Odisha ranks 13th in National Food Safety index for 2019-2020: Official

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Bhubaneswar, Dec 16 (PTI) With different food safety measures being implemented in the state, Odisha's ranking in the National Food Safety Index has risen to 13th position for the year 2019-2020, a top government official said on Wednesday.

Chief Secretary A K Tripathy said this while chairing the state-level food safety advisory committee meeting which was held on digital mode.

Earlier the state's ranking in the National Food Safety Index was 26, he said.

The chief secretary directed the department to intensify food safety awareness among the people and food business operators (FBOs).

He also directed strengthening of surveillance measures. 'With increasing population in cities and growth centres, food safety has become more critical both from the viewpoints of individuals and public health', Tripathy said.

He directed the state police to mainstream the drive against adulteration in their work schedule. Food safety officers were asked to increase their field visits and inspections.

Proposals like intensifying the surveillance, increasing the number of food testing laboratories, involving private labs in food testing, food fortification measures and others were deliberated in the meeting.

The chief secretary directed the Health and Family Welfare department to constitute one technical committee for working out the methods for extending the outreach of food testing activities by leveraging the existing labs of different departments and universalities.

It was also decided to include food safety chapters in academic curriculum at different levels, he said.

Commissioner Food Safety, Yamini Sadangi said that Odisha was adjudged at 5th position nationally in conducting high risk inspections through application of mobile app technology.

The State food Testing Laboratory has enhanced its capacity for meeting the requirement of National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratory (NABL) and has also applied for its registration, Sadangi said.

Online system for registration and licensing of FBOs has already been rolled out resulting in enhancement of revenue generation. Sadangi said. 'Revenue generation increased to around Rs 7.70 crore in the 2019-20 fiscal from Rs 2.18 crore in 2018-19 fiscal thereby recording a growth of around 82 per cent', the food safety commissioner said.

She said there had been a steady increase in the number of registered and licensed FBOs in the state over last four years. The total number of registered FBOs increased from 5,026 in 2016-17 to 57,827 in 2019-20. PTI AAM RG RG