The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has directed states to ramp up surveillance, random sampling and monitoring of food products in the country. This was discussed at the 39th Meeting of FSSAI’s Central Advisory Committee (CAC), held at Panaji on Thursday.
At the CAC meeting, G Kamala Vardhana Rao, Chief Executive Officer, FSSAI has asked States and UTs to increase regular surveillance, monitoring, inspections and random sampling of food products and their compliance with the standards set by the food authority. He also emphasised that, in cases where the food samples are found to be non-conforming, the appropriate measures are required to be taken.
“Increase in the quarterly targets of surveillance sampling from 15 to 30 and inspection from 15 to 20, per Food Safety Officer (FSO), were among the key discussion points. The States/UTs have also been directed to ensure testing of 10 samples of milk per day by Food Safety on Wheel (FSW) available with them. A total of 168 FSW vans are available across the country for on-the-spot food testing,” an official statement added.
More than 60 officials, including Commissioners of Food Safety (CFS), representatives from States/UTs, senior officials from FSSAI and nodal Ministries among others attended the meeting.
Special surveillance drives
The States and UTs have been asked to plan special surveillance drives given the rise in adulteration cases of commonly consumed food products during festivals and marriage season, among others. They have also been advised to coordinate with the Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying for effective surveillance.
“Other key items discussed in the meeting include the quarterly performance of States/UTs on various food safety parameters, regulatory compliance, eat right initiatives and consumer awareness, training and capacity building, testing infrastructures and effective surveillance,” the statement added.
“To strengthen the testing infrastructures in the country, States/UTs have been advised to send proposals for setting up of labs and their upgradation to FSSAI for technical and financial assistance. States/UTs have also been advised to create posts for recruitment of Designated Officers and FSOs and fill vacant posts, if any, to strengthen the enforcement machinery in the country,” the statement added.
International Year of Millets
With the year 2023 being celebrated as the International Year of Millets, FSSAI CEO also stressed on the need to publicise and promote the consumption and production of millets.
As per the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006, the Food Authority constitutes the CAC for close cooperation between the Authority and enforcement agencies.