Ensuring Food Safety in IndiaBY GEORGE CHERIYAN

Leggi l’articolo in italiano 

Access to sufficient safe and nutritious food is key to sustaining life and promoting good health. Food safety is a shared responsibility of Governments, producers, and consumers.

An estimated 600 million, almost 1 in 10 people in the world, fall ill after eating contaminated food and 420 000 die every year. Unsafe food and water are the biggest cause of preventable infection in India.
The passage of Food Safety and Standards Act (FSSA) in 2006, initiated a new era in food safety in India. The main objectives of the Act are to integrate various food laws existed in the country and to ensure safe and wholesome food to its countryman.  
The burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) keeps rising in India largely due to excessive consumption of Ultra Processed Foods (UPF) and beverages containing high levels of saturated fats, trans-fatty acids, sugar, and salt. The need to reduce premature deaths from NCDs by one-third by 2030 (SDG 3.4) is part of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Campaigns and policies certainly play a significant role in aligning people’s food choices with their desires to live healthy lives. In India, many important initiatives have been taken up by the Food safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI). Eat Right India, a pan-India movement launched by FSSAI in July 2018, is an initiative to generate consumer awareness on healthier diets. FSSAI through multiple regulations introduced a ban on the sales, advertisement, and promotion of all foods high in saturated fat or trans-fat or added sugar or sodium in school premises.

India meeting the target to reduce transfat to 2 percent by weight or in other terms eliminating the transfat by 2022, one year ahead of WHO deadline, is a big achievement. Along with the food regulator, consumer organisations and health experts played a key role in this achievement.


Though a formal notification is still awaited, Indian Food Authority accepting the fact that India needs a FoPL soon, is a big achievement, though the format of FoPL is yet to be finalised. The long debate also had enhanced the awareness among the common consumers about FoPL and succeeded in sensitizing various stakeholders, including the Government agencies.

Investing in nutrition is a fast and smart strategy to drive development, address poverty and protect human rights.

The writer is an Indian Expert on Food Safety and a member of scientific board of Competere

Image credits: courtesy of The Hindu  >>>



Join Our Community and Stay Up to DateSign up to receive weekly updates, thoughtful ideas, and exclusive invitations