Food Safety – An Imperative in the New Normal
With the Covid 19 pandemic affecting the overall business and industrial activities in the country, some areas need priority attention for the revival of the national economy. One such area is “Food Safety”, according to the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).
The CII says that with the growing awareness on increasing our immunity, the intake of safe, wholesome and hygienic food has become central to its priorities.
Essentially COVID is a health pandemic. Food and health are intricately linked to one another, which the pandemic has clearly demonstrated. The pandemic has made us fall back on ancient wisdom of traditional medicines, by harnessing the medicinal properties of food and also take benefits of modern medicine, as a double pronged approach, the CII says.
In the wake of the World Food Safety Day on 7th June, the CII has taken a closer look at the sector the following way.
CII and Food Safety
Food safety is one of the focused sectors for CII, carried out under the umbrella of the Food and Agriculture Centre of Excellence (FACE). Under food safety and quality, the centre puts special emphasis on the following:
– Farm level: agriculture
– Manufacturing, Processing, Packaging
– Storage, Transportation and Distribution
– Retail and catering
– Consumer Safety
– Resource Centres on Food Safety Sciences (CHIFSS, ReCHaN, CeSRAC)
– Closely working with FSSAI and Stakeholders on Capacity Building Initiatives and Food Regulatory Affairs)
CII’s food safety and quality initiatives include the “Surakshit Khadya Abhiyan”, which in partnership with Government and stakeholders aims at creating awareness and capacity building of safe and hygienic food for all. Under its fold, the high impact sectors under this includes:
– Mid-day meal schools
– Anganwadi Centres
– Places of worship
– Clean street food hubs
– Student peer leaders development
With 40 clusters, 15 states, 25 locations, 7 sectors and 13000 + participants, the impact has been extended to 2.4 crore estimated meals annually.
FACE in Food Safety Sciences
Capability Harnessing Initiative on Food Safety Sciences (CHIFSS)
The objective of CHIFSS is to enhance capacity and strengthen science-based food safety capability building in India. CHIFSS is instrumental in leveraging global food safety capabilities and networks to build trust in processed foods and ensuring focus on high health impact areas (e.g. food borne infections).
Stopping food borne illnesses, food additives, novel foods, food allergen management, and emerging food – safety and security challenges are some of the capability themes under CHIFFS. With a compelling food safety and nutrition network, CHIFSS is emerging as a preferred partner for global organizations interested in capacity building in India.
In its four-year journey in capacity building CHIFFS has made several interventions around the following:
Public Lecture / Stakeholder Forum focussed on:
– Food Safety Issues
– Sampling for determination of food safety elements
– Integrated Predictive models and sensors in supply chains
– Reducing food borne illnesses
– Novel ingredients and Additives
– Scientific Advances in Food Safety and Food Security
– International Symposium
– Microbiological Food Safety Sampling and Testing in Food Safety Management
Technical Workshops / Roundtable focussed on:
– Predictive Microbiology
– Development and Implementation of food safety management system
– Reducing Food Borne Illness
– Microbiological food safety- sampling and Testing
– Global Standards – Risk Based Thinking
– Orientation Workshop – Risk Assessment Framework
Besides these, various publications have also been brought out under CHIFFS.
The Resource Centre on Health Supplements and Nutraceuticals (ReCHaN)
ReCHaN works towards strengthening the ecosystem on health supplements and nutraceuticals by engaging with stakeholders.
In the last 5 years, the food safety and quality vertical has been able to achieve the impactful outcomes including:
– Supporting a culture of excellence in food safety systems through the CII Award for Food Safety which identifies role models and strengthens capacity building of the Indian food industry.
– Sharing global best practices on current priorities like Rapid Testing Kits, Food Fraud Prevention and Mitigation, Block Chain and Traceability, Manufacturing Excellence, New Product Development and Food Surveillance and Monitoring using AI and Data Analytics through the 1st Virtual Overseas Study Mission on Food Safety Tools, Techniques and Technologies.
– The annual flagship event on Food Safety, Quality and Regulatory – the 16th Food Safety Quality and Regulatory Summit is being held around the theme – Powering Food Safety, Quality and Regulatory Programs with Next Generation & Advanced Tools, Techniques and Technology – from 27, 28, 30 July & 9th August 2021. The Summit will deliberate on the various issues in the area of food safety and chart the roadmap for the future.