Kerala is tipped to become the first State to enforce food safety laws online with a pilot being scheduled for launch in the capital district of Thiruvananthapuram on Monday next.
TV Anupama, Commissioner, Food Safety, told BusinessLine , a computer application has been developed from scratch for this purpose and undergone trials.
“We are now looking to develop a tablet-based app so that officers can take on-the-spot assessment and even keep the office of the Commissioner informed in almost real-time.
“Wi-Fi connectivity can help them to run through the procedures the same day,” Anupama told BusinessLine.
This will help speed up the ‘response time’ of the administration to instances of violation of food safety laws, bring those involved to book, and most importantly, and fast track information to the public.
Currently, it takes four to five days currently to get through with procedures ranging from sample collection to lab testing; issue of show-cause notices; punitive action; and appeals.
Anupama said that officers at the district level have already been given tablets. A primary level of training has already been given to them.
The tablet application will decide the success of the online initiative, Anupama said. “We will keep a watch and try to get a feel of the app as we go along.”
Currently, use of technology is limited to the laboratory-level testing of samples collected. The new application will take it further upstream to the spot where the sample is sourced.
Those who worked on the application had a tough job assimilating the myriad provisions of the Food Safety Act - more than 100 of them with subsections, rules and regulations.
State government-owned Sidco was roped with a mandate to find a one-stop IT solution for both lab testing and enforcement.
It was in turn entrusted to the software division of Invis Multimedia, which specialises in digital content generation, software development and multimedia solutions.
The latter is also the IT consultant and award-winning solution provider for the Kerala Tourism Department since 1998.
A five-member software team got on the job with the guidance of Food Safety Joint Commissioners K Anil Kumar, D Sivakumar and D Ashrafudeen, and Research Officer G Gopakumar.