Food Safety Index was created in the year 2018 with the intention to bring about a positive impact on the food safety ecosystem in India. Here is the Judging Criteria of the Food Safety Index.

What is State Food Safety Index (SFSI)

The State Food Safety Index (SFSI), which was developed in collaboration with the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), evaluates the performance of States and Union Territories on food safety parameters. The FSSAI said that the Index was created to motivate the states and Union Territories to improve their performance and work towards establishing an appropriate food safety ecosystem.

The Index is a continuously evolving benchmarking model that is both qualitative and quantitative that offers an objective framework to assess the food safety of all States and UTs.

Expert teams analyze the data obtained and engage with the states and Union Territories using videoconferencing to verify and confirm the information.

Why Was The Food Safety Index Created

Food Safety Index Food Safety Index was created in 2018. It was designed with the intention that it would bring about an effective and positive impact on the food safety ecosystem in India. Another reason why this decision was made was that it would encourage States and Union Territories to take action towards providing food safety to the people. The FSSAI’s most recent and 4th State Food Safety Index (SFSI) was announced on June 7, World Food Safety Day.

Judging Criteria of Food Safety Index

The state’s reputation is judged based on five criteria of food safety: human resources, institution data and food testing facilities, compliance capacity and training and empowerment of consumers.

A) Human Resources and Institutional Data (weightage 20 percent)

With a weightage of 20 per cent, this criteria measure the availability of human resources available including the numbers of health and safety officers, the functioning of the state and district level steering committees as well as the facility of designated officers of appellate and adjudication tribunals, the duration of cases and their supervision and participation and participation in the food authority’s Central Advisory Committee meeting.

The aim is to assess whether there is a strong environment and culture of enforcement proportional to the population and size of the State/UT and the participation of other departments and parties in the food safety activities on both the State and district scales.

B) Compliance (weightage 30 percent)

With the highest weightage of 30 percent, the measurement is the most significant and provides a measure of the coverage of food-related businesses in registration and licensing “commensurate with size and population” of states’ special events and camps, annual growth, and promptness in the issuance of state-issued licenses. Speedy response to customer complaints and accessibility of assistance desks and portals fall under this category.

This parameter also considers the quality of inspections conducted for high-risk food businesses via FoSCoRIS and the number of samples gathered for testing. Speedy response to consumer complaints and the accessibility of helpdesks and online portals are also analyzed in this regard.

C) Food Testing (Issue and Surveillance) (weightage 20 percent)

With a weightage of 20, it measures the accessibility of testing facilities that have trained personnel to conduct tests on samples. It considers the accessibility and utilization of mobile labs for food testing and the registration and usage of the Indian Food Laboratories Network.

This parameter measures the quality of testing facilities with skilled personnel in the States and UTs to test food samples. The States and UTs equipped with NABL accredited laboratories and sufficient laboratory personnel are scored more on this measure. The effectiveness and availability of Mobile Food Testing Labs and registration and use in InFoLNet (Indian Food Laboratory Network) are also considered in this regard.

D) Training and Capacity Building (weightage 10 percent):

This parameter is based on the weightage of 10% and is used to measure the performance of training and capacity development of the staff of the regulatory department.

This parameter focuses on the training and building capacity of regulatory personnel (Dos as well as FSOs) and the number of trainings conducted within FoSTaC (Food Safety Training and Certificate) as well as the presence of Food Safety Supervisors who have been trained in food-related businesses throughout the State and UT.

E) The Consumer Empowerment (weightage 20 percent)

This parameter carries a weightage of 20% and evaluates the states’ performance on consumer empowering initiatives of the FSSAI. States’ initiatives to raise awareness about consumer issues are also evaluated by this measure.

It also assesses the numerous initiatives of FSSAI that empowers consumers, such as the participation of Food Fortification, Eat Right Campus, BHOG (Blissful Hygienic Offering to God) and Hygiene Rating of Restaurants, the Clean Street Food Hubs and many more. Furthermore, the actions taken to include food fortification in the open markets, safety net programs and the accessibility of products that are fortified across every district are considered. State-sponsored initiatives to increase consumers’ awareness of the market are taken into account.

In addition, based on the fact that similar States should be compared to ensure comparability among similar entities for the generation of States/UTs under SFSI, the States/UTs are classified into three categories: Large States, Small States and UTs for the evaluation and assessment.

The SFSI is released every financial year. The latest SFSI was released on June 7 — World Food Safety Day — for the 2021-22 fiscal. This is the fourth SFSI since its inception in 2018-19.

Image by aleksandarlittlewolf/Freepik

ALSO READ: