This is summary of my speech from panel discussion conducted by AFST at Fi- India Technical session on 10th Nov 2017, Mumbai
Innovation and Renovation work under the boundaries of cost and local regulation and in current scenario both these limiting factors are very dynamic. Ever since FSSAI came into existence, Indian Food Regulation is undergoing rigorous churning and most of the outcome of this churning is Amrit and very less Halahala. It is quite natural, with every change, there will be some discomfort. But I can at-least say, these changes are very progressive. Few examples can be product approval, proprietary food definitions which brought some discomfort at their initial phase but with the collaboration of regulators and FBOs, things settled down
Harmonization and Globalization of Standards
Today we are working under the leadership who has vision for MAKE IN INDIA. For this vision to become reality, harmonization of standards as per global benchmark becomes imperative.. The way FSSAI is aligning and acting to fulfill themselves to this vision is really encouraging. Being a food technologist as well as a consumer, I would only expect a science based regulation to ensure safe food to each consumers. Science is not static, then why science based standards be static. It should be revisited with time time. Removal of Zn from contaminant list, harmonization of food additives, giving justified space to health and nutraceuticals in the rule book are few commendable steps towards harmonization and globalization of standards
Already FSSAI has started many revisions of standards, and we are confident that they will continue to match the pace of scientific evolution and bring regulatory revolution in India.
I am working on formulation of such food product where I am always on my toes for last 6 months. It is because of multiple changes in different sections of regulation directly impacting our product. . Two big changes are changes in Chocolate standards and changes in dairy standards which seems to be crafted balancing the interests of all the stakeholders.
But when I join these bits and pieces together, I can see an environment where science is prevailing, standards are getting harmonized, business is satisfied, consumers are rewarded, supplier interests are safeguarded and local resources are protected and promoted
Changing regulations sometime also creates confusion at business and at regulator’s end. Sometimes there is misinterpretation leading to impact on business specially where import-export is involved. Proper communication to business and proper training of regulators is only solution to such issues. Redefining standards based on analytical capability of scientific world or upgrading the analytical capability of authorized labs also needs to be taken care of. FSSAI has also taken many concrete steps towards this. Introduction of new NABL accredited labs, formation of board to appoint Food Analysts, taking food and chemistry experts in advisory team, FoSTaC are few examples of such commitment.
Staying abreast of “Generation Z”
It may sound little off-track but, being internet savvy and founder of few websites and apps, I am really impressed by the digital interface and communication of FSSAI. Unlike many Govt Websites, FSSAI’s all digital creations are very professional, user friendly and impressive.
Its not about just being aesthetically attractive, its reflection of vibrancy of leadership of FSSAI, its reflection of the readiness to accept and realign with changing scientific and business environment, its deviation from “tick mark- activity” to “result oriented – activity”