Hamid Ansari Stresses the Need to Prevent Food Contamination

by VR Sreeraman on Sep 23 2008 6:46 PM

Vice President Hamid Ansari on Tuesday said tackling non-biological contaminants required awareness and interventions across the food-chain with a focus on the management of food safety and quality.

Ansari inaugurated in New Delhi the national seminar on non-biological contaminants in food, feed and their safety standards.

Ansari in his inaugural address said that this was an age of contamination -- of environment, food, water and of most other ingredients essential to human existence.

Terming that man-made contaminants as a matter of growing national and global concern, he said: "Laws regulating the quality of food have been in force in India since 1899. The Government has taken measures to prevent the indiscriminate use of pesticides and fertilizers in agriculture. The use of DDT in agriculture was banned in 1996 and that of Lindane in 1997. Pesticide use has significantly declined from 75 thousand tonnes in 1990 to around 40 thousand tonnes in 2005."

In August 2006 Parliament enacted the Food Safety and Standards Act to eventually replace all existing laws on the subject, he added.

Ansari said that the Government also proposes to establish a new statutory body - the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India - for laying down standards for articles of food and to regulate their manufacture, storage, distribution, sale and import and to ensure availability of safe food for human consumption.

Pointing out that the current year has been declared as ’Food Safety and Quality Standard Year’ with the objective of bringing together the various initiatives of Central and State Governments, he said: "A significant initiative in this regard would be the certification of 10 thousand farmers across the country for ’Good Agricultural Practices’ and for Organic Food."

This would improve the value accrued from agricultural and horticultural produce from the certified farms, he added.