New food act to strengthen regulation, raise industry standards
India will put in force on August 5 the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006, which will see the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), a body formed under the act, legally empowered to handle all food safety issues in India.
The FSSAI consists of scientific panels that will set standards and regulate and monitor the manufacture, processing, distribution, sale and import of food so as to ensure safe and wholesome food.
“This body will be able to better handle food contamination cases as it will have the ability and talent to trace the source of contamination in processed food more efficiently,” said Vinay Oswal, director of the National Agriculture and Food Analysis and Research Institute (NAFARI).
Oswal made the comments at a news conference with reporters on Friday. He said that the act had been delayed by five years, as time was needed to prepare the machinery for effective implementation.
Oswal added that farmers would also have to adopt good farming practices to prevent contamination of raw material used by food processing units.
According to Oswal, the act has asked the food processing units and their suppliers to ensure use of quality agricultural produce and follow standard practices at processing, storage, supply and procurement.
“It will also push all the factors in supply chain to document it scientifically, [and] store it, which would be verified by the government officials regularly. Ultimately, it will percolate to the farmers as well, as the procuring party would demand certain good practices and processing methods from them,” he said.