New Delhi: Amidst FSSAI ordering recall of several products, including Maggi, from the market, Food Processing Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal Wednesday said the food regulator has created an environment of “fear” in the industry.
The Minister added that a task force has also been formed by the government on her request to look into FSSAI-related issues of the USD 250 billion food processing industry.
Maintaining that the food processing sector is vital not only for food security but for farmers also, Harsimrat said the action taken by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is discouraging innovations in the food processing sector.
“… A lot needs to be done as the FSSAI has created environment of fear in the industry. It needs to streamline its regulations…Provisions as its steps are stopping innovations in the processing sector,” Badal said at a conference organised by the CII.
“Without mentioning the big elephant in the room of food processing industry, the FSSAI, I would say that a lot needs to be done to remove the recent road blocks or I would say fear psychosis in the industry,” the Minister added.
Last month, FSSAI had banned Nestle’s Maggi saying it was ‘unsafe and hazardous’ after tests found presence of Monosodium glutamate (MSG) and lead above permissible limits.
Following the Maggi fiasco, FSSAI ordered testing of noodles, pastas and macaroni brands such as Top Ramen, Foodles and Wai Wai sold and manufactured by seven companies, to check compliance with the norms.
The growth of food processing sector is very vital as it ensures food security and better remuneration to farmers for their produce, the Minister said here.
Badal also said that the government is keen and committed to promoting the growth of domestic food processing sector.
The Union Minister said that a task force has been formed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on her request for the growth of the sector. The task force will also look into the regulatory issues.
The task force would analyse various existing impediments and bottlenecks and provide expert guidance on key policy interventions to her ministry and states also, she added.
“I would even create a special committee within my ministry, with the representatives of the CII and the respective state heads in this task force as the members, in order to resolve the issues and help the food processing industry realise its desired potential,” the Minister said.
FSSAI is established under the Food Safety and Standards Act and comes under the purview of Health Ministry.
It has a mandate to look into the quality standards of food articles and regulate their manufacture, storage, sale and import to ensure availability of safe and wholesome food for consumption.