A new body which would help educate Indian food processors about food safety practices has been proposed by Technical Consultancy Services of Karnataka (TECSOK), an arm of the Indian State Industries Department, reports Business Wire.
Shiv Naik, TECSOK's chief advisor, told the news service that the Karnataka state government's focus on food-processing as an industry and its need for quality were the driving forces behind the decision.
The need for better safety controls within the Indian food industry is becoming increasingly urgent given the stringent requirements imposed by many of India's leading European trading partners, in particular Germany. Naik said that the threat of non-tariff barriers on Indian foodstuffs was reason enough to set up a scheme for improving awareness of food safety issues.
He told Business Wire that the general impression among importers was that there are no good manufacturing practices in the food processing industry in India, and that HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point) was not in place. That perception was having an adverse effect on exports, and at present there was no structure in place to counter the argument.
The new body would consist of representatives from the government, industry, the scientific community, hotels and restaurants, as well as a non-governmental organisation called FRESH, which has successfully operated a scheme in Bangalore to improve the quality of foods sold on the street.
The food safety council would provide essential information to the entire food chain, from grower-producers to end consumers via manufacturers and retailers.
The body is still to be approved by the regional government, but it would be the first organisation of its kind in India. Karnataka already has a programme in place to oversee the creation of new food parks in the state in a bid to improve output and quality.