Food Safety and Standards Act to promote nutrition and food control

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New Delhi, May 23 (UNI) Food adulteration, involvement of a plethora of laws and ministries, callous sampling and control, delay in enforcement of penalties and different procedures of standard formulation will all be a thing of the past with the effective implementation of Food Safety and Standards Act, experts said today.

Speaking at a symposium on 'Food Safety and Nutrition: From Knowledge to Awareness' organised by International Life Sciences Institute-India (ILSI), CEO Food Authority of India G Balachandhran outlined the salient features of the Act.

He said the existing laws on food were ailed by contradictions, rigidity, delays, weak enforcements, threats of prosecutions and unnecessary harassment.

''Too many laws and involvement of many ministries were hampering promotion of nutrition and food safety,'' he said.

The new Act provides for manufacturing and regulation of beneficial food products. There are new guidelines and procedures for accreditation of laboratories to bring about quality control.

Methods for sampling and analysis have been elucidated in the Act.

Paramount provision is the establishment of Food Safety and Standards Authority of India, which will advise the Centre on nutrition.

Earlier, ILSI chairman D H Pai Panandiker broached on the state of awareness and status of food safety and nutrition across the country. He advocated the implementation of food fortification, which according to him is cost effective, prophylactic and most potent to counter malnutrition. ''Food fortification does not destroy the much-needed vitamins,'' he said.

UN World Food Programme nutritionist Depti Gulati and Prof Kanta K Sharma, in a joint presentation, traced the concept of nutrition to the archaic days of Chanakya and his treatise ''Arthashastra'' and said people should, in everyday life, adopt saffron, white and green hued food to maximise nutrient and micronutrient benefits.

PSI communication senior manager J Balakrishnan stressed the social marketing strategy is based on needs and wants of consumers and elaborated on the strategies adopted by private sector vis-a-vis food safety.

UNI AM RP GC1629

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