The ministry of food processing has decided to set up a task force to help companies cope with the prevailing environment following an order by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India for countrywide recall of Nestle’s Maggi noodles.
“We have set up a task force with the prime minister’s assent to bring the industry’s issues to the table when dealing with the FSSAI. Since the agency is under a different ministry, this step was taken to ensure better coordination,” Harsimrat Kaur Badal, minister for food processing Industries, said on Wednesday.
“The FSSAI’s systems need to be streamlined. It is blocking innovation in the industry. A lot needs to be done with the recent roadblocks causing a fear psychosis in the industry.”
The task force will address issues related to product approval and help understand guidelines. The cell will have officials from the PMO and the ministries of health and food processing.
“The government will ensure an environment in which the industry can progress. The quality of food is extremely important, but the industry’s growth and consumer safety have to work together,” Badal said.
“We are ready to implement corporate farming on a trial basis in Punjab if a model is worked out where the industry acts as a partner, bringing in technology and advanced means of cultivation for large farms, while farmers receive guaranteed incomes and remain the ultimate owners of their land with mitigated risks of losses due to weather,” the minister added.
Last week, while assuring consumers about the quality of Maggi noodles imported from India, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency said, “We are continuing to monitor the situation in India and are working with our international regulatory partners.”
Earlier, the UK Food Standards Agency asked for test reports from the Indian food regulator through “European Commission channels”.
Image: Maggi noodles; Photograph: PTI