Upgradation of NFL is an FSSAI initiative under the Public-Private-Partnership with Arbro Pharmaceuticals
The revamped and upgraded NFL was inaugurated on 23 August 2019 by Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare. Speaking at the inaugural ceremony Dr Harsh Vardhan stated, “For an effective regulatory food environment, a robust food testing ecosystem is important. This is essential to evaluate the quality and safety of food, their compliance to standards and also to identify any emerging risks from farm to fork.” Shri Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Minister of State for Health and FamilyWelfare, FSSAI CEO Pawan Agarwal and Chairperson Rita Teaotia were also present on the inaugural ceremony. The occasion also saw attendance from over 300 partners and stakeholders belonging to the scientific community, food businesses and corporates.National Food Laboratory (NFL) at Ghaziabad, formerly known as Food Research and Standardisation Laboratory (FRSL) is one of the two referral laboratories under the direct administrative control of the FSSAI.
The National Food Laboratory at Ghaziabad is the first laboratory in the country that will function under the Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) model. Since there is now a focus on partnering with stakeholders, FSSAI has joined hands with Arbro Pharmaceuticals, one of the leading food testing laboratories, to upgrade the infrastructure, install new equipment, run its operations and manage the laboratory for the next five years.In his address, Shri Ashwini Kumar Choubey stated that ”This Public-Private-Partnership in the food testing ecosystem will synergize the efficiency of the private sector and the regulatory control of the Government in an efficient manner.” He said he had full confidence in this partnership and hoped more laboratories would join hands with FSSAI. He also pointed out that the advanced food-testing infrastructure at NFL would help fight any instances of food adulteration.
This PPP will help FSSAI in its commitment to reach out and involve various stakeholders and to utilise their expertise in food safety. The lab has a comprehensive range of equipment with the latest technologies and capacity to conduct analysis as per global accreditation standards for testing and calibration.This is a unique, first-of-its-kind model adopted in the food laboratory sector.Rita Teaotia, Chairperson, FSSAI, in her welcome address stated that ” FSSAI has demonstrated that effective policies, partnerships, and proficiencyleads to a credible and efficient food testing ecosystem that inspires trust in the food weeat.”
Functions of NFL
The NFL laboratory has various functions that will cater to the requirements of food manufacturers. NLF will
- undertake analysis of sample received from various sources to assure the safety and quality of food
- undertake R&D work for standardisation of testing methods for food products and food additives
- function as one of the Referral Food Laboratories under the provision of the FSS Act, FSS Rules & Regulations 2011
- undertake analysis of imported food samples drawn from various ports as per FSS Act, Rules and Regulations 2011
- conduct training programmes for food regulatory staff of the various States and UTs in the area of food adulteration monitoring, food safety and food analysis
According to Mr. Pawan Agarwal, CEO FSSAI the NFL- Delhi, NCR is now one of the most advanced laboratories in the country and is at par with any other laboratory in advanced countries like the USA. He went on to say that today India can proudly boast of one of the finest networks of laboratory systems and is emerging as a hub food testing ecosystem in Asia.” He also spoke about how the FSSAI has “transformed the food safety ecosystem in the country with the support of stakeholders.
Besides the laboratory, the National Food Laboratory houses two state-of-the-art collaborative training centres – The Food Safety Solution Centre (FSSC) and the Centre for Microbiological Analysis Training (C-MAT) which are also part of the PPP programme.