FSSAI unveils Rs 482-cr makeover plan to strengthen food testing labs
The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has rolled out a major scheme for strengthening of food testing infrastructure in the country at an estimated cost of Rs 482-crore. The food regulator has rolled makeover plan in the light of recent observations by Bombay High Court regarding the urgent need to upgrade food testing laboratories in India.
The final decision in this regard was taken at the meeting of empowered committee, which has been constituted for implementing this scheme, on Wednesday. The meet was chaired by FSSAI chairperson Ashish Bahuguna in the presence of representatives from the ministries of Health and Family Welfare, Food Processing Industries, Export Inspection Council, NABL, etc.
Under this scheme, 45 state/UT food testing labs (at least one in each state/UT with a provision of two labs in larger states) and 14 referral food testing labs would be upgraded to enable them to obtain NABL accreditation, the FSSAI chairperson said, adding that a total of 62 mobile testing labs would also be established across all states/UTs.
Four mobile food testing labs in Punjab, Gujarat, Kerala and Tamil Nadu will serve as a model for proposed mobile testing labs. Speaking about capacity building of the food testing labs, he said, “It’s an important component of this scheme. A school food and hygiene programme has also been envisaged under which basic testing labs will be set up in 1,500 schools/colleges across the country to promote a culture of safe food.