Friday, December 25, 2009


The three stakeholders in food related issues are the industry, consumer and the government. Unless there is a harmonious relationship and mutual appreciation of the responsibilities of each one of them, no nation can prosper, irrespective of its wealth and power. If food safety is a major concern even in a country like the US considered richest and most powerful, it is because of mutual suspicion and lack of confidence amongst the stake holders regarding the ability of the system to ensure food safety. Therefore the approach in the UK for voluntary efforts in improving food safety is most refreshing.

"Meat products and dairy foods are key contributors of saturated fat and calories to our diet, the FSA noted. Many savoury snacks have been reformulated to reduce saturated fat recently, but they remain a focus because they are often high in fat and calories. As a result, the Agency is proposing the following voluntary recommendations for industry:* Dairy foods - further promote the supply and sale of 1% fat (or less) milk, reduced-fat Cheddar cheese and lower-fat ice cream.* Meat products - reduce the fat and saturated fat content of sausages, meat pies and pastries.* Savoury snacks - make single packs of 30g or less more widely available and increase promotion of/encourage consumer interest in the smaller pack sizes.* All products - increase marketing efforts towards the promotion of reduced/low-fat options, with particular emphasis on lower-fat spreads.The consultation also covers the scope to amend the legislation on ice cream and Cheddar cheese. The current Food Labelling Regulations do not allow lower-fat versions of these products (below a specified fat content level) to be labelled as ice cream or Cheddar cheese".

Though these guidelines are not intended for mandatory compliance, many major food industry players are reported to have adopted them on their own. This is probably due to the involvement of industry during the process of drawing the guidelines. In India, unfortunately, the attitude is to condemn the industry and treat the manufacturers with contempt for their alleged over focus on profit with no care for the consumer. Unless the industry, government and consumers come together for evolving such guidelines as being followed in the UK, no forceful compliance can work due to the magnitude of the work involved in such a system of safety management.


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