Understanding Food Safety
There has always been a strong focus on nutritional aspects of food. But with the increase in the amount of processed food on our plate, food safety is becoming equally critical. To understand food safety, it is critical to understand hazards.
Hazards are things that can have an adverse effect on human health if consumed. These can be either
- Physical (glass, stones, metal filings)
- Chemical (pesticides, drug residues, additives)
- Biological (bacteria, viruses, parasites)
Food Safety Management Systems are designed to take all factors into consideration and put checkpoints in place to ensure that the hazards are controlled and any failure is detected and flagged.
Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) brought in the much need regulation in India with the Food Safety and Standard Rules 2011. These rules specified the steps that companies and food businesses need to take, in order to guarantee safe food. Here are the 6 things you should know:
- The rules apply to all the stakeholders, namely the manufacturer, the marketer, the transporter, the importer and the warehouse. It covers all the people in the food business right from the small food vendor to large corporations.
- Unlike the earlier acts, like the PFA, which talked about punishments and penalties which could be levied after the act was committed, the FSSR detail out systems and process that businesses should follow to reduce the incidents
- FSSAI is the unified and sole agency for regulating and monitoring all types of foods, all the way from drinking water up to nutraceuticals
- Any consumer may send the food for analysis to an accredited lab and obtain a report if they suspect of an issue with the food. If the article of food is adulterated / misbranded / contaminated or does not conform to the standards prescribed under the Act or the Regulations, the Purchaser shall be entitled to get a refund of the fees paid by him
- Penalty for manufacturing or selling unsafe food can attract imprisonment up to 6 years and fine and life imprisonment in severe cases. Penalties and Fines applicable to anyone involved in the manufacture, sale, storage or distribution of the above mentioned.
- If you have an issue or concern about the food, you can log a complaint on the web or using the Food Safety Voice App on Android device. You can also reach the FSSAI at the Toll Free number 1800112100.
We realized the need for implementing pro-active measures in the food industry, in line with the global standards and setup Quality & Food Safety Consultants in 2009 with the objective of increasing the resource pool by re/training professionals in this space as well as growing the resource pool available to the industry. We have been working on grooming people within our company to gain expertise in this field and build their careers around food safety. Through our consulting services, we are able to make our expertise available to our clients as and when they need.
We bring a variety of knowledge from design to implementation and monitoring. It starts with incorporating food safety into design, such that implementing systems and processes becomes seamless and continues with the operational teams, to help them ensure food safety by increasing their awareness through trainings, setup SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) and identify critical control points that need to be monitored. All this can lead to certifications like HACCP, ISO22000 which are a great way to convey the quality to the consumer and build consumer confidence
If you work with food and would like to understand more, you can reach us at email@example.com. For interesting updates on food safety, do like our page facebook.com/qafsc or follow us on twitter.com/qafsc
Ramesh Agarwal is a Director at QAFSC.