4% of food samples analysed last year unsafe, FSSAI data shows
Nearly 4% of the one lakh food and beverage samples analysed by the states and Union Territories last year were unsafe, about 16% were sub-standard and 9% were mislabelled, shows data released by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI).
This is the first time that data has been separately compiled for unsafe, substandard and labelling defects. It also includes cases launched, convictions and penalties during the year 2018-19 and also trends over the years, which shows that at 1,06,459, there was a 7% increase in the number of samples analysed as compared to the previous year.
Nearly 25% more samples were found non-conforming compared to the previous year, and there was a 67% increase in the number of cases where penalties were imposed. Among criminal cases imposed on defaulters, there has been 86% increase since the previous year, highlighting the fact that there has been an improvement in enforcement efforts by the States.
“This would help support food safety authorities to take precise corrective and preventive action. While, there should be zero tolerance to unsafe food, issue of sub-standard and labelling defects require greater efforts on capacity building of food businesses and food standards as well as labelling requirements,” said FSSAI in a statement.
The better performing states and UTs are Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Bihar, Jammu & Kashmir, Delhi and Chandigarh. The ones having performed poorly are Chhattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Assam, Jharkhand, Odisha, Rajasthan, West Bengal, Telengana, and Uttarakhand.
“More rigorous enforcement by states is essential to build public trust in food,” says FSSAI CEO Pawan Agarwal.
“FSSAI is working with states and UTs, particularly with weaker ones, in increasing the capacity of state food laboratories and enabling use of private food labs for testing food samples. Enforcement efforts have to better targeted and preceded by surveillance efforts to identify hotspots and problem areas,” he added.