Focus on Capacity Building for Food Safety Practices and Laboratory Techniques

NIFTEM-CII-FACE Food Safety Seminar
Food Safety Risk Mitigation in the Food Chain
13th March 2014: Pragati Maidan, New Delhi

Focus on Capacity Building for Food Safety Practices and Laboratory Techniques

Mr Siraj Hussain, Chancellor NIFTEM & Secretary, Ministry of Food Processing Industries in his Inaugural Address at the NIFTEM-CII-FACE Food Safety Seminar dwelling on the theme ofFood Safety Risk Mitigation in the Food Chainon 13th March 2014: Pragati Maidan, New Delhiemphasizedthe opportunities of the growing food trade and its exports sighting the example of buffalo meat and the challenges before the country regarding safety of Food. He mentioned that there is a dire need to create awareness about the food safety standards among the unorganized sector and consumers. He urged the industry to accept the present challenges of the Food Safety Act and be more responsible in disseminating information on the requirements of hygienic practices as per  the Regulations rather than the penalties of non compliance .He concluded that with the Food Safety Act  in place, Indian food Processing Industry is positioned to achieve high targets with respect to competiveness &growth.

Dr Ajit Kumar, Vice Chancellor NIFTEM in his Theme Address highlighted the importance of looking at the complete supply chain in order to ensure the safety of the food which would lead to better export opportunities and better price. He urged the industry, government and regulatory authorities to think of the means and ways to evaluate the complete supply chain . He focused on adopting a pragmatic approach towards the highly fragmented Agriculture sector and initiate doing whatever is possible like Farmer Co-operatives, GAP Cells or others to introduce Good Agricultural Practices in farms. In a developmental economy, problems will be there but rulings of FSSAI must be adhered to. Training to building resource capacity of Laboratory personnel & Research studies are 2 key focus areas  of NIFTEM as these are in the interest of the country.

Mr Sohan Singh Kanawat, Commissioner, Food Safety, Delhi Government assured that Delhi State is focussing on removal of apprehension and developing  confidence among FBOs about the new Food Regulations. Delhi State has also started to list out the FBOs since April 2013 and is ready with on-line licensing and registration system which will do away with requirements of  submission of hard copy of documents. The Government has initiated training of on-line filing of Tax Paper Returns  to personnel who could help FBOs at pre-fixed rates of compensation. Facilitation centres are also waiting to be launched shortly.

Mr Gokul Patnaik, Chairman, Global Agribusinesspointed out that with WTO taking steps to reduce trade barriers, the food trade has grown in leaps and bounds both in processed and in the unprocessed sector. Harmonisation of Regulatory standards and traceability are 2 key focus areas to make sure that food safety standards are adhered to. Hence approach of Regulations should be preventive  rather than reactive by using Risk Analysis tools like GHP, GMP, HACCP, ISO 22000.He pointed out that standards are a dynamic concept where consumers may be demanding sustainability and social compliance  of organisations rather than food safety of products and systems only. He assured that CII would continue to partner with MoFPI, FSSAI & NIFTEM in capacity building and working with our supply chains to ensure maximum compliance.

Mr Ravi Mathur, CEO, GS1 highlighted that a lot was happening on the Food Regulations globally and there was a need for creating awareness on food safety standards, traceability and regulations among people and professionals through Capacity Building Initiatives. He commended CII for organizing a multi-stakeholder platform to deliberate on the issues related to food safety and the CII National Food Safety Award Program for Capacity Building. He pointed out that theNIFTEM-CII-FACE Short term course in the pipeline for Food sector personnel and aspiring food professionals would go a long away in enhancing employability and upgrading food professionals to the current requirements of having working knowledge on Competitiveness tools, techniques and innovation.

The technical sessions highlighted the importance of Risk Analysis Practices in farms for ensuring safety of primary produce and called for appropriate harmonisation of  testing methods as per IS and ISO (soil testing and others). Mapping of adulterants in Milk was one of the best practices in the Dairy industry. The introduction of microbiological specifications of  milk has triggered the dairy industry to put in place better process controls, internal assessment and gradation processes. Earlier the Hotels and Restaurants industry were struggling to meet Food Safety and Quality standards , however guided by Schedule 4 of FSSR , the Marine, Meat and Poultry industry is gradually aligning their food safety systems which in turn is helping the Hotels and Restaurants sector attain the required food safety levels. Another critical factor was effective Cold chain practices which emphasised the need of Program logic controllers, traceability, product handling, security and access controls, prevention of heat conduction from other areas and other food safety practices to ensure robust temperature controls.

The Seminar was attended by more than 90 participants and speakers comprising Industry, Students, Academic &Research and Hotel Management Institutes, Government officials, Consultants and Representatives from the Food Service Sector. The Panel Discussion & Technical Session Speakers comprised the Food Commissioner Delhi State Government, CEO NABCB, Quality Council of India and Technical Heads from Blue Star, Haldirams Snacks, Field Fresh, Mother Dairy,ITC Hotels, Jubilant Food Works, TUV India and CII-FACE.