FSSAI to simplify food safety compliance processes : FSSAI CEO

FSSAI regulates manufacturing, storage, distribution, sale and import of food to promote health and safety of consumers
FSSAI license is mandatory for the sales of food product to ensure the health and safety of the consumers, asserted Pawan Kumar Agarwal, CEO, Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) while inaugurating FICCI’s food service retail conclave ‘Foodzania 2017’ in New Delhi today.
The Food Safety and Standards Act 2006, regulates manufacturing, storage, distribution, sale and import of food to promote health and safety of consumers. It governs people involved in any food business, whether manufacturing or selling and food business operators. These include shops, stalls, hotels, restaurants, airline services and food canteens, places or vehicles where any article of food is sold or manufactured or stored for sale, he added.
In his inaugural address, Agarwal said that FSSAI is keen to further simplify the compliance processes with active industry support and consultation. He, however, added that it is mandatory for all food businesses – caterers, manufacturers, companies transporting food items and retail outlets with 25 or more people handling food to have at least one trained ‘food safety supervisor’. The supervisor should be trained under the Food Safety Training and Certification Programme (FoSTaC), designed by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI). The supervisors would be responsible for ensuring that food quality is maintained.
Further, FSSAI CEO highlighted the need for the intended engagements from the industry side to protect and ensure the trust of consumers in the food that they intake. He added that display of the food licences in the hotel or restaurant premises is an ideal way to go forward. FSSAI is keen to rate the food business operators (FBO’s) through ‘Hygiene Variety Factors’ and will allocate start ratings to the restaurants and eating places out of six on the basis of certain factors including hygiene awareness, safety processes a among other related factors.
Unnat Varma, Managing Director, Pizza Hut Indian Sub-Continent & Chairperson, FICCI Food Service Retail Taskforce said that in the progressive Indian society, food expenditures hold a lot of prominence, constituting the largest retail consumption category. In fact, the Indian food retail industry is positioned globally as the sixth-largest and has been increasing at a steady pace of over 20 percent annually. Owing to this reason, the food services industry in the country has witnessed unprecedented growth over the past few years, contributing a significant proportion to India’s economic performance.
Saurabh Kochhar, CEO, Foodpanda & Co-Chair, FICCI Food Service Retail Taskforce, said that Foodzania is the initiative by FICCI Food Service Retail Task Force which was formed to address the issues faced by the stakeholders in the sector. The Indian food business sector is poised to witness a sea change. The recent times have seen significant discussions in this sector, which has led to a major reform of allowing FDI in multi-brand retail in India. This is anticipated to bring some game changing impact on the modern retail sector in India and Nation at large.
However, he added, it is not a one stop solution to address the challenges of this huge Industry. Various issues like infrastructure bottlenecks, multiple laws and regulations, skill gap etc. still remain the key concern and we aim to deliberate on these ground realities. We all know that food business sector is one of the more matured industry in India. Huge consumer base in India provides numerous opportunities for every player to exist and operate successfully in this sector. The industry being deeply connected with our day to day lives holds the responsibility of serving their consumers most effectively with best quality and prices.
Further, Government has allowed 100% FDI for trading including through e-commerce, in respect of food products manufactured or produced in India. 100% FDI is already permitted in manufacturing of food products through automatic route. This will provide impetus to the foreign investment in food processing sector, benefit farmers and will create employment opportunities. This has enhanced investment opportunities in India globally and have generated interest among the leading world food retailers for making investment in India. I am confident that this conference will come forward with new ideas that will boost the growth of the F&B sector, at the same time, enhance consumers’ welfare, added Kochhar.
On the occasion, Agarwal with other speakers launched the FICCI-Technopak report ‘Indian Food Services Industry: Engine for Economic Growth & Employment- A Roadmap for Unlocking Growth’, which highlights the overall potential of the food service in India and captures the emerging trends in the industry. It also throws light upon the ease of doing business scenario in the industry. The report recommends key alterations required to stimulate the growth in the food service industry, helping the industry realise its true potential. A concerted and collaborative effort is made to suggest the next steps to address various issues faced by the industry.

House panel to take up food safety issue

World Food Day, 16 October 2017

Govt.to set up mini food parks , bats for direct farm sourcing

Govt to set up mini food parks, bats for direct farm sourcing

New Delhi, Oct 10 (PTI) The government will focus on setting up of mini food parks to raise the processing level, Union Minister Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti said today and asked the industry to buy agri items directly from farmers to boost their income.
Jyoti, who is Minister of State for Food Processing, said all 42 sanctioned mega food parks will be operational by 2019.
She assured the industry that the ministry will consider and take up any of their concern related to GST.
Addressing an Assocham conference on FMCG, the minister said the government will facilitate setting up of ‘mini food park’ across the country on smaller land parcel to boost food processing level.
This will be done under the new Rs 6,000 crore SAMPADA scheme approved by the government recently, she added.
The ministry provides subsidy of up to Rs 50 crore to set up a mega food park.
There is a need, Jyoti said, to increase the food processing level to reduce wastage of farm produce.
The minister felt that farmers’ income will not be doubled unless their produce is procured directly.
The processing sector will also get their raw material at cheaper rates and better quality if they buy agri produce directly from farmers, she suggested.
Apart from food security, the minister said there is a need to focus on food safety.
Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) CEO Pawan Kumar Agarwal said the regulator came out with standards of various products in the last few years which are globally benchmarked and some are in the pipeline.
The FSSAI, he added, is open to making changes in standards based on the feedback of stakeholders.
“As we move forward, we will focus on compliance of food safety law in letter and spirit,” he said, citing examples of some provisions not being followed by the industry.
To improve compliance of food safety law, Agarwal said the FSSAI is modernising food labs across the country and is also ensuring inspection is being done in objective and transparent manner.
“We depend on states’ enforcement machineries for compliance of food standards. We are making efforts on capacity building of regulatory staff,” he said.
Agarwal said further that the regulator plans to make it mandatory for every food business to have at least one food supervisor and informed that as many as 16 courses have been launched to provide training as well as certificates.
The FSSAI CEO stressed on the need to chalk out a strategy to enhance food safety and hygiene in the unorganised sector.
The FSSAI is also preparing a corporate management index to nudge the food businesses to engage with the government and work towards the overall objective of providing safe and wholesome food to people, Agarwal added.

‘FSSAI working with industry to address food fortification challenges ‘

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is working with the industry to understand the challenges being faced in promoting fortification of wheat flour, rice and double fortification of salt, its chief executive officer Pawan Kumar Agarwal said at an ASSOCHAM event held in New Delhi.
“We have recevied fairly good amount of success in getting the free-market availability of fortified oil and milk but in case of wheat flour, rice and double fortification of salts, the progress has been slow,” said Agarwal addressing an ASSOCHAM conference on Nutrition and Food Security.
“We are working on it, we are working with the food industry to nudge them, persuade them to understand what are the challenges they are facing,” added Agarwal.
The FSSAI is also trying to figure out regulatory concerns the industry might have as they go in for fortification. “Obviously when we go-in for fortification as per standards, we have to be monitoring an evaluation of whether we are getting the results, so for doing all of it we have established Food Fortification Resource Centre with the support of Tata Trust at FSSAI and we have a dedicated team working to promote large-scale fortification of these five staples in the country,” Agarwal added.
Despite government policy for fortification, the progress has been somewhat limited, except a few areas where excellence has been achieved largely based on initiatives of individual officers who have felt and recognised the need for fortified staples to reach out the benefit of fortification to the poorest of the poor, he conceeded. “But by and large there had been a lukewarm response to it,” he noted.
“In last one year we have made significant progress in terms of standards, giving some structure to the space, but going around the country, we still feel that whole idea of socialisation of the importance of food fortification amongst key stakeholders in the states is still not complete,” he said.
“Merely issuing orders and notifications from Government of India will not suffice, state governments in many cases require hand-holding support in order to first be sensitised about why going for fortification and enable them to procure in various programs, fortified staples,” added Agarwal.
When it comes to achieving food fortification of five staples across India, there is a long way to go as there are many challenges to make it happen. ” I have seen many reports from the states whereby state officials remained confused as to whether or not this is required to be done, clarity in terms of how it is to be done is not there in most states,” he added.
“In many f these programs, particularly where you are depending on local initiatives at the state government level are not easy to implement and they take their own time,” he added.

Imported GM food floods Indian market unchecked

Carcinogen in Packaged Drinking Water

Two years ago, researchers at the BARC found the presence of carcinogen (cancer-causing) bromate in packaged drinking water available in Mumbai
After a social activist filed a complaint with the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to look into the matter of packaged drinking water containing harmful substances, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has written a letter to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Maharashtra to look into the matter.
Two years ago, researchers at the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) found the presence of carcinogen (cancer-causing) bromate in packaged drinking water available in Mumbai.
Based on this report, an activist filed a complaint on July 7 to the NHRC, who have communicated the petition to FSSAI to seek the action-taken report within four weeks. The FSSAI has further forwarded the complaint to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on August 22 stating that they should investigate and take action as per provisions of FSS Act 2006 and allied rules and regulations.
The activist, who did not wish to be named, said, “A report must be asked on the study conducted and various matters highlighted by it from FSSAI