NEW DELHI: Kerala has topped the Food Safety Index 2022-23, replacing Tamil Nadu at the number one slot.
Tamil Nadu slipped to third position in the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI)’s 5th State Food Safety Index (SFSI), which was released on Wednesday by Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya on the occasion of World Food Day.
This time, Punjab stood in the second position.
Last year, Tamil Nadu was in the top position among 20 larger states, followed by Gujarat and Maharashtra. In 2020-21, Gujarat was in top position, followed by Kerala and then Tamil Nadu in the third position.
The Food Safety Index evaluates the performance of states and union territories across different aspects of food safety. These parameters include food safety: human resources and institutional data, compliance, food testing facility, training and capacity building, and consumer empowerment.
The index started in 2018-19 and was meant to create a competitive and positive change in the food safety ecosystem in the country. The step was also taken to galvanise states and union territories to work towards ensuring safe food for citizens.
Among smaller states, Goa stood first for the fourth time in a row. It was followed by Manipur and Sikkim. Last year too, these three states were in the same position.
Among Union territories, Jammu and Kashmir, Delhi, and Chandigarh secured first, second and third ranks. This is the third time Jammu and Kashmir has secured first position. Last year too, the three UTs had secured the same positions.
Mandaviya also honoured the winners of the Eat Right Challenge for Districts - Phase II.
These districts showcased outstanding efforts in implementing plans to improve the food environment and raise awareness about food safety.
Most of the districts with exceptional results were located in Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra.
Out of the 260 participating districts, 31 successfully achieved a score of 75% or higher.
Mandaviya also announced that 25 lakh food business operators will be trained by FSSAI, a statutory body established under the Food Safety and Standards Act,2006 (FSS Act), in ensuring healthy and nutritious food to the people, in the next three years to ensure that food quality standards are met across the country.
He also announced the setting up of 100 Food Streets across the country which meet the quality benchmark for food safety, hygiene, and nutrition. “Food quality is a part of wellness,” he added.
In setting food safety standards for the country, the minister said “We should look at our own traditions, and heritage in terms of diet, lifestyle, seasonality of food products, so we can set our own food standards in the world.”