articles of food and regulates their manufacture, storage, distribution, sale and import to ensure availability of safe and wholesome food for human consumption.
Agarwal said that FSSAI was striving to meet the rising expectations of the consumers for safe and quality food items and the effort was to introduce technology so that inspection is objective and credible. In order to ensure compliance to the norms set out by the Authority, he said that a credible food testing system was in place. As many as 135 FSSAI-recognised food laboratories have been established by the private sector, apart from 90 government labs set up the state governments and central agencies.
The FSSAI chief said that a new regulatory arrangement was being put in place to support the enforcement of regulations. There is still a huge challenge, he said, of meeting the rising expectations of the people who are now more conscious about health and wellness. “We hope we can move towards ensuring the trust of the people in the food products available in the market,” he added.
In addition, FSSAI has set out to create awareness among children on healthy eating habits by joining hands with educational boards like the CBSE and NCERT.
As part of broader plans, it has released the ‘Yellow Book’ aimed at children detailing how to eat right. The book has been launched in three categories for children in different age groups, covers a range of topics — from food safety practices, personal hygiene and cleanliness habits and eating a balanced diet to packing a wholesome lunch-box. It also lays emphasis on preventing nutritional deficiencies and making healthy choices.
The ‘Yellow Book’ provides age appropriate content that can be adopted across schools through state education machineries as part of their curricular and co-curricular activities. The topics have been formulated after discussions, consultations and extensive engagement with the partners.