The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has decided to support innovative R&D proposals with respect to food safety and quality control by providing financial assistance to institutes-organisations to undertake research proposals on food safety.
According to FSSAI, this will enable it to generate knowledge that would help in continuously updating and upgrading food safety standards which are compatible with international standards and also to carry out evidence-based studies for improving or building policies. FSSAI has already identified some 14 subjects related to various aspects of food safety.
The subject related to hygiene, traceability, sampling and testing methods, safety aspects of novel foods, study of chemical contaminants, radiological safety of food, toxicology, risk communication, good practices, nutritional composition, food law enforcement, quick testing methods were amongst the other areas identified for research study.
The tenure of a project would be three years for R&D related projects while FSSAI will support the grantee institution for the approved project with a financial aid upto Rs 50 lakh. The projects will be reviewed by the apex food regulator every five years.
An official privy with the development stated that it was part of FSSAI’s effort to streamline the regulatory framework which had accelerated in recent times. “The scheme would help in continuously updating and upgrading food safety standards compatible with international benchmarks and carry out studies for improving or framing policies,” informed a notice in this regard, released by FSSAI.
The apex food regulatory body has urged the eligible organisations including academic institutions & universities, publicly-funded R&D laboratories, both in Central & state governments, in-house R&D units & Scientific and Industrial Research Organisations (SIROs) recognised by Department of Science and Industrial Research (DSIR) and so on to take part in this effort.
The institutions can do projects based on studies and research & development.
Explaining the projects, FSSAI stated that there would be push type projects wherein the body will identify the project based on needs while another is called pull type project wherein the body will indicate the broad areas of interest to the authority and solicit projects.
These projects will be monitored by a three-member committee which will be selected from the scientific panels.