Addressing a CII event, Aggarwal shared a four-point vision and noted that the first aim is to bring down significantly the level of unsafe, non-standard and mis-branded food in the country.
Stating that the public perception about food overall in the country is very low, Food Safety and Standards Authority (FSSAI) Chairman Pawan Kumar Aggarwal asked the industry to bring drown the level of ‘unsafe food’ to less than one per cent or negligible level in the next four years. Addressing a CII event, Aggarwal shared a four-point vision and noted that the first aim is to bring down significantly the level of unsafe, non-standard and mis-branded food in the country. Citing a survey of one lakh samples of food conducted by enforcement officers over last years, he said 3.7 per cent of food was found to be unsafe, 15 per cent was non-standard food and 9 per cent was mis-branded food.
“The sampling was done in an area where safety was a concern. The level of 3.7 per cent is low when compared to media reports of 60-70 per cent. In next four years, can we bring unsafe food level to less than one per cent or negligible level, while non-standard food to 5 per cent and mis-branded food to 2 per cent?” he said expressing confidence of achieving these targets. This can be achieved through higher levels of surveillance, improved and targeted enforcement, review of food standards (in particular composition and vertical standards), regular monitoring of pesticides, anti-biotic residues and heavy metals besides building capacity of primary producers, he said.
Stating that there is “very low” public confidence in the food overall, the FSSAI chief said, “it is partially due to perception but there is some amount of reality. Obviously we have to communicate well with the citizen so that gap between reality and perception is reduced. We need to take concrete actions to address this issue.” He further said the second goal is to raise hygiene levels in processing and preparation of food across the supply chain.
Talking about promoting healthier and sustainable diet, Aggarwal said the third goal is to ensure that over two-third food is healthy and develop right eating culture in the country. There is a need to review standards with health and sustainability lens, promote use of logos and symbols (like organic, trans-fat free and wholegrain) besides enhancing enforcement of claims and advertising regulations to ensure food is healthy, he said.
He also emphasised on the need to transform school environment, promote eat right campus, eat right districts and eat right cities through participatory movement. According to FSSAI chief, the fourth goal is to build a robust institution ad ecosystem through partnerships and networks to deliver above three goals. “We are building a high trust culture which is simple, fair and transparent. We have recently introduced performance management culture in FSSAI,” he added.