There is a need for testing food products in order to ensure that it complies with domestic standards as well as international standards for exports, a top government official said at an Interactive Session on Swachhata Action Plan 2018-19 held in Gurugram today.
There is also a need for testing of all imported food products to ensure that they are of the requisite standard and food products not permitted for manufacture domestically. Apart from this, the level of contaminants, additives, and pesticide residues in food items is required to be monitored regularly, said Mr Ashok Kumar, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Food Processing and Industries at an Interactive Session on Swachhata Action Plan 2018-19- “Hygiene in Food Processing Sector” summit held in Gurugram today.
In order to develop food safety and quality Assurance infrastructure in the country MOFPI has been extending financial assistance in setting up and up gradation food Testing Laboratories in the countries and setting up of HACCP/ISO standards to improve the overall quality of Food Safety and hygiene in the country, said Mr. Kumar.
HACCP, ISO Standards are necessary condition for improving the overall quality of food safety & hygiene in the country and also to increase India’s share in global food trade. The main objective of the scheme is to motivate the food processing industry for adoption of food safety and quality assurance mechanisms such as TQM including ISO 9000, ISO 22000, HACCP, GMP, GHP, highlighted Mr. Kumar.
This will enable adherence food processors to the stringent quality and hygiene norms thereby protecting the health of consumers, enhancing product acceptance by buyers, both domestic & overseas and keep Indian industry technologically abreast of international best practices, said Mr. Kumar.
“Food processing industry is one of the largest industries in India. The country’s food processing industry ranks fifth in terms of production, consumption and exports”.
Strategic geographic location and proximity to food importing nations benefit India in terms of exporting processed foods. Hence Swacchata in food Processing Industry is a high scale consideration, noted Joint Secretary.
Dr. Rubeena Shaheen, Director (FSMS & RARD), Food Safety and Standards Authority of India said, FSSAI created the Food Safety Management System (FSMS) which provides a preventative approach to identify, prevent and reduce food-borne hazards. This is to minimize the risk of food poisoning and to make food safe for consumption.
Key Roles to implement food hygiene are develop/review guidelines related Schedule 4 requirements i.e. GMPs/GHPs for various food industries including e-commerce players. Strengthen implementation and inspection of GHPs/GMPs by developing guidance documents and inspection checklists for FBOs and Regulatory Staff, said Shaheen.
Among others who spoke during the conference were Mr Vikas Jain, President, Gurgaon Chamber of Commerce & Industry & Chairperson, ASSOCHAM Council on Food Processing & Value Addition, Dr A K Tyagi, Executive Director, Haldirams Snacks Pvt.Ltd., Mr Bejon Kumar Misra, Founder, Consumer Online Foundation, Dr Chindi Vasudevappa, Vice Chancellor National Institute of Food Technology Entrepreneurship and Management (NIFTEM) and Dr Om S Tyagi, Assistant Secretary General, ASSOCHAM.