INDIA – The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Ministry of Food Processing Industries (MoFPI), to back micro-level food entrepreneurs and Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs).
The MoU also aims to support Self Help Groups (SHGs) and producers’ cooperatives to improve the standard of their food businesses.
“As part of Aatma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan, this step will help in making micro enterprises improve the quality of their food products and become competitive,” said FSSAI in a statement.
Aatma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan which translates to ‘self-reliant India’, is a Hindi phrase used and popularized by the Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi and the Government of India in relation to the economic vision and economic development in the country.
In this context, the term is used as an umbrella concept in relation to making India a bigger and more important part of the global economy, pursuing policies that are efficient, competitive and resilient, and being self-sustaining and self-generating.
FSSAI and the Ministry of Food Processing Industries will join hands in providing food safety training and registration of micro enterprises. Food handlers of micro-level food processing units will be provided training on understanding of good hygiene, food testing process and other regulatory requirements.
On successful completion of training, the food handlers will be provided ‘Food Safety Supervisor’ certificate by FSSAI. FSSAI and the ministry will also offer support to micro enterprises towards obtaining FSSAI license and registration.
The food safety watchdog, FSSAI, has also inaugurated its third National Food Laboratory (NFL) at Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) Nhava Sheva in Navi Mumbai.
The lab was instated in the presence of FSSAI Chairperson Rita Teaotia and its CEO Arun Singhal.
”This is the third lab that will now be operated along with two existing national laboratories, namely National Food Laboratory (NFL), currently operational at Ghaziabad and Kolkata,” FSSAI said in a statement.
The NFL Ghaziabad, is being run in the public-private partnership (PPP) mode, while the one in Kolkata is being operated by FSSAI. NFL JNPT has come up in a PPP mode with the set-up, operate and transfer (SOT) model.
Vimta Labs Ltd, one of the leading Contract Research Organization (CRO) in India, providing clinical research and development services to global pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, will be the PPP partner responsible for operating the NFL at JNPT.
The same model has been worked out at the Chennai Port Trust (CPT). With this, FSSAI will have its own laboratories in the east, west, north and south of India. The FSSAI statement clarified that these are separate from more than 200 National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL) accredited FSSAI notified laboratories that form the national food testing network.
The National Food Laboratory, JNPT, is located on an area of 11,873 square feet on the ground and first floors of Trainees Hostel Building in JNPT Township, Navi Mumbai. The laboratory has the capacity to analyze up to 9,000 samples per month.
The National Food Laboratory, JNPT, will be applying for NABL accreditation under the FSSAI-NABL integration assessment category, initially for eight food product categories and will subsequently apply for the enhanced scope of testing based on the number and type of samples.
The laboratory is likely to acquire the NABL accreditation by the end of November 2021 and become fully operational immediately thereafter.