The Government of India is planning to install a vigorous food safety system across India by setting up at least one government food testing lab of premium quality in every Indian state. J.P. Nadda, the Minister of Health & Family Welfare stated that 45 existing state food testing labs are to be strengthened with a provision of financial support worth INR482 crore for it.
Speaking during the ‘First Health Ministers Roundtable on Food Safety & Nutrition’ organized by the Food Safety & Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), Nadda declared that finance shall not be the constraint in this project and the bigger states could have even two laboratories.
The government has taken up this initiative keeping in mind the enormous economic costs of food borne diseases, which are estimated to be 0.5% of India’s GDP or about $28 billion. There is a drastic need to create awareness among people about safe food and nutrition at workplace, schools, etc. and avoid food borne disease related morbidity and mortality.
Further, the health minister unveiled a framework for ‘Clean Street Food Hubs’ and ‘Safe and Hygienic Food Festivals’, which is aimed at building capacities of street food vendors and to motivate citizens’ faith in unorganized street food vending. A joint resolution with a seven-point charter was adopted by the health ministers during the roundtable, which included:
1. A supporting development of robust food testing standards and code of practices for safe food
2. Generate an affirmative regulatory environment
3. Addressing micronutrient deficiencies and promoting dietary routine.
4. Creating environment
5. Bringing about large-scale social and behavioral change in society on safe and nutritious food
6. Promoting a culture of self-compliance in food businesses
7. Developing efficient institutional arrangements backed up by competent human resources and adequate financial resources