FSSAI aims to strengthen food safety and regulatory ecosystem for consumer delight

11th Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) Food Safety and Quality Summit

Pawan Kumar Agarwal, CEO, Food Safety Standards Authority of India emphasized that one of the key activities that FSSAI is doing is to build an atmosphere of trust among various stakeholders to ensure food safety.  

FSSAI CEO Pawan Agarwal was speaking at the 11th Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) Food Safety and Quality Summit, organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry as a part of its national initiative,the Surakshit Khadya Abhiyan.

“The practices prevalent in other countries are being benchmarked by India to create a uniform regulatory environment which is a key to food safety”, he said. He mentioned an investment of Rs. 500 crores is being made for upgrading the laboratory infrastructure in the country.

Geetu Verma, Chairperson, CII Task Force on Food Regulatory Affairs & Executive Director Foods, Hindustan Unilever Ltd. HUL highlighted that in complex Food Supply Chains, Food Safety takes  centre stage. She emphasized that food security, safety and nutritional security should be aligned to each other. She mentioned, “The three pillars for a safe food value chain are education of consumers, accessibility to safe and nutritious food and practical legislations having risk based approach”.

In the current global scenario, where scientific advances are increasing our ability to detect hazards and identify risks, new technologies and traceability, combined with social media, are giving consumers unprecedented transparency into not only the food they purchase, but also on the origins and ingredients of their food, thus resulting in food safety as one of the top of the mind issues.

With India emerging as the global food basket, there is a need to continue to strengthen its strategies around food safety using science-based risk analysis principles to achieve global excellence in food safety.

Awilo Ochieng Pernet, chairperson, Codex Alimentarius Commission, emphasised that to combat food-borne diseases, food safety across the entire food value chain needed to be monitored effectively. She thanked CII’s Food and Agriculture Centre of Excellence for bringing food safety in the spotlight.

Sanjay Dave, chairman, steering committee, Surakshit Khadya Abhiyan, former chairman, Codex Alimentarius Commission, and former advisor, FSSAI, mentioned that the lack of food safety always affected the economies of countries.

He explained that as a part of the Surakshit Khadya Abhiyan, CII, on one hand, was creating awareness to increase demand of safe food, and on the other, building capacity in the country to produce safe food.

Piruz Khambatta, co-chairman, CII National Committee on Food Processing, and chairman and managing director, Rasna International, emphasised that the country was witnessing a positive shift in the food regulatory ecosystem and thankedFSSAI for strengthening the food regulatory regime in India to facilitate trade, to encourage ease of doing business, and most importantly, to ensure safe food for consumers.

Ravi Mathur, chairman, CII Expert Group on Food Safety & Quality, and chief executive officer, GS1, mentioned the work being done by GS1 to create a recall portal with FSSAI. The CEOs of HUL, Nestle, Cargill, Rasna and Mother Dairy emphasised the need to build a safe food value chain right from the source point to the consumption point.

The complex supply chain needs to be strengthened at all critical points to ensure that the safest food reaches the consumer. The industry captains also acknowledged the changing consumer patterns and shift towards safe and nutritious food.

The two-day summit was addressed by eminent speakers, includingPaul Mayers, vice-president, policy and programmebranch, Canadian Food Inspection Agency; Vele Pat Ila’ava, secretary, Department of Agriculture and Livestock, Papua New Guinea; Siew Moi, regional expert on chemical contaminants, Nestle Singapore; Jeffrey Lejeune, consultant, Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO); Rogerio Pereira Da Silva, co-ordinator, Codex Department, Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food Supply; Arpad Ambrus, chief scientific advisor and chair, CCMAS National Food Chain Safety Office, Hungary, and Dean Rugnetta, deputy director, United States Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) India Office.

During the summit, there were deliberations on strengthening farm practices, emerging food safety risks and their mitigation, international food safety regulatory regimes, science behind claims validation and substantiation and best practices from farm to fork. It also provided extensive networking opportunities with industry peers and domain experts. The summit was attended by over 200 food safety and quality professionals and over 50 speakers of national and international repute.

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