India's Food Safety Crisis: A Disturbing Downward Trend

  Nov 06, 2023

Food Safety in India: A Decline in Standards

Indian States and Food Safety Concerns

The State Food Safety Index (SFSI) for 2022-23, compiled by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), indicates a worrisome decline in food safety standards across most Indian states. The FSSAI began this evaluation in 2018-19, and the trend has been a downward shift in food-safety scores over five years.

Key Findings of SFSI

Significant findings include a marked drop in the SFSI scores of major states, with prominent food industry players like Maharashtra, Gujarat, and Andhra Pradesh witnessing their scores nearly halving. Only Punjab showed notable improvement.

Parameters of Concern

There is a particular decrease in scores related to the “Food Testing Infrastructure,” suggesting weakened state enforcement capabilities in ensuring food safety. Compliance measures, covering licensing and inspection, also saw reduced scores, signifying a decline in regulatory adherence.

The Impact of Institutional Decline

This deterioration occurs despite governmental efforts to bolster the food-processing industry through incentives like the production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme, which aims to enhance export potential and address infrastructure deficits, such as inadequate cold chains.

Urgent Need for Regulatory Efficiency

For India to develop a global reputation for food safety, there’s an urgent call for states to reinforce regulatory and enforcement frameworks. This is crucial for maintaining domestic health standards and achieving international competitiveness in the food-processing sector.



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