Nagaland's Food Safety Commissioner, Y Kikheto Sema, has raised a red flag regarding the pressing issue of sub-standard food items flooding into the state from Myanmar. Urgent action is needed to tackle this growing concern and ensure the safety of the people. Speaking at the 40th national meeting of the central advisory committee of the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) in New Delhi, Sema emphasized the gravity of the situation.
With an extensive international boundary shared between Nagaland and Myanmar, the influx of adulterated, misbranded, and sub-standard food products has become a cause for alarm. Sema stressed the need for immediate measures to address this issue, which poses risks to public health and consumer well-being. The geographical challenges and inadequate road connectivity in remote areas of the state compound the problem by hindering the timely sending and receiving of food samples for testing, resulting in delays in taking appropriate legal action.
Sema shed light on the existing infrastructure limitations in Nagaland. Currently, there is only one state public health laboratory, established in Kohima back in 1983. This laboratory, notified by the FSSAI under the Food Safety and Standard Act, 2006, and accredited by the National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories, is responsible for food certification and chemical testing in accordance with the globally recognized ISO/IEC 17025:2017 standard.
Recognizing the invaluable support and guidance provided by the FSSAI, Sema appealed for their assistance in establishing five basic food laboratories across the state. These additional facilities would help meet the demand for food testing and ensure the effective implementation of food safety standards throughout Nagaland. Furthermore, he requested the provision of five modified food safety on wheels (MFSWs), commonly known as food testing mobile vans. The existing three MFSWs are insufficient to cater to the state's needs, making the expansion crucial to address the prevailing challenges.
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