In its continuous endeavour to scale up food safety FSSAI has tied up with Global Food Safety Partnership (GFSP) for training of its lab personnel. The selected personnel will receive training in high end testing of mycotoxins, pesticide residues and veterinary drug residues in Singapore and at the University of Maryland in US. The first phase of the training began in December 2016 when 10 FSSAI lab personnel were sent to Singapore for training in the areas of Pesticide Residues and Mycotoxins. GFSP will also provide training to master trainers on veterinary drug residues in University of Maryland, US.
GFSP is a unique public-private initiative of World Bank dedicated to improve the food safety in middle-income and developing countries. It brings together producers, industries, governments, regulatory bodies, international organizations and civil society to drive a globally-coordinated and locally-driven food safety approach. GFSP combines food safety training and technical support so that developing countries can improve their food safety systems and can benefit from better compliance of food safety standards. GFSP has agreed to provide technical assistance to the FSSAI for making a detailed assessment of training needs of food safety personnel in the country. They will also provide international consultancy and help establish international advisory mechanisms for benchmarking and harmonizing food safety practices to the best in the world.
The lab personnel sent for training to Singapore have returned as master trainers and are now ready to conduct training for food testing personnel within the country. The reproduction of the ‘Training of Trainers program’ which will be conducted by these master trainers is proposed to be held at National Institute of Plant Health Management (NIPHM) in Hyderabad, CFTRI Mysore, CFL Kolkata and also at a private lab in Nasik.
Meanwhile a meeting of the members of Governing Council (GC) of GFSP represented by World Bank, UNIDO, FAO, FDA, FIA, USAID and Waters Corporations was held in New Delhi on 22nd February, 2017. On the side-lines of this meeting, the GC members of GFSP held a meeting on 21 February 2017 with FSSAI and other stakeholders associated with food safety in India. Besides senior officials of the FSSAI other participants in the meeting included CEOs of industry majors, HUL, Nestle, Tata Sons, Patanjali, representatives from consumer organizations CII, FICCI and the scientific community from ICMR, ICAR and Centre for Science & Environment.
Dr. Nathan Belete, Chairperson of the GFSP Governing Council was highly appreciative of the manner in which stakeholders in India are taking forward the agenda of food safety. He stated that global Public Private Partnerships are the key to addressing issues on food safety. Mr. Ashish Bahuguna, Chairperson, FSSAI stated that India’s Food Authority is relatively new and therefore thee is immense opportunity for India to learn from global best practices. On the other hand CEO, FSSAI Mr. Pawan Agarwal outlined the initiatives undertaken taken by FSSAI in addressing issues of food safety and hygiene. He also expressed hope to see the partnership with GFSP expand beyond training. He was emphatic about India’s commitment to ensuring food safety for all across the world.
Besides the partnership with GFSP the FSSAI has international partnerships with various other countries for cooperation in the areas of food safety. These partnerships include signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) or Joint Statements with food safety authorities in Germany, France, Netherlands and New Zealand. FSSAI is also working closely with food safety authorities in the US, Canada and Singapore for global benchmarking of the food safety regulatory system in India.