The Health Department took a major step forward in the enforcement of food safety regulations across the State when it entered into a memorandum of understanding with the Central Food Technological Research Institute, Mysuru, for enhancing the State’s laboratory capabilities.
Kerala is the first State to enter into a formal agreement with the CFTRI, one of the referral labs for food analysis under the CSIR, for the enforcement of Food Safety and Standards Act (FSSA), Health Minister V.S. Sivakumar, who formally inaugurated the MoU signing function, said.
He said the State would strictly enforce the mandatory FSSA licence/registration for food-related businesses. Anganwadis, school canteens, hostels, and mass feeding or mass food distribution by religious organisations and institutions would be brought under the ambit of the FSSA.
The concept of food safety and the public’s right to safe and hygienic food have been gaining much ground in Kerala in recent times, especially after the food safety wing began strengthening the enforcement of regulations guiding food safety, Health Secretary K. Ellangovan said.
An increasing number of judicial pronouncements in recent times in the enforcement of food safety has boosted the awareness of consumers and the confidence of food safety enforcement officials.
Enhancing the capability of the State laboratories in the scientific analysis of food and various aspects of what makes a food safe or unsafe for consumption is thus the natural step forward in ensuring food safety.
Director of the CFTRI Ram Rajasekharan said the State’s commitment to ensuring food safety would inspire others to do more in the area of food safety
Under the terms of the MoU, which will initially be for 18 months, the CFTRI will lend its technical capabilities in modernising and strengthening the State analytical laboratories in Thiruvananthapuram, Ernakulam, and Kozhikode.
Over 100 scientists and laboratory staff in the State laboratories will undergo training at the CFTRI, which has the expertise to conduct over 250 chemical and biological tests in the area of food analysis.
Some of the areas that the State food safety wing has specified include tests for detecting the presence of antibiotics/hormones in meat and poultry, formalin, mercury in fish, trans fats and acrylamide in fried foods, and safe limits for food additives/preservatives. The CFTRI will also conduct food-related studies for the State as and when requested.
The MoU was signed by Commissioner of Food Safety T.V. Anupama and CFTRI administrative officer Mallika P. Kumar.
State government inks MoU with CFTRI
to enhance lab capabilities.