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10 States failed to implement food safety guidelines: FSSAI data

Data shows 36% rise in civil cases registered and 86% growth in criminal cases registered

Tuesday, November 26, 2019, 18:46 Hrs  [IST]
HBI Staff | New Delhi

As per the data released by Food Regulator, Food Safety & Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), 10 States in the country have performed badly on the enforcement of food safety guidelines. The data for 2018-19 released by FSSAI for 2018-19 indicates that these states have failed to set up laboratory facilities for sample testing as well as appoint full-time officers for food safety enforcement of rules and regulations even a decade after the law has come into force.

 The states which have performed badly as per the annual data are Chattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Assam, Jharkhand, Odisha, Rajasthan, West Bengal, Telangana, and Uttarakhand. 

 Meanwhile, 10 States have shown to have improved and performed well on the enforcement of food safety rules. These include Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Bihar, Jammu & Kashmir, Delhi and Chandigarh.  

Data released include samples analysed, non-conforming samples, cases launched, convictions and penalties by States/UTs during the year 2018-19 and also trends over the past 3 years.

 This is the first year the data has been compiled for unsafe, substandard and labelling defects separately. 

 According to the data released, during the year 2018-19, a total of 1,06,459 samples were analysed. While 3.7 % of these samples were found to be unsafe, 15.8% were found to be sub-standard and 9% samples had labelling defects. 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. 

 There has been a 7% increase in the number of samples analysed during 2018-19 as compared to 2017-18. 25% more samples were found non-conforming compared to the previous year. This shows that there has been better targeting of enforcement efforts by States/UTs in the country. 

There has been a 36% increase in civil cases launched and a 67% increase in the number of cases where penalties were imposed. The amount of penalty imposed has increased by 23% during 2018-19 compared to the previous year. A total amount of INR 32.58 crore has been realised during 2018-19. 

As far as criminal cases are concerned, there has been 86% increase in criminal cases launched. Since the conclusion of criminal cases takes time, a total of 5198 cases were concluded during 2017-18 that included a backlog of previous years. During the year there have been 701 convictions in criminal cases so far. Expressing satisfaction over improved enforcement, 

Pawan Agarwal, CEO, FSSAI, said that more rigorous enforcement by States was essential to build public trust in food. He admitted that public trust has been eroded in recent times due to fake news creating widespread perception of large-scale adulteration in the country. 

 He added, ‘FSSAI is working with States and UTs, particularly with weaker ones in this regard. For this, FSSAI is increasing the capacity of State food laboratories and enabling use of private food labs for testing food samples. Enforcement efforts have to be better targeted and preceded by surveillance efforts to identify hotspots and problem areas.”

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