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FSSAI launches initiatives for food business operators, consumers, citizens
Thursday, 18 May, 2017, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Ashwani Maindola, New Delhi
The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), at a programme in New Delhi, launched initiatives for food business operators (FBOs), consumers and citizens.
 
In its quest to build an ecosystem for large-scale trained FBOs, the apex regulator launched the Food Safety Training and Certification (FoSTaC) programme.

“This is a unique participatory programme designed to enhance public awareness and simultaneously train food safety supervisors in a premise dealing with food, who will then train food handlers along the food chain on food safety issues,” said Pawan Kumar Agarwal, chief executive officer, FSSAI.
 
It has 19 short courses, ranging from basic and advanced to specialised courses for street food vendors, restaurants chefs, caterers, FBOs and the general public. About six or seven of these courses are ready to roll.
 
These courses will be delivered through training partners, such as academia, industry, FBOs and government departments.
 
FoSTaC allows for a systematic online registration system that is easily accessible and provides certification for those who have completed the training.

It will eventually host e-learning courses that will be available to all and raise the food standards of food businesses by several notches.

The second initiative was for consumers.
 
“Being a smart consumer is a cornerstone of ensuring food safety. Consumers have the right to be informed and educated and exercise their rights,” Agarwal said.

“In order to empower consumers on all issues pertaining to food safety, FSSAI launched a Food Smart Consumer Portal, the first of its kind in India,” he added.
 
The FSSAI chief explained that this is an exclusive interactive portal dedicated to educating consumers to make smart, informed choices, whether they are buying raw food, processed food or eating out.

It has a quiz, comprising ten questions, that allows the public to test whether they are smart consumers.

This portal also provides consumers a forum to express their views, ask questions and register their complaints.
 
Agarwal said, “FSSAI is working towards strengthening its consumer grievance redressal system.”

“A Guidance Document for food handlers and regulatory staff was also released. Consumer guidance notes on issues they are confronted with on a daily basis were also made available,” he added.

FSSAI also launched its Safe and Nutritious Food (SNF) initiative, which takes a citizen-centric approach to transformative social and behavioural change.

It reaches out to people everywhere, in their homes, workplaces, schools and when they eat out.
 
“The SNF portal would function as an online resource centre containing information on all these initiatives with access to resource materials developed by FSSAI, interactive guides on understanding food safety and nutrition and a gateway for everyone to participate in these initiatives through partnerships,” stated Agarwal.
 
The regulator also unveiled two mascots for safe and nutritious food, focusing on children and school-goers.

To engage children, FSSAI has created safe and nutritious food mascots Master and Miss Sehat, who are superheroes.

In the coming months, workshops, theatrical plays and activations of these mascots will be conducted throughout India.
 
A report focusing on the work done by FSSAI since its inception, which has become noticeable in 2016-2017, was released by Amitabh Kant, chief executive officer, NITI Aayog.

Present were Ashish Bahuguna, chairman, FSSAI, and several stakeholders from industry and government.
 
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