The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has been established under Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 which consolidates various acts and orders that have hitherto handled food related issues in various Ministries and Departments.
FSSAI has been created for laying down science based standards for articles of food and to regulate their manufacture, storage, distribution, sale and import to ensure availability of safe and wholesome food for human consumption.
A number of steps have been taken by FSSAI for quality control measure for imported food products which are:
- Standards have been developed and regulations framed in different categories of food products and machinery created for their enforcement.
- Pre-arrival Documents Scrutiny (PADS) has been implemented in online Food Clearance System (FICS) from the 2nd of February 2016 which is currently operational in all non-single window ports namely Chennai, Kolkatta and Tuticorin.
- Integrated Declaration form has been developed by Customs on the basis of inputs given by FSSAI.
- FSSAI has developed its Risk based import prioritisation system and is in touch with Customs, Department of Revenue for its integration with their system.
Plastic or synthetic rice:
As per data available in the Food Import Clearance System (FICS), no import of plastic or synthetic rice has been noticed during last three years. The State Governments have also informed that no incidence of imported plastic rice has been reported in their respective states.
Use of Calcium Carbide:
Instances of use of calcium carbide for ripening of fruits have been brought to the notice of the FSSAI through Action Taken Reports from the Food Safety Departments of the States and UTs.
Regulation of Food Safety and Standards prohibits use of Calcium Carbide in ripening of fruits. The health hazards reported due to use of Calcium Carbide in ripening of fruits include carcinogenic effect, neurological disorders and stomach disorders.
The steps taken for checking the use of such practices include:
- All State and UT Governments have been well informed about the harmful effects of calcium carbide as well as the methodology for detection of Acetylene in godowns and storage chambers.
- All Commissioners of Food Safety have informed about the permitted concentration of ethylene for ripening of fruits.
- To increase public awareness regarding "consuming fruits ripened artificially by Calcium Carbide may pose health problems", a note has been uploaded on FSSAI website www.fssai.gov.in.