Prevention of food waste and promotion of surplus food distribution is a global concern. Integrated efforts from government, food businesses and surplus food distribution organizations are necessary to create an ecosystem for prevention of surplus food waste. To address this issue the FSSAI has taken an initiative in this direction. It has Gazette notified the Food Safety and Standards (Recovery of Surplus Food) Regulations, 2018 on 4th August 2019. This will help to establish a uniform national regulation to protect organizations and individuals when they donate food in good faith. It will further encourage big food businesses to come forward and donate food to Surplus Food Distribution Agencies. These regulations will be enforced with effect from 1st July 2020.
To further their efforts the FSSAI held meetings with Surplus Food Distribution Agencies from various parts of the country to discuss the steps taken by government to ensure safe distribution of surplus food. The two meetings were held in July and August 2019. The Surplus Food Distribution Agencies were apprised about their roles and responsibilities inensuring safe food collection and distribution as well as prevention of food waste. They were also trained on hygiene practices during food collection and distribution under Food Safety Training and Certification (FoSTaC).
Since it is mandatory for surplus food distribution agencies to register with FSSAI on food the licensing portal, FSSAI provided on the spot registration to the agencies attending. As agesture to support safe food donation, CEO FSSAI Sh. Pawan Agarwal announced free FSSAI registration for these participating agencies. At present, 20 such agencies have been registered on FSSAI licensing portal.
The forum also provided an opportunity to the surplus food distribution organizations to share their concerns and suggestions to help the network grow. Representatives from Elan Professional Appliances Pvt Ltd. attended the meeting to present their ideas for ensuring solutions to ensure safe food handling during food recovery and distribution. They have also committed to extend CSR support to select agencies in developing their systems for safe food handling.
FSSAI has also started an initiative called ‘Save Food Share Food Share Joy’ to create a foodrecovery ecosystem. This initiative aims to bridge the gap between food companies, surplus fooddistribution agencies and beneficiaries. One of the key features is creation of Indian Food SharingAlliance (IFSA) – A network of food collection/recovery agencies in India, to create a pan Indianetwork of these agencies. This network will serve as a common platform for this cause whereinall of them will be equally benefitted with regulatory support, food safety training and capacitybuilding efforts.To become a part of IFSA network, the registered surplus food delivery agencies can connect on share food portal of FSSAI.