FSSAI Urges States/UTs to Enhance Surveillance and Sampling to Curb Food Poisoning and Adulteration During Festivals and Events
New Delhi, March 10, 2023: The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has called upon States/UTs to increase their monitoring, inspection, and sampling efforts to address the rise in food poisoning and adulteration cases during festive seasons, weddings, and other events. This appeal was made by FSSAI’s CEO, Shri G. Kamala Vardhana Rao, IAS, during the 39th Meeting of the Central Advisory Committee (CAC) held in Panaji, Goa.
The CAC serves as a platform for collaboration between the Food Authority and enforcement agencies/organizations in the food sector, providing advice and recommendations on work prioritization, risk identification, and knowledge sharing.
During the meeting, attended by officials from various sectors, key topics were discussed. This included increasing quarterly surveillance sampling targets from 15 to 30, raising quarterly inspections from 15 to 20 per Food Safety Officer (FSO), and ensuring the testing of 10 milk samples per day using Food Safety on Wheels (FSW) mobile testing vans.
States/UTs were advised to conduct special surveillance drives specifically targeting food poisoning and adulteration incidents during festivals, weddings, and events. The CEO stressed the importance of collecting approximately 5 lakh samples by March 2024 and collaborating with the Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying to ensure milk and milk product quality and safety.
The meeting also covered topics such as quarterly performance evaluation of States/UTs, regulatory compliance, Eat Right Initiatives, consumer awareness, training, testing infrastructures, and effective surveillance.
Immediate action was emphasized when non-compliant food samples were identified. To strengthen testing infrastructures, States/UTs were encouraged to submit proposals for establishing or upgrading laboratories with technical and financial support from FSSAI. They were also urged to create new posts for Designated Officers and FSOs to enhance enforcement capabilities.
In line with the International Year of Millets, States/UTs were urged to promote millet consumption and production by organizing Millet Melas, walkathons, and cyclothons. The aim is to hold 200 such events by March 31, 2024, to raise awareness and sensitize consumers about the benefits of including millets in their diet.
Additionally, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare will collaborate with the Ministry of Education to establish Health clubs in schools nationwide. State/UT FDAs were advised to collaborate with municipal bodies to identify areas suitable for clean and hygienic street food hubs.
FSSAI acknowledged the efforts of States/UTs and the Food Safety team in improving the review mechanism, which has helped shape policy decisions and set standards.
During his visit to Goa, Shri Rao also met with Dr. Pramod Sawant, Honourable Chief Minister, to discuss the food safety ecosystem and ongoing actions to strengthen the country’s food safety system.