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Food Safety – an Imperative in the New Normal

07 Jun 2021

The pandemic has accelerated the priority of some areas, food safety being one of them. With the growing awareness on increasing our immunity, the intake of safe, wholesome and hygienic food has become central to our priorities.

Essentially COVID is a health pandemic. Food and health are intricately linked to one another, which the pandemic has clearly demonstrated. The pandemic has made us fall back on ancient wisdom of traditional medicines, by harnessing the medicinal properties of food and also take benefits of modern medicine, as a double pronged approach.

On the occasion of the World Food Safety Day on 7th June, let us take a closer look at the sector.

CII and Food Safety

Food safety is one of the focused sectors for CII, carried out under the umbrella of the Food and Agriculture Centre of Excellence (FACE). Under food safety and quality, the centre puts special emphasis on the following:

Farm level: agriculture
Manufacturing, Processing, Packaging
Storage, Transportation and Distribution
Retail and catering
Consumer Safety
Resource Centres on Food Safety Sciences (CHIFSS, ReCHaN, CeSRAC)
Closely working with FSSAI and Stakeholders on Capacity Building Initiatives and Food Regulatory Affairs)

CII’s food safety and quality initiatives include the Surakshit Khadya Abhiyan, which in partnership with Government and stakeholders aims at creating awareness and capacity building of safe and hygienic food for all. Under its fold, the high impact sectors under this includes:

Mid-day meal schools
Anganwadi Centres
Railways
Places of worship
Clean street food hubs
Student peer leaders development

With 40 clusters, 15 states, 25 locations, 7 sectors and 13000 + participants, the impact has been extended to 2.4 crore estimated meals annually.

FACE in Food Safety Sciences

Capability Harnessing Initiative on Food Safety Sciences (CHIFSS)

The objective of CHIFSS is to enhance capacity and strengthen science-based food safety capability building in India. CHIFSS is instrumental in leveraging global food safety capabilities and networks to build trust in processed foods and ensuring focus on high health impact areas (e.g. food borne infections).

Stopping food borne illnesses, food additives, novel foods, food allergen management, and emerging food – safety and security challenges are some of the capability themes under CHIFFS. With a compelling food safety and nutrition network, CHIFSS is emerging as a preferred partner for global organizations interested in capacity building in India.

In its four-year journey in capacity building CHIFFS has made several interventions around the following:

Public Lecture / Stakeholder Forum focussed on –

Food Safety Issues
Sampling for determination of food safety elements
Integrated Predictive models and sensors in supply chains
Reducing food borne illnesses:
Novel ingredients and Additives
Scientific Advances in Food Safety and Food Security
International Symposium
Microbiological Food Safety Sampling and Testing in Food Safety Management

Technical Workshops/ Roundtable focussed on –

Predictive Microbiology
Development and Implementation of food safety management system
Reducing Food Borne Illness
Microbiological food safety- sampling and Testing
Global Standards – Risk Based Thinking
Orientation Workshop – Risk Assessment Framework

Besides these, various publications have also been brought out under CHIFFS.

The Resource Centre on Health Supplements and Nutraceuticals (ReCHaN)

ReCHaN works towards strengthening the ecosystem on health supplements and nutraceuticals by engaging with stakeholders.

In the last 5 years, the food safety and quality vertical has been able to achieve the impactful outcomes including:

Supporting a culture of excellence in food safety systems through the CII Award for Food Safety which identifies role models and strengthens capacity building of the Indian food industry.

Sharing global best practices on current priorities like Rapid Testing Kits, Food Fraud Prevention and Mitigation, Block Chain and Traceability, Manufacturing Excellence, New Product Development and Food Surveillance and Monitoring using AI and Data Analytics through the 1st Virtual Overseas Study Mission on Food Safety Tools, Techniques and Technologies.

The annual flagship event on Food Safety, Quality and Regulatory – the 16th Food Safety Quality and Regulatory Summit is being held around the theme – Powering Food Safety, Quality and Regulatory Programs with Next Generation & Advanced Tools, Techniques and Technology – from 27, 28, 30 July & 9th August 2021. The Summit will deliberate on the various issues in the area of food safety and chart the roadmap for the future. Participation is welcome.

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