India

FSSAI to expand its testing network

By RJ Whitehead

- Last updated on GMT

iStock
iStock
India’s food regulator plans to strengthen its infrastructure by providing nine mobile test labs in eight states.

Fifty-three more will be made available to other states as part of a policy that will cost INR190m (US$3m). 

To strengthen the existing labs, the regulator will modernise 45 labs across the country at a cost of about INR12m each. 

The so-called “Food Safety on Wheels” labs will be multipurpose vehicles for food testing and promoting public awareness. 

“We are flagging off nine mobile food testing labs equipped with basic infrastructure for quick testing to detect common adulterants in various food commodities," said FSSAI chief executive Pawan Agarwal.

A second fleet of vehicles will be released in November. 

"We will provide at least one unit to each state and union territory, and more in respect of bigger states," Agarwal said.

"Through these units, 24 tests can be conducted on milk, 9 on edible oil, 17 on spices and 11 on other foods," Agarwal said.

The regulator will also launch a food-safety index to rate states on areas such as infrastructure, enforcement, surveillance and customer redressal.

"We will show states mirror on where they stand on food safety aspects. This will have positive competition among states," said Agarwal. 

The FSSAI is currently preparing a framework to connect all Indian food labs to a centralised management system.

This system will provide an end-to-end solution whereby samples collected by field units will be coded and tested in FSSAI-notified labs, and the results will be available in a central database. 

This data will be available for enforcement and food import controls.

Related topics: Policy, India, Food safety

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