SWOT Analysis of Indian Food Quality Assurance Systems

Strengths

• The Food Safety and Standards Act (FSSA), 2006, plays a vital role in providing information to consumers via food articles’ labels

  • • The law effectively speaks about good manufacturing practices and sanitation aspects (Schedule 4) for food, including big, medium and small industries, vendors or Indian people employed in confectionery and sweet-making activities (halwais)
  • • The FSSAI runs scientific panels with proper documentation for approval of health and nutrition claims
  • • The law encourages food enterprises to apply HACCP or follow food processing control points based on HACCP approaches.

Weaknesses

  • • The FSSA, 2006, does not discuss the use of lands for forestry in the densest way, as the demand for cost-effective organic farming. Different Ministries and Departments are involved in the development of organic food, but coordination among them could be improved
  • • Separate laws (other than FSSA, 2006) exist for ‘street foods’ or the informal food sector. Despite the follow-up of sanitation aspects in Schedule 4, the formal food sector could use non-organic raw materials, synthetic preservatives (within certain limits), fat, sugar and salt
  • • Theoretically, a ‘junk’ food leading to imbalanced diet with non-organic nature and synthetic preservation can make a nutrition claim
  • • Only a few officials are committed to food processing control activities.

Opportunities

  • • The food quality assurance system is expanded with reference to the number of accredited laboratories, organic certification bodies and campaigning organisations for public health concerns
  • • The awareness about food safety and foodborne diseases has been increasing, thanks to the media. The theme of food safety and quality has attracted a few writers who regularly contribute to food journals.

Threats

  • • Primary food safety issues or public health requirements could be highlighted better
  • • Due to the low literacy rates (particularly in rural areas), people’s access to food and health journals/magazines/television channels is limited. Some writers exaggerate food-related issues, and some do not consider them while writing on food products.
 
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