FSSAI constitutes committee to manage food safety emergencies

Meenakshi Verma Ambwani New Delhi | Updated on November 13, 2020

Will be chaired by FSSAI CEO Arun Singhal

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has decided to constitute a Food Safety Co-ordination Committee

(FSCC) to manage food safety emergencies in the country. The committee will consist of members of various Ministries and government departments and will be chaired by FSSAI CEO Arun Singhal.

In its latest order, the food safety authority said it has developed a framework of national Food Safety Emergency Response (FSER) system. This outlines the procedures for multi-sectorial co-ordination, roles, responsibilities and management actions during food safety emergency situation as envisaged in Section 16 (3) (v) & (vi) of FSS Act 2006.

The provisions mandate FSSAI to search, collect, collate, analyse and summarise relevant scientific and technical data particularly relating to identification of emerging risks, and for introduction of a rapid alert system.

“The FSER system also enables food authorities to focus on prevention and preparedness, rather than only reacting to individual events and therefore has a long-term sustainability,” the order said.

Under the framework, it has now constituted the FSCC, to ensure co-operation and collaboration and sharing of information is shared with various government departments and agencies.

Committee members

The committee will consist of 15 members and include respective Joint Secretaries in the Department of Health, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Ministry of Agriculture and Farmer Welfare and Department of Commerce (EP Agri Division) in the Ministry of Commerce. Other members include Joint Secretary (Cattle Dairy Development), Joint Secretary (Livestock Health) and the Joint Secretary (Fisheries) in the Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries besides Joint Secretary of the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution.

Director of Export Inspection Council of India, Director of National Centre for Disease Control and a representative from Indian Council of Medical Research, besides four senior officials from the FSSAI will be part of the committee.

The committee will play a critical role during food safety emergency situations and also advice in policy making for management and control of food safety emergency situations from time to time, the FSSAI order said.

The committee will take key decisions for controlling and management of food safety emergency situations and direct planned measures for implementation of control and monitoring actions. It will also “monitor, evaluate, and review measures” implemented and “consider and make a decision, when the situation has been controlled in order to increase or decrease the response level, including incident closure.”

In 2018, the FSSAI had asked nearly 200 centrally-licensed food companies to submit their food recall plans after it had notified the Food Safety and Standards (Food Recall Procedure) Regulations.

Published on November 13, 2020

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