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Focus on food safety in Odisha

Bhubaneswar, Jan. 29: From now, shops and business establishments selling food materials and having an annual turnover of Rs 12 lakh and above will require a licence from the Odisha government.

The ones with a turnover below Rs 12 lakh will be required to register themselves with the Odisha commissioner of food safety.

But business establishments with an annual turnover of Rs 20 crore and above will have to obtain a licence from the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India.

A full-fledged commissioner of food safety will be appointed in Odisha soon.

The commissioner will be an officer not below the rank of a commissioner-cum-secretary charged with monitoring enforcement of rules and regulations under the Food Safety and Standards Act, which came into force across the country from August 5, 2011.

Food safety officers will assist him. At present, the director of public health is acting as the food safety commissioner.

A decision was taken today at the level of the chief secretary to intensify enforcement of the Food Safety and Standards Act which envisages development of an effective enforcement machinery to ensure safety in sale and consumption of food. The Act has amalgamated eight existing acts and orders dealing with food adulteration, fruit products, meat products, vegetable oil products, edible oil packaging, solvent extracted, edible flour and dairy products.

The meeting, which was presided over by Odisha chief secretary B.K. Patnaik, today decided that there would be 38 food safety officers in the state to enforce food safety laws. The existing 26 food inspectors have been designated as food safety officers. Besides, 12 new posts have also been created.

Out of the 38 food safety officers, 30 will be posted at the district level while the rest eight will have to be posted in urban local bodies.

It has been proposed that the additional district magistrates of all districts will be declared as the adjudicating officers for the purpose of the Act.

A steering committee will also be constituted under the chairmanship of the chief secretary and district level committees will be headed by their respective collectors.

Earlier, several authorities were enforcing food standards. Now, it will be done by a single authority.

Food safety commissioner –cum-director B.K. Panda said business units, which had licence under the Food Adulteration Act, would have to renew their licences under the Food Safety and Standards Act.