10 States In India Unfit To Ensure Food Safety: FSSAI
The Food Safety Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) stated on Monday, November 25, that around 10 states in the country are not fit to ensure food safety, due to a scarcity of staff and food testing laboratories.
It is the first time that such data has been released which points at unsafe, sub-standard and labeling defects respectively.
The states that come under this ambit are Chattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Assam, Telangana, Uttarakhand, West Bengal, Odisha, and Rajasthan. The food safety authority stated that these states have not been able to place full-time officers and do not have the proper infrastructure to examine food safety.
A total of 1,06,459 samples were analyzed, and it was found that 15.8% of the samples were sub-standard, 3.7% unsafe and 9% mislabelled in the year 2018-19. There was also a 36% increase in the civil cases launched and around 67% increase in the penalties imposed, which is 23% more than the previous years.
“More rigorous enforcement by states is essential to build public trust in food. FSSAI is working with states and UTs, particularly with weaker ones in this regard,” CEO of the authority Pawan Agarwal told LiveMint. He also told that FSSAI will also increase the capacity of state food laboratories and enable the use of private food labs for testing the samples.
“Enforcement efforts have to be better targeted and preceded by surveillance efforts to identify hotspots and problem areas,” Agarwal said.
However, states such as Uttar Pradesh, Kerala, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Bihar, Delhi, and Chandigarh have fared well in terms of ensuring food safety.