Overhaul testing procedures

It is important to get at the truth of the recent tests that upended a few products
The Union minister for food processing is worried about the “food inspector raj” having an adverse impact on the government’s much vaunted “Make in India” initiative. Of greater concern is reassuring the people of India that they are not poisoning themselves slowly, or harming themselves constantly, by eating packaged foods that contain harmful substances, like lead, beyond permissible limits. The call for transparency in food safety measures does, however, make sense because there have been incredible variations in the test results in the famous case of a popular brand of noodles. While negative results from some labs in India were alarming, others passed the same product, although the batches would have been very different. What made the testing more piquant is the made-in-India noodles of the MNC passed tests in Singapore, the UK and Canada.
We must aim for a common yardstick for testing of all food products, be they from multinational or Indian companies and whether bought in ritzy malls or kirana shops. The results cannot vary so much as to cast a doubt on the methods of testing, if they are modern and sophisticated enough to cover so many thousand products. The basic problem is, however big the company, the main objective is to maximise profits, apart from sub-objectives like customer satisfaction. While investor sentiment should hardly matter when it comes to food safety, it is important to get at the truth of the recent tests that upended a few products. While the population’s health is the primary concern, we should not lose sight of the fact that the Indian testing machinery as it exists needs a thorough overhaul.
( Source : deccan chronicle )
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