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“Challenges facing FSSAI include licensing, registration”

The FSSAI has come under the scanner in recent times with regard to the implementation of food safety law in India and other pertinent issues. Keshav Desiraju, secretary, ministry of health and family welfare, Government of India, in a conversation with F&B news gives details. Excerpts:


The CEO and other top officials of FSSAI are either stepping down or seeking transfers. Some key posts are still vacant. Could you throw light on this?
As you are aware, the FSSAI has been set up fairly recently and is an autonomous regulatory body under the health and family welfare ministry as per the guidelines laid down in the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006.
The chief executive officer is appointed by the government and other officers working in FSSAI are on deputation. The authority floated a vacancy notice in leading newspapers recently to fill the posts that became vacant because of the transfers or deputations on foreign service term or short-term contract basis.

Adequate steps are being taken to ensure that the authority is manned by well-qualified and experienced officers.

What steps is the ministry taking to implement food safety laws in India? What are the areas of focus and major concern with respect to food safety?
The passing of the FSSA, 2006 – which led to the creation of the FSSAI – led to the shift from multi-level to a single line of control with the focus on self-compliance rather than on the regulatory regime as far as food safety is concerned.

It also introduced uniform licensing and registration regime across the Centre and the states. One of the major roles of FSSAI is the setting up of science-based food standards by harmonising with the Codex standards, wherever possible.

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