With India emerging as a global food basket, the need to strengthen strategies towards managing product integrity, aligned with emerging regulatory trends to achieve global excellence in food safety has become central to our policy discourse. Moreover, the trend of mindful eating, shifting trends in advertising, access to social media, are providing consumers transparency into not only the food products they purchase but also on the origins and ingredients of their food. Thus, ensuring Food Safety in the entire food value chain has become a priority for Food Businesses as well as Consumers.
In this backdrop, the Confederation of Indian Industry in partnership with Food Safety Standards Authority of India organized the 13th CII Food Safety, Quality & Regulatory Summit.
In his key note address at the inaugural session of the Summit, Mr Pawan Kumar Agarwal, Chief Executive Officer, Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), reiterated the fact that Food Safety is a shared responsibility and concerted effort should be geared towards gaining consumer trust. He said the effort of the Authority in the past few years has been geared towards building the circle of trust with citizens, Governments and Food Businesses.
While unveiling the FSSAI 2.0, a vision for next steps, he said the focus would be towards creation of a culture of self-compliance with all stakeholders engaged in the food business, ensuring cohort implementation along with state and field functionaries, generating a large data repository with the aim to address issues and develop a network of partnerships.
Ms Mariam Eid, Vice Chairperson, Codex Alimentarius Commission, highlighted the need to focus on consumer awareness and education. She said the summit provided an important platform for private and public sector to collaborate to create solutions to improve food safety systems and support scientific collaboration to address problem of food safety with Codex Alimentarius leading in the forefront. She said this would be reflected in the Codex Strategic Plan 2020-25 which is under preparation.
Mr Tomio Shichiri, FAO Representative in India, brought the focus upon the need to address the food insecurity and undernutrition by working towards ensuring safe and quality food for all sections of the society.
Mr. Siraj Chaudhry, Senior Advisor & Former Chairman, Cargill India Ltd., mentioned that the regulatory ecosystem in India has achieved new dimensions, measures have been undertaken not only in formulating appropriate standards but also ensuring compliance. Several processes have been put in place to ensure continuous review with the Scientific panels and Standards Review groups.
Mr. Siddharth Mukherjee, Executive Director, Mondelez India Foods Pvt Ltd., highlighted the business opportunity available in the food sector, which are driven by urbanization, women joining the workforce, rapidly growing modern trade and e-commerce transforming the distribution and supply chain. He said, “1 billion consumers are waiting to be served and India will be a power-house of innovations with billions of aspirants”.
The CII Food Safety Quality and Regulatory Summit has been conceptualized, keeping in mind not only the consumer concerns and opportunities but also the need for stronger regional collaboration, through grouping of countries to better meet their capacity development needs, learning from international best practices and exploring the relevance and applicability of tools, techniques and science based principles of other sectors to Food Safety and Quality.
The second day of the summit had Master Classes for industry practitioners by experts in areas of emerging food safety, quality and technology trends and practices such as whole genome sequencing for investigating disease outbreak and public surveillance, global actions against drug resistant infections and antimicrobial resistance, use of block chain technology for tracking and tracing food fraud and food safety concerns and emerging methods of analysis and sampling.
The evening of the first day of the summit was followed by an Awards night. Ms Rita Teaotia, Chairperson FSSAI gave away the 9th CII Food Safety Awards, joined by Mr Pawan Agarwal, Chief Executive Officer, Food Safety and Standards Authority of India, Ms Mariam Eid, Vice Chairperson Codex Alimentarius Commission and Mr S Dave – Chairman, FAO/ WHO Co-ordinating Committee for Asia.
The Grand Finale of CII-SKA-FSSAI Asia Quiz Contest for College Students was also held as a part of the summit. Students from 10 countries, 164 colleges participated in the Quiz Contest. The winner of the CII-SKA-FSSAI Asia Quiz was Ms. Dharini Sinehaa S G and Mr. Sarthak Agarwal from NIFTEM, Kundli, Haryana. The runners up were Ms. Bhumika H N and Ms. Sheela P S from College of Agriculture, Hassan, Karnataka.
The summit had attracted a wider participation of more than 40 eminent National and International speakers from Industry, Government and Food Supply Chain. Some of the international speakers were Dr Attila Nagy, Chairperson, Codex Committee on Methods and Sampling; Dr. Sridhar Dharmapuri, Senior Food Safety and Nutrition Officer, FAO, Thailand; Mr. Kubir N. Bhattarai, Sr. Regulatory and Quarantine Officer, Ministry of Agriculture and Forests, Bhutan;Dr Sapumal Dhanapala, Director- EOH & FS, Ministry of Health Nutrition and Indigenous Medicine , Sri Lanka, Mr Monzur Morshed Ahmed, Member, Bangladesh Food Safety Authority; Mr Pramod Koirala, Regional Chief, Department of Food Technology and Quality Control, Nepal; Dr Erik J.M.Konings, Food Safety & Analytical Sciences Expert, Nestle – Switzerland.
The event was attended by more than 300 Food Safety & Quality professionals.
14 December 2018