Kerala has secured the first position in the national food safety index of the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI).
Health Minister Veena George, in a statement here, claimed that the ranking secured by the State was in recognition of the streamlined and consistent activities of the State in the area of food safety.
She said the Food Safety Department’s revenue in 2022-23, through the imposition of fines for violation of food safety and standards, registered an increase of 193% more than the previous year. In 2022-23, the department’s revenue was ₹28.94 crore. Till now, the highest revenue registered by the department was in 2018-19, when the fines totalled ₹15.41 crore.
The award for securing the ranking was received by Food Safety Commissioner V.R. Vinod from Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya.
The food safety index, at the national level, is determined on the basis of enforcement activities such as food safety checks, sample collection, sample examination prosecution cases, number of NABL-recognised food safety labs in the State, efficiency and expertise of labs, FoSTaC training received by the food safety laboratory staff, State-level implementation of FSSAI’s Eat Right initiatives, and food safety awareness efforts of the department.
The statement said some of the initiatives taken up by the department, including the implementation of the food safety village scheme in 140 panchayats, the Safe and Nutritious Food at Schools initiative, and the 3,000-odd food safety awareness classes helped Kerala secure the first place in the index.
Ms. George said as per a directive of FSSAI, the State celebrated International Year of Millets (2023) by organising 26 millet fests across districts. Also, 148 eat right fests were also held, for which the State received accolades.