Gujarat, Kerala and Tamil Nadu top FSSAI's State Food Safety Index

Gujarat, Kerala and Tamil Nadu top FSSAI's State Food Safety Index

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has announced the results of the third State Food Safety Index (SFSI), which assesses states' performance across five food safety metrics.

The report was launched during a ceremony at the FSSAI headquarters in the presence of Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare Mansukh Mandaviya, who also congratulated the top states and union territories.

Gujarat was the highest-ranking state among the major states this year, followed by Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Goa was first among smaller states, followed by Meghalaya and Manipur, while among Union territories, Jammu and Kashmir, the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, and New Delhi all took the top spots.

According to the FSSAI, the State Food Safety Index is released annually based on the states' overall performance during the previous fiscal year in order to foster a healthy competitive environment conducive to meeting the Food Safety and Standards Act's objectives of safe food availability for the general public.

States are evaluated on a variety of criteria, including human resource and institutional data, compliance, food testing infrastructure and surveillance, training and capacity building, and consumer empowerment.

To maintain comparability among similar entities, the FSSAI classifies states into three categories (Large States, Small States, and Union Territories).

“Each category was assessed and evaluated separately by teams comprised of outside food testing specialists, food and nutrition professionals, and FSSAI officials. The teams analysed the information collected and also communicated with states via web meetings,” said Arun Singhal, FSSAI's CEO.

The inaugural State Food Safety Index for 2018-19 was released on June 7, 2019, to coincide with the first-ever World Food Safety Day.

Meanwhile, Mandaviya stated on the occasion that creating an ecosystem of safe and healthy food requires the collaboration of all stakeholders, including the government, industry, and consumers. He recommended that a stronger emphasis on consumer awareness was necessary to ensure that food safety results in favourable health effects.

“To achieve the FSSAI's objectives, concerted efforts from all stakeholders are required, and the food safety ecosystem should be viewed holistically, with everyone understanding their role and responsibilities,” he said, adding that the FSSAI's approach should be that of a facilitator, and that punishment was not the only option.