‘Third of India’s food industry unaware of safety standards’

New Delhi, June 9 (IANS) Nearly a third of the players in India’s food industry are not aware about safety standards and related rules, as per a survey conducted by a leading industry lobby, with the majority of respondents calling for a re-alignment of laws to global levels.

‘A majority of respondents (86 percent), though, feel that the Food Safety and Standards Act has served the purpose of a unified food law in the country,’ as per the survey conducted by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI).

In the survey, 75 percent of the respondents said there should be harmonization of Indian food regulations with internationally accepted standards to meet consumer aspiration of safe and healthy food at par with global standards.

Asked if there should be a single reference point or office to handle industry queries on food safety standards, 73 percent of the respondents voted in affirmation. While 19 percent did not feel this need, 8 percent remained clueless.

According to the chamber, over 700 responses were received from across the food sector, including small, medium and large industries, and covered not only domestic companies but also multinational corporations.

The survey was meant for collecting responses on the food safety laws and regulations in the country, apart from what the stakeholders felt about the challenges and expectations from policy-makers.

Based on the responses, the lobby said the top three issues of concern for the industry were lack of testing facilities, little industry representation in framing policies and lack of transparency in preparing reports and in setting regulatory standards.

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