Thursday, March 4, 2010


Consumers faced with doubts and uncertainties about the quality and safety of foods they consume generally do not have any recourse in addressing their problems. This is all the more true in a country like India where adulterators and black marketeers practically control the food trade. GOI institutions specialized in food related areas have made themselves irrelevant because of their "ivory tower" research with no bearing on the problems of the common man and even if they have the competence to bring solace to the consumer through correct technical advice, the 25 feet gates that secure these institutions are too daunting for any one to attempt getting entry there! Look at a small country like Ireland where an institutional mechanism has been put in place for getting right information on any aspect of foods posed by any consumer.

'The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) dealt with almost 10,000 queries in 2009, it announced today. Of those, 27% were from people reporting issues concerning poor hygiene standards, unfit food and suspected food poisoning. In total, 1,981 complaints from consumers were lodged last year, the FSAI said. The data shows that contamination with insects, hair, pieces of skin, glass and rodent droppings were the most common type of complaints concerning unfit food. "Consumers are more aware of the risk to their health from unsafe food and many calls to the advice line are from people who have eaten in a food premises with questionable hygiene standards or when they feel that they have become ill due to food that they have eaten," said spokesperson Edel Conway".

The "wonder" that India is, also has a glorified institution called pompously as Food Standards and Safety Authority of India (FSSAI), chaired by a retired bureaucrat with no technical insight into any aspect of food, let lone their safety. Except making tall claims and high sounding statements about its intent periodically, very little is being accomplished by this agency as it exists to day. The MFPI, food industry's own ministry at Delhi has no time for any thing except dolling out cash to lobbyists and consultants for preparing vision documents every 5 years while consumer protection seems to be none of its business!. Probably temple "industry" may prosper as increasing number of consumers may seek divine intervention for ensuring their safety from indifferent foods that flood the market.

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