Need for building labs and staff for FSSAI: Standing Committee


New Delhi: The Standing Committee on Health and family welfare presented report on Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) in both houses of parliament. The committee came to a major recommendation which underline the effective allocation of financial resources for building labs and hiring of the staff.

As the apex body for food safety in the country the committee finds the need of experts/scientists in the food sector that can set the standards of food for human consumption. FSSAI should have post of Chairman and CEO as seen in the countries like Australia, UK, USA and other.

Committee recommends that all States/UTs in rural areas should have 1 District officer (DO) for every District and 1 Food Safety Officer (FSO) for each development blocks in urban areas 1 Food Safety Officer (FSO) for every 1000 Food business operators (FBO).

The strengthening and setting of food testing laboratories in state are the urgent need which can analyse pathogens including chemicals, microbial toxins, heavy metals, residues of pesticides, etc. Scheme to set food testing system with the budget of Rs. 481.95 crore targeted to be implemented in 2016-17 and 2018-19 has so far witnessed releases of Rs. 109.95 crore only.

FSSAI facing acute shortage of man power should recruit the people according to States’ size and population and regular exams should be conducted to recruit suitable persons in the food testing laboratories.

To curb corrupt practices Committee recommends that no factory visit or inspection should be done without photographic evidences of the factory’s hygienic conditions.

The Committee mentioned that each mobile lab would cover every 20 districts of the State. However, given the large size of our country and huge population, we need far more Food Safety on Wheels (FSWs).

The Committee recommends one certification procedure under the FSS Act. For Blended oils and Fat spread products there should be one Standard that can be obtained by merging the AGMARK certification and the FSS Standards.

The Committee would urge upon FSSAI to issue advisories to State Food Regulatory Authorities to monitor use of calcium carbide, formalin and other hazardous chemicals for artificial ripening of fruits.

Government has banned Oxytocin drug and restricted its manufacture and sale to prevent its misuse. Oxytocin would now only be manufactured by Karnataka Antibiotics & Pharmaceuticals Ltd. (KAPL) The Committee therefore recommends that on similar lines the manufacture of toxic chemicals such as Calcium Carbide and Formalin etc should be restricted and only a few companies should manufacture these chemicals for industrial use.

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