Why in news? 

Food safety and Standards Authority of India ( FSSAI) released the State Food Safety Index ( SFSI) 2021__ 22. 

About State Food Safety Index ( SFSI)

● The SFSI is released annually and this is the fourth edition since its inception in 2018_ 19. 
● Index is aimed at encouraging states and UTs to improve their performance and work towards establishing a proper food safety ecosystem  in their jurisdiction.
  ● Findings of State Food Safety Index 2021_ 2022 
■ Among the large States Tamil Nadu is the top _ ranking state, followed by Gujarat and Maharashtra. 
 ■ Among the small states Goa is the top _ ranking state followed by Manipur and Sikkim. 
■ Among UTs, Jammu & Kashmir is the top ranking UT followed by Delhi and Changigarh.
 ■ Uttarakhand, Tripura and Ladakh has significantly improved their ranking than last year in large, Small and UT category respectively.


●Consumer empowerment ( 20% weightage) 
●Training & capacity building ( 10% weightage) 
●Food testing infrastructure and surveillance (20%weightage):availability of National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calubration laboratories ( NABL) accredited labs, Mobile Food Testing labs and registration of InFoLNet ( Indian Food Labaratories Network).
● compliance ( 30% weightage) 
● Human resources & institutional data ( 20% weightage)

Levels of food safety standards 

●Company standard : These are prepared by a company for it's own use. Normally, they are copies of National standards.
  ● National level : These are issued by the national standards body like Food Safety and Standards Authority of India ( FSSAI)
 ● Regional standard: Regional groups with Similar geographical, climate etc. have Legislature standardization bodies for food safety.
 ● International  Standards: The International Organization for Standardisation ( ISO), World Trade Organisation ( WTO) and Codex Alimentarius Commission ( CAC) public international standards.


Food Safety and Standards Authority of India ( FSSAI):

It  has been mandated by the Food Safety Standards Act, 2006 for performing the following  functions.
 ● Framing of regulations  to lay down  the standards and guidelines  for articles of food and system of enforcing various standards.
 ● Laying down mechanisms and guidelines  for accreditation of certification  bodies  for certification  of food safety management system for food businesses and accreditation of laboratories  and notification of the accredited laboratories. 
● To provide  scientific advice and technical support to Central Governments for framing the policy and rules related to food safety and nutrition. 
● Collect and collect  data regarding  food consumption, incidence and prevalence of biological risk, contaminants in food, residues  of various contaminants  in food products, identification of emerging  risks and introduction  of rapid alert system.
 ● Creating an information network across the country so that the public, consumer, panchayats, etc, receive rapid, reliable and objective information  about food Safety and issues of concern. 
● Contribute to the development  of international  technical standards for food, sanitary and phyto-sanitary standards. 

Concerns related with  food safety

 ● Inefficient food  testing labs: Currently, India has handful accredited  labs about 28 in north, 25 in west, 24 in south and five in the eastern region, which are very less compared to food products  and its demand. Also, these labs are lacking in required infrastructure and trained human resources.
 ● Environment  and climate  change: Increased  climate variability,  increased frequency and intensity of extreme  events, use of excessive fertilisers  causing environmental  pollution and climate change, which deteriorating  the food quality and resulting to food safety issues.
 ● New and emerging variants and antibiotic resistance: Due to multiple mutations there is emergence of new variants of plant disease causing germs. Also, develope antibiotic resistance are causing threat to food safety and security.
 ● Changes in consumer  preferences  and habits: Lack of awareness regarding handling  and storage of foods in the domestic  environment and preferences  for processed food with additives  to eat food causing major issues of food safety.
 ● Burden of  population and food security: Population growth is an important driver of increased food demand and security, but such increased demand directly and indirectly affecting the food safety. Ways to maintain food safety.

DID you know? 

An estimated 420, 000 people die every year as a result of eating contaminated food. Also, vicious cycle of disease and malnutrition overburdened public health services, disrupts social and economic progress and detracts from the quality of life.

Various initiatives in regard to food safety

● Eat Right India: It is movement to ensure safe, healthy and sustainable food for all Indians with tagline ' Sahi Bhojan Behtar Jeevan'and following initiatives; 
■ Eat Right Research Awards and Grant's
 ■ Eat Right Creativity Challenge 
● Eat Right Campus
 ● Blissful Hygienic Offering to God ( BHOG): Encourage places of worship to adopt and maintain food safety and hygiene in preparation, serving and sale of Prasad. 
● Hygiene Rating of Restaurants: It is a universal system recognized all over India and provides a single benchmark to rate all fresh food businesses. 

Ways to maintain food safety 

 ● Good Manufacturing  Practices (GMP): GMP is a good  business  tool that helps to refine compliance and performance  by the manufacturers/producers.
 ■ It is necessary  to ensure that manufacturers/ processors take proactive  step to ensure that their products are safe by eliminating contamination and false  labelling , thereby protecting the consumer. 
■ Sanitation Standard Operating  Procedure ( SSOP): SSOP are written procedures   developed and implemented  in a facility to prevent direct contamination or adulteration of the products.
 ● The facility is required to maintain these written procedures on file, and these must be available  to regulating or government bodies upon request.
 ● Good Hygiene practice (GHP) : GHP are generally called the prerequisite measures and include an exhaustive list of measures for staff personal hydrogen and training.  This ensures that safety practices are used and maintained in food preparation environment.
■ Good Handling Practices: It indicate a comprehensive  approach  from the  farm to the store or consumer, in order to identify potential  sources of risk and indicates what steps and procedures are taken to minimise the risk of contamination.
 ■ Hazard Analysis  Critical Control Point ( HACCP): HACCP is a means of providing  assurance  about safety of food. In this each individual  step in  a  specific process of food chain like raw material procurement, manufacturing, distribution, usage of food products are considered in detail and evaluated  for its potential to contribute to the  development of pathogenic microorganisms or other food hazards.
 ■Food irradiation: It is the application of ionizing radiation  to food that improves the safety  and extends the shelf life of foods by reducing or eliminating microorganisms and insects.



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