FSSAI to make third – party audits of food makers mandatory

New Delhi: The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) will soon make third-party audits mandatory for food companies to ensure food safety, the authority’s chief executive Pawan Kumar Agarwal said.

“We are working on the regulations and final guidelines will be notified soon,” Agarwal said without disclosing further details. He was speaking at a programme organized by lobby group Confederation of Indian Industry here on Tuesday.

Some food companies in India voluntarily hire laboratories to inspect safety of their products but it is not mandatory yet. Such audits are common in most developed countries where self-regulation is the norm.

“We need to move towards self-regulation to ensure safe food for every Indian household. With the current strength and infrastructure, FSSAI alone would not be able to ensure surveillance at every corner. Surveillance is a big area. We are taking up surveillance in a few commodities. As we speak, the surveillance on honey and milk is going on,” added Agarwal.

The food regulator is collecting samples of honey and milk produced by major companies from 10 markets across the country, Agarwal said. The samples will be tested on 21 new parameters and more products will be added to the list soon, he said.

FSSAI, which came into the limelight after it announced a nationwide ban on popular snack Maggi instant noodles in June 2015 and asked its producer Nestle India Ltd to recall the products from the market, is also working on regulations for product recalls, Agarwal said.

As part of its efforts to ensure food safety across the country, the regulator plans to spend Rs482 crore to modernize its food testing infrastructure, including upgrading laboratories. FSSAI currently operates two food testing laboratories in Kolkata and Ghaziabad and state governments run 82 laboratories.

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