INDIA – The Central Advisory Committee (CAC) of the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has during its 43rd meeting in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, discussed key initiatives to address Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) and bolster food safety measures.

One of the focal points of the meeting was the unveiling of FSSAI’s action plan on AMR.

Deliberations centered on raising awareness among farmers about the prudent use of antibiotics in livestock, aquaculture, and poultry, aligning with the AMR National Action Plan-II. Plans for conducting surveillance on antimicrobial susceptibility in food matrices to ensure consumer safety were also reviewed.

The CAC directed the Commissioners of Food Safety of States and Union Territories (UTs) to actively work towards developing 100 food streets as ‘Healthy and Hygienic Food Streets’.

Emphasis was placed on the need for surveillance sampling, with states urged to prepare surveillance plans and conduct regular meetings with state labs and officials.

Additionally, strict compliance with the FSS (Fortification of Foods) Regulation, 2018, particularly regarding Fortified Rice Kernel (FRK) sampling, was highlighted as crucial for ensuring food safety standards.

Efforts to raise awareness about the benefits of fortified rice and promote clean marketplaces were discussed. The importance of establishing health clubs in both state and central government schools was highlighted, alongside the development of app-based models and educational literature in regional languages to engage the younger generation in food safety practices.

To strengthen food safety infrastructure, a Guidance Document for Training of Food Handlers in the Canteens of Universities, Colleges, and Hostels was unveiled. This initiative aims to train approximately 110, 000  food handlers within the next two years, enhancing food safety practices in educational institutions.

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