11 June:The Minister of Food Processing Industries (I/C), Shri Subodh Kant Sahai said that, Food Safety is a growing concern across the world. There is increasing need to provide greater assurance about the safety and quality of food to consumers.
India’s potential to garner a higher share in world food trade also led to increasing recognition and adoption of food safety measures. He was speaking on the launching ceremony of “Food Safety and Quality Year 2008-09” in National Seminar on “Food Safety and Quality Management Systems – from Farm to Fork” at Vigyan Bhavan, here today. It will partner with various stakeholders, such as Ministry of Agriculture, Department of Commerce, Ministry of Health, and Department of Consumer Affairs, association – both industries and consumers, academic institutions etc.
Shri Sahai further said that the year 2008-09 will be the watershed year for Food Safety and Quality in India with new initiatives being taken by the Ministry of Food Processing which would be integrated with the schemes and programs already operationalised. The Eleventh Plan allocation for the Ministry has been increased by about six times, from Rs. 650 crore in the Tenth Plan to Rs. 4031 crore in the current plan. The Ministry has restructured and identified thrust areas for strategic interventions in the 11th Plan. This has primarily been Establishment of Mega Food Parks; Creation of integrated cold chain infrastructure at different levels, including farm level primary processing center-cum-cold chain; Establishment of Collection/Aggregation Centers, and Strategic Distribution Centers; Capacity building by setting up National Institute of Technology, Entrepreneurship & Management (NIFTEM) and Establishment/upgradation of quality control laboratories.
Dr. Syeda Hameed, Member, Planning Commission was the Chief Guest at the function said that food processing is in great demand. We have to bring this sector from heritage to value addition. Students, farmers and housewives need to be included in this process so that this sector takes an important place in the entire world market. There is vast possibilities of food processing in North-Eastern States, Jammu & Kashmir, Ladakh and Jharkhand etc.
Shri P. I. Suvrathan, Chairman, Food Safety and Standard Authority said that food sector is an important and dynamic sector and global focus on the quality of food implies that food safety and quality are of paramount importance to sustain and increase India’s food exports. Globalisation and the removal of tariff and non-tariff barriers have brought in international competition to the domestic markets, making it essential for Indian industry to adopt strong practices of food safety and quality to be competitive.
Shri Girdhar J. Gyani, Secretary General, Quality Council of India said that lack of processing and storage of fruits and vegetables results in huge wastages, estimated at about 35%, the value of which is approximately Rs. 33,000 crore annually. We need to stop the waste and food safety and high standard needs to be maintained.
The Ministry of Food Processing Industries will carry out a year long campaign to reach out to all the stakeholders and consumers on food safety and quality initiatives.