By Press Information Bureau
NEW DELHI:Commemorating a decade of integrated food law in the country, and marking ten years of Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his congratulatory message underscored the ‘need for the Authority to focus on empowering the consumers so that the manufacturers and suppliers of food products become responsive to consumer needs, demands and expectations.’ He further added that ‘safe an, wholesome and hygienic food will create a ‘Swasth Bharat’. And this has to be cornerstone of the efforts of FSSAI.’
Speaking at the function organised by FSSAI to commemorate 10 years of the enactment of Food Safety and Standard Act (FSSAI Act), here recently, J P Nadda, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare, stated that “Food safety is a very important health and economic issue. It has high employment potential, can boost exports of agro-products out of the country, and also provide better returns to farmers for their produce. Provisions of safe food should become a part of ingrained culture in our country.” He further added that the FSSAI Act is a paradigm shift from regulatory regime under the provisions of Food Adulteration Act to self-regulatory and facilitatory regime. “Now, basic ground work is done. We are ready for big leap forward,” Nadda said. C K Mishra, Health Secretary, Government of India was the Special Guest on this occasion.
Nadda appreciated the unrelenting efforts of FSSAI towards food safety in India. In his address, he emphasized upon ‘two-way communication’ between the food businesses and the regulator. He advised that the Authority should be fully aware of the need and concerns of small food businesses as well in its work of standard formulation and compliance. He further added that during the last 10 years, considerable ground has been covered in terms of achieving the goals of laying down scientific standards and regulating the manufacturing, storage, distribution, sale and import of food items for the people of India. FSSAI stands for trust and compliance and the synergy between the industry and the authority will ensure that this trust is well placed.”
On this occasion, the Union Health Minister also released the special commemorative volume – a compilation of the history and over fifty invited articles from the scientists, experts, industry people and consumer organizations. C K Mishra, Union Health Secretary also addressed the audience with inspiring messages on the need for collaborative efforts towards setting up of food standards and its implementation strategies.
In his opening address, Ashish Bahuguna, Chairperson, FSSAI said, “One of the most significant provisions of the formation of FSSAI was for setting national benchmarks, regulations and guiding principles for Food Safety and Nutrition. We have completed 10 formative years of this act and are now striving to work towards a collective approach for building safe food culture in India because Food Safety cannot be ensured by enforcement alone.”
Commemorating this milestone, FSSAI also announced 10@10 – 10th anniversary with 10 initiatives. The primary focus of the 10@10 initiative is to engage with stakeholders and consumers to create food safety culture in the country. This bouquet of 10 initiatives focused on safe and nutritious food at home, school, workplace, religious places, in trains and railway stations, in restaurants and other places. The event also saw launch of Food Safety Display Boards that would help to connect the consumers directly to food safety officers. Under the Corporates4FoodSafety initiative, the corporates committed themselves to collaborate, educate and inspire other stakeholders towards food safety as responsible food businesses.
Referring to the 10@10 initiatives, CEO, FSSAI, Pawan Agarwal said that all these initiatives have been developed collaboratively over the past few months along with other stakeholders and partners. He informed that 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. He also referred to other initiatives of the FSSAI such as on national milk quality survey, food fortification, farm to trade – bridging the standards divide, rediscovering the rich culinary heritage of India, standards for organic food, eLearning Portal and simplification of registration and licensing regulations.
There were two panel discussions prior to the main event. One on “Food Safety in unorganized sector – Challenges & Opportunities” focused around mass training programme for small and petty food businesses like street food vendors, fruits and vegetable vendors and other in partnership with Skill India and sustaining these efforts with corporate participation. The second panel discussion on “Food Safety a shared responsibility” dealt with need for taking joint responsibility by all stakeholders in assuring food safety.
Also present at the function were members of the food sector fraternity including the science community, industry – big corporates as well as small and medium food businesses represented by their associations, consumer and citizen organizations, international organizations and foreign missions, experts and government officials from Central ministries and States and other key stakeholders.