Need to have higher domestic food safety standards to enhance consumers’ trust: AS, MoFPI

Need to have higher domestic food safety standards to enhance consumers’ trust: AS, MoFPI

Indian food processing sector is growing at a rapid pace and food safety plays an important part in this, Sanoj Kumar Jha, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Food Processing Industries, Govt of India today. He also emphasised the need for having a higher set of food safety standards in order to enhance consumer trust. “Not only for the purpose of exports but also for our domestic purpose and health issues, we need to be sure that the food that we eat, and food that we export have to conform to minimum standards. For domestic consumption, we need to have high food safety standards,” he added.

Addressing the ‘FICCI conference on Capability Enhancement for Safe Food Business and Accession Ceremony of All India Cadre of Safe Food Business Professionals’, Jha said that the Indian agriculture sector including the processed food industry proved its importance during the pandemic. Post-Covid, a lot of countries are looking forward to having a regime so that they have food security in their country. Hence there is a need for industry to be aware of export-related food safety standards prevailing in various countries. “If we want to export to any country including Europe, the US or Africa, we need to comply with their standards. Unless we ensure that we conform to their standards, we won’t be able to export,” he added.

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Jha further said that FSSAI has been coming up with new regulations with norms getting more and more stringent. “The norms will keep on getting more and more stringent going forward,” he emphasised and added that food safety is paramount, and we need to ensure to take these high standards to local street food vendors as well.

Highlighting the steps taken by the government, Jha said that the ministry (MoFPI) has already initiated capacity-building institutions along with government programmes. “We all need to work together for having safe food for our consumption, exporting to other countries,” he informed.

While highlighting the importance of public-private partnership in capacity enhancement, Prof Prabhat K Nema, Director, National Institute of Food Technology, Entrepreneurship and Management (NIFTEM) said that we have started collaborating with leading institutions, industry partners and developing courses aimed at making business leaders. “We need to focus on creating people with the right skills and competency to fulfil the needs of the industry,” he added.

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Suresh Narayanan, Member, FICCI Food Processing Committee and CMD, Nestle India said that Indian food processing industry today accounts for 10 per cent of India’s GDP and is one of the largest employers. “We not only need to have food security but also food safety to feed the population. In this interlinked world, food quality, standards and safety are global in nature. Food safety constitutes one of the most fundamental aspects of any food operation and is the backbone of consumer trust,” he emphasised.

The conference also marked the Accession Ceremony of 25 selected Professionals of the All India Cadre of Safe Food Business Professionals Batch 2022-23, organised by Nestle Food Safety Institute India (NFSI) in partnership with NIFTEM.

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