In the recently released FSSAI’s State Food Safety Index 2021-2022, Tamil Nadu secured first place among the states in India, while Gujarat and Maharashtra secured second and third place, respectively.

Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare Dr Mansukh Mandaviya released Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI)’s 4th State Food Safety Index (SFSI) to measure the performance of States across five parameters of food safety. SFSI was started from 2018-19 with the aim of creating a competitive and positive change in the food safety ecosystem in the country.  The index will help in providing safe and nutritious food to our citizens.

Tamil Nadu state food safety commissioner, P. Senthilkumar, who is also the officer on special duty for the state health department, was awarded by Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya. Tamil Nadu received this award based on the state’s overall performance on various food safety parameters.

This year, among the larger states, Tamil Nadu was the top ranking state, followed by Gujarat and Maharashtra. Among the smaller states, Goa stood first followed by Manipur and Sikkim. Among UTs, Jammu & Kashmir, Delhi and Chandigarh secured first, second and third ranks.

Winners Of The Food Safety Index 2021-2022

Tamil Nadu secured the top spot by replacing Gujarat, which holds the second place, and Maharashtra has the third place. In the Food Safety Index 2021-2022, among the big states in India, Tamil Nadu ranked; third, while Gujarat held the top spot, followed by Kerala. Goa secured first place among the smaller states, while Manipur and Sikkim held second and third place. Jammu and Kashmir secured first among union territories, while Delhi and Chandigarh held second and third places. Jammu and Kashmir won last year, while Delhi had the third place.

Table 1: Index Rankings for Large States
1 Tamil Nadu , 2 Gujarat , 3 Maharashtra, 4 Himachal Pradesh, 5 West Bengal, 5 Madhya Pradesh, 6 Kerala, 7 Uttarakhand, 8 Odisha & Uttar Pradesh, 9 Karnataka, 10 Rajasthan, 11 Punjab, 12 Jharkhand, 13 Haryana & Chhattisgarh, 14 Assam, 15 Telangana, 16 Bihar, 17 Andhra Pradesh.

Table 2: Index Rankings for Small States
1 Goa, 2 Manipur, 3 Sikkim, 4 Tripura, 5 Meghalaya, 6 Nagaland, 7 Mizoram, 8 Arunachal Pradesh

Table 3: Index Rankings for Union Territories (UTs)
1 Jammu and Kashmir, 2 NCT of Delhi, 3 Chandigarh, 4 Andaman and Nicobar Island, 5 Ladakh, 6 Puducherry, 7 Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu, 8 Lakshadweep

Judging Criteria of Food Safety Index

The states were judged on five parameters of food safety: human resources and institutional data, compliance, food testing facility, training and capacity building and consumer empowerment.

a) Human Resources and Institutional Data (with 20% weightage)

The objective is to check availability of strong culture and ecosystem of enforcement commensurate with the size and population of the State/UT as well as participation of other departments and stakeholders in food safety activity at State and district levels. This parameter measures the availability of human resources like number of Food Safety Officers, Designated Officers, facility of adjudications and appellate tribunals, functioning of State/ District level Steering Committees, pendency of cases and their monitoring and participationin Central Advisory Committee meetings of the Food Authority.

b) Compliance (with 30% weightage)

This is the most important parameter and measures overall coverage of food businesses in licensing & registration commensurate with size and population of the State/UTs, special drives and camps organized, yearly increase, promptness and effectiveness in issue of state licenses/ registrations. Also, this parameter considers the inspections carried out for high risk food businesses through FoSCoRIS and the number of samples drawn for testing. Promptness in attending to the consumer grievances and availability of help desk and web portals are also examined under this parameter.

c) Food Testing- Infrastructure and Surveillance (with 20% weightage)

This parameter measures availability of adequate testing infrastructure with trained manpower in the States/ UTs for testing food samples. The States/ UTs with NABL accredited labs and adequate manpower in the labs score more in this parameter. The availability and effective utilization of Mobile Food Testing Labs and registration and utilization of InFoLNet (Indian Food Laboratories Network) are also examined under this parameter.

d) Training and Capacity Building (with 10% weightage):

This parameter focuses on training and capacity building of regulatory staff (Dos and FSOs), number of trainings held under FoSTaC (Food Safety Training and Certification) and the availability of trained Food Safety Supervisors in food businesses across the State/UT.

e) Consumer Empowerment (with 20% weightage)

This parameter measures the performance of States/ UTs in various consumer empowering initiatives of FSSAI like participation in Food Fortification, Eat Right Campus, BHOG (Blissful Hygienic Offering to God), Hygiene Rating of Restaurants, Clean Street Food Hubs, etc. Further, action taken for coverage of food fortification in open market, government safety net programmes and availability of fortified products in all districts are taken into consideration. State initiated activities for creating consumer awareness are also considered.

Further, based on the fact that similar States should be compared to ensure comparability among similar entities for the generation of ranks of States/UTs under SFSI, the States/UTs are classified into 3 categories namely Large States, Small States and UTs for the evaluation and assessment.

Why Was The Food Safety Index Created

The Food Safety Index was created in 2018, and it was created with the idea that it would make a competitive and positive change in the food safety ecosystem in India. Another reason this decision was taken was that it would motivate states and union territories to work towards ensuring food safety for the citizens. Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) ‘s 4th State Food Safety Index (SFSI) was also released by Mandaviya.

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