Guwahati, Aug. 19: The northeastern states are facing a dearth of food safety inspectors, adequate infrastructure and laboratory facilities required to monitor food quality in the region.
This was revealed by officials of the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) during a training programme for food safety officers of the northeastern states in Guwahati today.
The five-day training organised by FSSAI began today and will conclude on August 23.
Although the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006, guarantees the availability of safe and wholesome food for all, many loopholes exist that hamper the proper monitoring of the quality of food in terms of its manufacture, storage and sale.
“There are not adequate number of food security officers in the northeastern states, whose main responsibility is to monitor the quality of all food items that are manufactured, stored or sold here. More manpower is required so that the process of monitoring and testing of various edible items in a scientific manner can take place properly. Besides, there is also a need of proper infrastructure and adequate numbers of laboratories where tests on food samples can be conducted to ascertain their quality,” said Col C.K. Dalal, director (enforcement), FSSAI.
“The food safety officers of the Northeast do not have the required knowledge of the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006. Awareness on the act is essential as this will help them discharge their responsibilities well according to the requirement of the act. As such, we are conducting a number of awareness meetings for food safety officers of the region. Moreover, funds for the development of infrastructure and laboratories in all the seven states have already been earmarked in the current Five Year plan,” said Dalal.
On the importance of Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006, Dalal said, “The efficient implementation of the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006, is very essential to ensure that all people get to consume healthy and safe food. This act not only prevents adulteration of all edible items available in the market, but also ensures their safety. Under the act, every person is considered a customer, irrespective of whether he is involved in the manufacturing and sale of food items. Hence, it is the responsibility of food safety officers to collect samples of food items, test them for any adulteration and then bring to book the people involved in the adulteration of these edible items.”