At the inauguration of FSSAI’s new National Training Centre, Dr Mansukh Mandaviya, Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare, emphasised that “there will be no tolerance for food adulteration in the country”.
“FSSAI has formed a team along with state authorities to crack down on those who indulge in such malpractices. Large-scale testings would be carried out across the country, and action would be taken according to the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 (FSS Act 2006) against those found guilty,” he stressed.
This comes after FSSAI announced on May 25 that it will be conducting nationwide checks on milk and dairy products such as khoa, chhena, paneer, ghee, butter, curd, and ice cream, as part of its ongoing efforts to curb adulteration of these foods.
The checks will be done by collecting samples from both the organised and unorganised sectors in all of India’s states.
“The rationale behind choosing milk is because of its indispensable role in our food culture as a fresh beverage and as processed dairy products.
“Milk contains vital micronutrients and macronutrients. People of every age group include milk or milk products in their daily diet. Changing lifestyle patterns and increasing health consciousness are the key growth drivers for milk and high-value milk products in India,” FSSAI said.
The focus areas will be on the assessment of commercially sold dairy products for compliance of quality and safety parameters stated in the Food Safety and Standards Rules, 2011 (FSSR); identification of hotspots for adulteration of milk and milk products; and development of corrective actions or strategies based on the results.
FSSAI has conducted five such checks on milk and dairy products since 2011.
Last year, FSSAI conducted a survey in 12 states, including 10 states where lumpy skin disease (LSD) in cattle was prevalent, and two states with no reported outbreak of LSD.
It was found that the milk sold in the selected states were largely safe for consumption.
“The administration of veterinary drugs in affected animals, and spraying of insecticides in the sheds may cause contamination in milk. To ascertain the safety of milk, the presence of antibiotics, pesticide residues, and heavy metals were examined in the samples collected.
“We will continue to monitor the safety and quality of food products, and are always prepared to carry out checks in response to the outbreak of any food-related diseases and emerging risks.”
All hands on deck
As mandated by the FSS Act 2006 and FSSR, FSSAI is responsible for training and upskilling individuals involved in the industry, including food business operators, employees, and food safety officers.
The new National Training Centre located at Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh, will roll out structured training programmes to provide instructions, practice sessions, and learning experiences.
This dedicated facility aims to fill the knowledge and skills gap among stakeholders, and to develop a future-ready workforce committed to ensuring the safety and quality of foods for the Indian population.
“Good-quality nutritious food can go a long way in keeping diseases at bay. The people who will be training at the Centre play a significant role in creating healthy citizens in the country, as they will make sure that food safety and quality standards are adhered to,” Dr Mandaviya reiterated.
At the same time, an e-learning app called Food Safety and Certification (FoSTaC) has been launched by FSSAI.
Targeted for street vendors, the app contains learning and training modules on food safety guidelines, such as proper food handling, storage, hygiene practices, and more.