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FSSAI will Spend Rs 20 Crore to Procure Rapid Food Testing Kits & Devices

Abha Toppo
Abha Toppo

The Food Safety & Standards Authority of India or FSSAI will invest over Rs 20 crore to get rapid food testing kits or devices for state-level field officers across the country. So far, FSSAI has approved thirty rapid food testing kits as well as devices under the recently finalized regulations for sanction of these items & methods that intend to strengthen the food testing ecosystem in India.

But interestingly, only 2 out of 30 rapid kits & devices are indigenously manufactured while the rest are imported, despite several research and scientific institutions in India are engaged in development of such kits & devices.

CEO of FSSAI, Pawan Agarwal said, “Food Safety & Standards Authority of India has initiated steps so that indigenously developed devices & kits are validated & approved under its regulations on a fast track basis. We would spend over Rs. 20 crore & procure rapid food testing kits and devices".

He said, “There is a market potential of Rs. 1000 crore for such devices and kits in India alone. Once, such kits & devices are extensively used for regulatory purposes; food industry will also start using them for internal quality assurance & quality control purposes".

The apex food regulator further said that the kits and devices will be given to field officers through the State governments. Different States will also buy such kits & devices from Government e marketplace or (GeM) website to make them widely available with enforcement officials.

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Agarwal said, “The devices ensuring “faster, better, cheaper" real-time testing of food would soon become an integral part of quality assurance & quality control programs in the food industry & also for regulatory and surveillance purposes in the year 2020".

Food Safety & Standards Authority of India has already started giving these kits & devices to the State Governments for use by field officers to get quicker & validated results for tests conducted on different food products like milk and edible oils etc.

He added that “Steps have been started to make these available on government eGeM portal so that further procurements could be made by Governments, local bodies on their own. FSSAI has invested more than Rs. 5 crore on this so far".

With its own admission, the apex food regulator said that at least ten states in India are unequipped to ensure food safety, because of scarcity of staff & food testing laboratory infrastructure. Karnataka, Assam, Chhattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Telangana, Odisha, Uttarakhand and Rajasthan are the worst performing states on food safety, as per FSSAI.

In addition, FSSAI also analysed a total of 106,459 samples across India and found over 15.8 percent food samples as sub-standard, 3.7  percent unsafe and 9 percent mislabeled in 2018-19.

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