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These 10 States in India are Unequipped to Ensure Food Safety Says FSSAI

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Is your food safe enough to eat? Well if you don't know then find out whether the food you are eating is safe or not as the Food Safety & Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has said that at least 10 states in the country are unequipped to ensure food safety, because of scarcity of staff & food testing laboratory infrastructure.

It said that Karnataka, Telengana, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Odisha, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand Assam, Rajasthan and West Bengal are the worst performing states on food safety.

The FSSAI said that many of the badly performing states have not been able to put in place full-time officers for food safety & do not even have proper food testing laboratories in spite of the food safety law coming into force more than a decade ago.

Pawan Agarwal, CEO of FSSAI said, “More rigorous enforcement by the States is important to build public trust in food. Public trust has been eroded in the recent times because of fake news creating widespread perception of large-scale adulteration in India. FSSAI is working with states & UTs, mainly with weaker ones in this regard”. He said, “For this, FSSAI will increase the capacity of State food laboratories & enable the use of private food labs for testing food samples. Also enforcement efforts needs to better targeted & preceded by surveillance efforts to recognize hotspots & problem areas".

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The food regulator also noted some improvement in food safety in states like Delhi, Chandigarh, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Bihar, Tamil Nadu and Jammu & Kashmir.

FSSAI last week released a data on enforcement efforts by states as well as Union Territories in India. It has 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 mislabelled in 2018-19.

It is important to mention that this is the first year that the data has been collected for unsafe, sub-standard & labelling defects separately. The data released also includes samples analysed, non-conforming samples, cases launched, convictions & penalties by states or UTs in the year 2018-19 & also trends over the past 3 years.

The report mentioned that there has been a 7 percent increase in the number of samples analysed in 2018-19 in comparison to 2017-18. 25 percent more samples were found non-conforming as compared to last year. This means that there has been better targeting of enforcement efforts by the states or UTs in India.



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