• ‘Fear psychosis’ in the industry has been curbed: FSSAI

    With industry fearing excessive regulation in the wake of Maggi controversy, food regulator FSSAI has said it has taken a number of steps to check any “fear psychosis” among companies.

    The Food Safety Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has relaxed the product approval process for proprietary food products and nutraceuticals. It had also last week issued clarification about the standards of monosodium glutamate (MSG).

    After the ban on Maggi in June last year, the food industry had complained about ‘inspector raj’. Even Food Processing Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal had said that the regulator has created an environment of fear in the industry.

    When asked about whether there is any fear psychosis after the Maggi ban incident, FSSAI CEO Pawan Agarwal said that it has taken number of steps to ease approval process without compromising on the quality norms of the products in order to address any fear among the industry.

    “… the fear psychosis has been curbed up to a large extent with various landmark initiatives taken by the FSSAI in easing the approval of food products and nutraceuticals,” Agarwal told PTI.

    “But at the same time, utmost importance has also been given to ensuring quality of the food items,” Agarwal said.

    Maggi noodles was banned by FSSAI in June last year for allegedly containing lead beyond the permissible limit. It came back into the market in November 2015.

    Elaborating on steps taken by the FSSAI, Agarwal said the food products for which standards were not laid down in the Food Safety and Standards Act but have approved ingredients, now may not require any approval.

    He also mentioned that the restricted enforcement activity against nutraceuticals and health supplement companies to only testing of products till new standards are notified

    To empower the consumers, Agarwal said FSSAI has launched an app through which general public can get information about the standards.

    The authority has also started awareness and training programmes for the food business operators about how to implement the food safety standards.

    As FSSAI has been streamlining its regulations to ease product approval process, Union Minister Harsimrat Badal had also said that there will more investment and innovation in the food sector. She has been raising industry and quality issues with the food regulator.

    Welcoming the latest initiatives by the FSSAI, CII last week had said that the recent notifications by the regulator on proprietary food, and notice on harmonisation of Food Additives with Codex, mark the beginning of a new chapter in developing and promoting India as the global hub for food industry. 

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