Shastry V. Mallady

Appoint Food Safety Commissioners, Centre tells state governments

Centre is drawing up a public awareness campaign on bad effects of junk/unhealthy food

MADURAI: Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has written to all state governments to expedite the appointment of Commissioners of Food Safety.

Simultaneously, it is drawing up a national-level public awareness campaign on bad effects of junk/unhealthy food and working on a regulatory mechanism for junk food.

G. Balachandhran, Additional Secretary and Chief Executive Officer of Food Safety and Standards Authority (FSSA) in the Ministry, told The Hindu here on Saturday that some ‘demonstrative action’ would be taken to ensure proper ‘food governance’ and safety of people.

“Following the constitution of FSSA, we are taking steps in a phased manner to operationalise the Food Safety Act 2006.

Some States like Tamil Nadu have already appointed Commissioners, but we want others to follow suit,” he said.

According to him, the awareness campaign would highlight obesity and other health issues caused by junk food and unchecked processed food.

Mr. Balachandhran said that the Chairman and executive body members of FSSA would soon be appointed by the Centre after which food standard/safety aspects, along with certain benchmarks, would be put in place.

“The United States Food and Drug Administration was able to raise food standards in that country for both industry and people. When its directions are gospel there, our country too should make the Authority a powerful regulatory body,” he said.

He pointed out that the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act in some aspects appeared to have become stagnant in a dynamic market situation and the trend must be changed.