The index uses five parameters of food safety to rank states including, human resources and institutional data, compliance, food testing facility, training and capacity building in addition to consumer empowerment.
Gujarat, Kerala and Tamil Nadu have topped in the list of large states on the index. Among small states, Goa came first followed by Meghalaya and Manipur. Among union territories, Jammu and Kashmir, Andaman and Nicobar Island and Delhi secured the top three positions on the index.
The Health Minister, Mansukh Mandaviya, felicitated the nine states for outshining the other states. The release marks the third index on food safety that FSSAI has released in its 15 years of existence.
“We should try not to give unhealthy food to our citizens. We can take action against people selling substandard food but that is not a total solution. A lot has been done, but still more steps need to be taken. In the coming days, we need to work towards making citizens healthy.”
He said for a healthy society to be built, citizens ought to have access to quality and a balanced diet, for which relevant stakeholders should ensure compliance. Along with government efforts in enforcement of quality standards, the Minister said there is a big role of the industry and consumers for achieving the goal of 100 per cent food safety.
“Consumers need to be aware of sub-standard foods. There is a need to create awareness about this in a country with wide diversity.”
Consistent with the food safety index for 2020-21, Odisha and Himachal Pradesh among large states showed consistent improvement in food safety ranking. Odisha’s rank improved to 4th place in 2020-21 from 13th in 2018-19, while that of Himachal Pradesh’s rank improved to 6th place from 10th position in the said period.
In small states, there was unswerving improvement in Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh, while among Union Territories there was development in Jammu and Kashmir and Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
Speaking on the occasion, FSSAI CEO, Arun Singhal said the FSSAI has been working on a priority basis to eliminate industrial transfat in foods, malnutrition by promoting fortified foods and junk food consumption in youth and children.
For the last ten years, the FSSAI had been working on eliminating industrial transfat in foods. At that time, the transfat limit in food was set at 10 per cent which the industry had pledged to reduce voluntarily. As of 2021, the agency has cut the limit down to 3% and intend to further reduce it to 2% come 2022.
On malnutrition, Singhal said the FSSAI is working with Education, Women and Child Development as well as Food Ministries in the area of fortified foods.