Food safety standards announcement is a good sign
There’s good news for Food Industry. The Centre has okayed as many as 8000 new standards for food additives and ingredients from an earlier 375. The standards have been approved as per the International Food Safety Standards.
What it means in literal terms for the food companies is that they will not require newer tandards from the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) for affecting minor changes in their products if the specified standards are maintained.
The new FSSAI standards are in accordance with the standards set up by the World Health Organization as well as those of UN’s Codex Alimentarius Commission. Codex Alimentarius Commission is set up by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization.
“The industries have been facing a large number of problems. Just a minor change in an ingredient made the process of getting approval long-drawn and tedious. Now we hope things will be much easier. Soon we will add 4,000 more international ingredient standards, which will further ease the industrialists,” said Union Food Processing Industries Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal.
The Minister also said that the government was in favour of 100 % FDI in multi-brand retailing of processed food items, but the MNCs will have to divert 15 % funds for building infrastructure at the ‘farm gate level’.
“This way we can transform the farm economy in the country,” she added, informing that the process of making guidelines for this was underway. “We had suggested the FDI route. It is far better than a situation where an MNC opens retail outlets and procures products from ‘sabzi mandis’ as such a thing will hurt the farmers. Hence, we proposed that an MNC has to invest 15 % funds to develop infrastructure in the area,” she said.
“To stop the food wastage we need efficient food processing. A country like ours should have zero wastage of agricultural and horticultural products. So far we have been able to reduce the wastage by 10 % but a lot more needs to be done,” said the Minister.
The Centre has earmarked Rs 800 crore for development of six more mega food parks which will bring down the wastage further. It also plans to create small and medium enterprises in food processing sector all over the country. “We are also working out the modalities of setting up small food parks and as many as 100 cold chain projects,” she informed.
The minister also informed that the ministry will soon launch a mobile app which will act as a one-stop-shop to farmers and entrepreneurs in the Food industry and provide necessary support for setting up food processing units. Badal also launched a new online portal for bringing more transparency in the development and maintenance of food parks. The new portal will allow online filing of claims for the release of grants for various projects.