In the recently released FSSAI’s State Food Safety Index 2023, based on the performance of the States, Kerala secured first place among the states in India, while Punjab and Tamil Nadu secured second and third place, respectively.
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On World Food Safety Day, Dr. Mansukh Mandaviya, the Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare, unveiled the 5th State Food Safety Index (SFSI). The Food Safety Index evaluates the performance of states and union territories across six different aspects of food safety. The release of this index coincided with the interactive session. Launched in 2018-19, the SFSI aims to foster healthy competition and catalyze positive change in the food safety ecosystem throughout the country, ultimately ensuring the provision of safe and wholesome food to all residents.
Recognizing the achievements of various states and union territories, Dr. Mansukh Mandaviya felicitated the winners based on their rankings for the year 2022-23. Among the larger states, Kerala secured the top ranking, followed by Punjab and Tamil Nadu Among the smaller states, Goa emerged as the leader, followed Manipur and Sikkim Additionally, Jammu and Kashmir, Delhi and Chandigarh secured the first, second, and third ranks respectively among the union territories. Dr. Mansukh Mandaviya also commended states that demonstrated significant improvement in their State Food Safety Index scores.
The general scores and the performance parameters were discussed with States/UTs in the CAC meeting before the release of the index. The validated data was used to generate the ranking of States/UTs based on the Scoring Parameters. The food safety parameters used to evaluate the performance of States/UTs are broadly classified under following significant factors assigned with separate weightage of marks.
Winners Of Food Safety Index-2023
Kerala secured the top spot by replacing Tamil Nadu, which now holds the third place, and Punjab has the second place among the big states. In the Food Safety Index 2022-2023, among the small states in India, Arunachal ranked; first, while Goa held the top spot, followed by Manipur. Andman and Nicobar and Kashmir secured first among union territories, while Chandigarh and Dadra NH & DD held second and third places.
Table 1: Index Rankings for Large States
1. Andhra Pradesh, 2. Assam, 3. Bihar, 4. Chhattisgarh, 5. Gujarat, 6. Haryana, 7. Himachal Pradesh, 8. Jharkhand, 9. Karnataka, 10. Kerala, 11. Madhya Pradesh, 12. Maharashtra, 13. Odisha, 14. Punjab, 15. Rajasthan, 16. Tamil Nadu, 17. Telangana, 18. Uttar Pradesh, 19. Uttarakhand and 20. West Bengal.
Table 2: Index Rankings for Small States
1. Arunachal Pradesh, 2. Goa, 3. Manipur, 4. Meghalaya, 5. Mizoram, 6. Nagaland, 7. Sikkim and 8. Tripura
Table 3: Index Rankings for Union Territories (UTs)
1. Andaman and Nicobar Islands, 2. Chandigarh, 3. Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu, 4. National Capital Territory of Delhi, 5. Jammu and Kashmir, 6. Lakshadweep, 7. Ladakh and 8. Puducherry.
Food Safety Index 2023: Detailed Score Sheet of Large States
Food Safety Index 2023: Detailed Score Sheet Small States
Food Safety Index 2023: Detailed Score Sheet – Union Territories (UTs)
Furthermore, the Union Health Minister honored 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. Remarkably, 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.
Judging Criteria of Food Safety Index
Based on the performance of the States/ UTs in the last financial year, every year FSSAI evaluates the performance of States/UTs on food safety parameters decided by FSSAI. These parameters can be modified every year on the latest activities and initiatives of FSSAI and other unprecedented topics, but the basic parameters remain the same. The evaluation sheet of each State/UT was reviewed by Evaluation Committee constituted for the analysis of the performance.
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.