FSSAI has issued a letter to Commissioners of Food Safety of all States/UTs dated 21st December 2020 related to training and awareness program about the FSS Act, 2006 and the Good Agricultural Practices for primary producers.
FSSAI being a food safety regulator monitors and regulates the contaminants and Maximum Residue Limits for the various pesticides in farm produce once the food enters the food value chain. However, the source of presence of pesticides and heavy metals in food chain are agricultural practices like use and sale of unapproved pesticides to the cultivators, overuse of pesticides beyond the recommended dose, non-following of waiting period and the agronomic practices including Integrated Pest Management (PM) and contaminated irrigation water, etc.
The Department-Related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Health & family Welfare wide its 110th Report has also observed that many of the harmful components and contaminants enter the food system at the time of primary production. To ensure that the food is safe right from the beginning of the food chain the Food Authority needs to work closely with the primary producers.
In this regard, it is informed that FSSAI has issued the various codes of practices under Food Safety Management System, namely Milk and Milk Products, Fish and Fish Products, Meat and Meat Products (Poultry) and vegetable edible oils and fats sector which are available at https://foodregulatory.fssai.gov.in/fsms-manuals for ready reference by the stakeholders.
Apart from the above, FSSAI has also issued a number of Guidance Notes on major food safety issues related to the primary production level namely- “Metal Contaminants in Foods-Potential Risk and Mitigation measures”, “Pesticides: Food Safety Concerns, Precautions and Safety Measures,” “Aflatoxins: A Key Food Safety Concern,” and “Issue of Formalin in Fish” which can also be accessed online at https://www.fssai.gov.in/cms/guidance-notes.php
These codes of practices and the guidance notes include various measures to be adopted at primary level to ensure that the food produced is safe and free from the contaminants at the farm or primary producer level also.
In this regard, to address the problem at farm or primary producer level, it is requested to conduct training and awareness program about the Act and promotion of Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) Good Animal Husbandry Practices (GAHP) Good Animal Feeding Practices (GAFP) etc. apart from Integrated Pest Management (IPM) use of pesticides only in the prescribed manner and for approved crops, observance of waiting period prior to harvesting by the cultivators etc. amongst the farmers. The same may be done in association with the States/UTs, Departments of Agriculture, Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries and the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs) etc.
The focus of such training should be to prevent food contamination at the primary level and evolve a proper monitoring mechanism. FSSAI has also asked that the action taken reports be shared with the FSSAI at the earliest.
Source : FSSAI