Food regulator engages with stakeholders to ensure safe surplus food distribution
The country’s top food regulator—Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI)— conducted the second round of meeting with 20 Surplus Food Distribution Agencies from various parts of the country, to discuss the steps taken by government to ensure safe distribution of surplus food.
India, despite being the second largest food producer in world, is ranked 103rd out of 119 hungriest countries on the Global Hunger Index 2014.
Prevention of food waste and promotion of surplus food distribution is a global concern, and FSSAI has been taking steps to address the concern.
The first meeting was held on July 30 that was attended by 13 Surplus Food Distribution Agencies.
The FSSAI had Gazette notified Food Safety and Standards (Recovery of Surplus Food) Regulations, 2018 on August 4, 2019 to establish a uniform national regulation to protect organizations and individuals when they donate food in good faith.
“This will further encourage big food businesses to come forward and donate food to these Surplus Food Distribution Agencies. These regulations will be enforced with effect from 1st July 2020,” said FSSAI in a statement.
The food regulator has also started an initiative called ‘Save Food Share Food Share Joy’ to create a food recovery ecosystem, an initiative that aims to bridge the gap between food companies, surplus food distribution agencies and beneficiaries.
One of the key features is creation of Indian Food Sharing Alliance (IFSA) - A network of food collection/recovery agencies in India, to create a pan India network of these agencies. This network will serve as a common platform for this cause wherein all of them will be equally benefited with regulatory support, food safety training and capacity building efforts.
“The meeting was targeted to apprise these agencies about their roles and responsibilities in ensuring safe food collection and distribution as well as prevention of food waste. They were also trained on hygiene practices during food collection and distribution under Food Safety Training and Certification (FoSTaC),” the FSSAI statement further read.
It will be mandatory for the surplus food distribution agencies to register with FSSAI on food licensing portal. At present, 20 such agencies have been registered on FSSAI licensing portal.
“Integrated efforts from government, food businesses and surplus food distribution organizations are necessary to create an ecosystem for prevention of surplus food waste and the initiative is a beginning in this direction,” said Pawan Aggarwal, CEO, FSSAI.