Food ministers from states on Tuesday unanimously demanded the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India be shifted to the ministry of consumer affairs from health and the same should also be the structure in states where the Food and Drug Controller handles matter related to safety of food items.
FDC is headed by a food commissioner, under the administrative control of the health department.
The demand assumes significance in view of the recent controversy surrounding Nestle’s Maggi brand, where in traces of lead and Monosodium glutamate higher than the permissible limit was found in the Maggi noodles packets sold in Uttar Pradesh by the state FDA.
“In most states, the food testing labs are under the jurisdiction of the food and civil supplies department, while issues such as misbranding of food items are directly related to the consumers,” Jharkhand Food Minister Saryu Rai told reporters.
"Hence, we felt that Food Safety Authority in the Centre and Food Commissioners in states should be within the jurisdiction of the Food and Consumer Affairs Department,” he added.
The matter is now expected to be raised with the Prime Minister’s Office as well.
“We have told the food minister to formally send a proposal to the PMO, but if he doesn’t then we as a group might approach him,” Rai said.