Regulatory bodies need to be more vigilant to ensure food safety, quality: FSSAI chairperson

Regulatory bodies need to be more vigilant to ensure food safety and quality, Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) Chairperson Rita Teaotia has said.

Inaugurating the fifth session of the Codex Committee on Spices and Culinary Herbs (CCSCH) on April 20, Teaotia described the risk of unscrupulous and intentional adulteration of spices through substitution due to their high economic value. 

“This economically motivated adulteration is a major malpractice and we need to be extremely vigilant, particularly in the regulatory space to avoid such practices,” she said. 

It is important to have harmonised Codex standards for spices products in global trade and this is a work that needs the highest priority to ensure the safety and quality of the spices and culinary herbs being traded across the world, Teaotia emphasised.

“The regulatory bodies need to be more vigilant to ensure food safety and quality,” she said.

The session was attended by nearly 300 experts from 50 countries. 

Guilherme da Costa Jr, Chair of Codex Alimentarius Commission, said it is essential to develop and disseminate Codex standards to ensure the safety and quality of food for everyone, everywhere.

To develop and expand worldwide standards for spices and culinary herbs and to consult with other international organisations in the standards development process, CCSCH was formed in 2013 with support of more than 100 countries, with India as the host country and Spices Board India as the secretariat for organising the sessions of the committee. 

In its past four sessions, the committee has developed and finalised standards for four spices — dried or dehydrated forms of  black/white/green pepper, cumin, thyme and garlic. 

Set up in 1963, the Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC) is an intergovernmental body established jointly by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO), within the framework of the Joint Food Standards Programme to protect the health of consumers and ensure fair practices in the food trade.