India, Canada look to ease food trade norms
India is looking at mutual recognition of food certification system with Canada for seamless export and import of edibles.
India is looking at mutual recognition of food certification system with Canada for seamless export and import of edibles, keeping in view the growing Indian diaspora in the North American country, people familiar with the matter said.
Last month, an Indian delegation led by representatives from the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) — country’s apex food regulator — took part in the 47th session of the Codex Committee on Food Labelling in Québec, Canada.
The delegation met Indian high commissioner to Canada Sanjay Kumar Verma to facilitate the initiative.
“…a discussion took place on wide issues ranging from harmonisation with the Codex standards to import and export of food items, with an emphasis on the export of traditional food products, keeping in mind the sizeable and growing Indian population in Canada,” FSSAI said in a statement on May 25.
“He [high commissioner] is likely to meet the President of CFIA [Canadian Food Inspection Agency] soon to discuss about the mutual recognition of food certification system to improve the export of Indian Food products to Canada… also emphasised on the mutual recognition of few of the Food Testing Laboratories in India and Canada for facilitating trade of food products,” it added.
The Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC) is an international food standards body established jointly by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) — both agencies of the United Nations — in 1963 with the objective of protecting consumer’s health and ensuring fair practices in food trade.
The core Codex texts typically deal with hygienic practice, labelling, contaminants, additives, inspection and certification, nutrition and residues of veterinary drugs and pesticides, and apply horizontally to products and product categories.
Among the areas being considered for exports from India include standards related to food labelling norms, use of new technologies in labelling, labelling of food allergens, labelling for e-commerce, according to the top food regulator.
Previously, India signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Canada for the mutual recognition of food labs in both the countries. India has been working on putting in place measures to ensure food safety standards are maintained effectively.
Union health minister Mansukh Mandaviya on Wednesday inaugurated the state-of-the-art National Training Centre (NTC) for the top food regulator.
“Good quality nutritious food can go a long way in keeping diseases at bay. The people who will train at the National Training Centre of FSSAI will play a significant role in creating healthy citizens in the country, as they will ensure quality standards for food are followed in the country,” he said.
According to the health ministry, NTC aims at providing structured instruction, practice, and learning experiences to bridge the gap between existing knowledge or skills and desired knowledge or skills in the field of food safety and standards.
As mandated by the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 and the Food Safety and Standards Rules, 2011, FSSAI is responsible for providing training to individuals involved in food businesses, including operators, employees, food safety officers and designated officers.
“Recognising the importance of continuous skill upgrading for officials, food business operators, and other stakeholders, FSSAI has established the National Training Centre to offer various training programmes,” the ministry said in a statement. “This dedicated centre fills the void that previously existed, ensuring the development of a future-ready workforce committed to ensuring safe and wholesome food for the citizens of India.”