The Chief Executive Officer of the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), G Kamala Vardhana Rao, has urged states to increase their efforts to monitor and sample food products in order to reduce food adulteration and ensure compliance with the laid down requirements.
Speaking at the 39th Meeting of the Central Advisory Committee (CAC) on 9 March 2023, Rao recommended that states and Union Territories (UTs) strengthen frequent surveillance, monitoring, inspections, and random sampling of food items to identify non-conforming food samples and take appropriate action.
During the meeting, which was held in Panaji, Goa, Rao presided over discussions on doubling quarterly objectives of surveillance sampling of food products to 30, increasing quarterly inspections from 15 to 20, and ensuring that Food Safety on Wheel (FSW) tests 10 milk samples daily.
More than 60 people attended the meeting, including Commissioners of Food Safety, representatives from states/UTs, officials from FSSAI and nodal ministries, and members from the food industry, consumers, agriculture, labs, and research agencies.
States and UTs were also advised to plan their special surveillance drives considering the rise of adulteration cases of commonly consumed food products during festivals, marriages, and other events.
To ensure the quality and safety of milk and milk products, state and UT Food and Drug Administrations (FDAs) have been recommended to collaborate with their respective Departments of Animal Husbandry and Dairying for effective monitoring campaigns.
The Food Authority established the CAC under the Food Safety and Standards Act of 2006 to foster close collaboration between the authority and enforcement agencies/organizations working in the food industry. The group meets three to four times a year and advises the authority on a variety of issues, including task prioritization, risk identification, and information sharing.
FSSAI also stated that states and UTs can apply to the authority for technical and financial support to improve the country's testing facilities.