3.7% food samples found unsafe, 15.8% sub-standard, says regulator

Kerala, Tamil Nadu among the best performing States, says FSSAI

November 25, 2019 10:26 pm | Updated 10:27 pm IST - NEW DELHI

A file photo used for representational purpose only.

A file photo used for representational purpose only.

Data released by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) on enforcement of norms has noted that 3.7% of the samples collected and analysed were found unsafe, 15.8% sub-standard and 9% samples had labelling defects.

Releasing the data for 2018-19 where 1,06,459 samples were analysed, the food regulator said this was the first year the data had been compiled for unsafe, substandard and labelling defects separately. This would help authorities take precise corrective and preventive action. While there should be zero tolerance to unsafe food, sub-standard and labelling defects require greater efforts on capacity building of the businesses and standards as well as labelling requirements.

There has been a 7% increase in the number of samples analysed during 2018-19 compared to 2017-18. Compared to the previous year, 25% more samples were found non-conforming. This shows that there has been better targeting of enforcement efforts by States/UTs.

There has been a 36% increase in civil cases launched and a 67% increase in the number of cases where penalties were imposed. The amount of penalty — ₹32.58 crore— imposed has increased by 23% during 2018-19 compared to the previous year.

There has been 86% increase in criminal cases launched. Since the conclusion of criminal cases takes time, 5,198 cases were concluded during 2017-18 that included a backlog of previous years. During the year there have been 701 convictions in criminal cases so far.

Ten States/UTs that have performed well include Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Bihar, Jammu & Kashmir, Delhi and Chandigarh.

Ten States that have performed poorly include Chhattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Assam, Jharkhand, Odisha, Rajasthan, West Bengal, Telangana, and Uttarakhand.

Many of the poorly performing States have not been able to put in place full-time officers and do not have proper testing laboratories despite the food safety law coming into force over a decade ago.

Expressing satisfaction over the improved enforcement, Pawan Agarwal, CEO, FSSAI, said the regulator was increasing the capacity of the State laboratories and enabling the use of private labs for testing food samples. Enforcement efforts must be preceded by surveillance efforts to identify hotspots and problem areas.

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