In a significant achievement, Jammu and Kashmir has maintained its first rank in the UT category in Food Safety Index 2022-23.
The Department of Food and Drugs Administration, J&K received the award third time in a row for 2021, 2022 and 2023.
The index is released annually by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) to measure the performance of states and UTs on various parameters of food safety. The award was received by Food Safety Commissioner Shakeel-ul-Rehman from Dr. Mansukh Mandaviya, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare, in presence of Dr. Bharati Pravin Pawar and Professor Satya Pal Singh Baghel, Union Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare, Chairman FSSAI, Rajesh Bhushan and CEO FSSAI, G. Kamala Vardhana Rao.
The Jammu and Kashmir also won first prize for having maximum number of Eat Right Mela districts in the country. These districts have implemented various initiatives of FSSAI to promote healthy and safe food habits among the consumers. This reflects the commitment and dedication of UT administration and the public towards ensuring food safety and hygiene in Jammu and Kashmir.
The Food Safety Index is a dynamic quantitative and qualitative benchmarking model that provides an objective framework for evaluating food safety across all States/UTs. The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) began the State Food Safety Index evaluation process for 2022-2023 by undertaking correspondence with Food Safety Commissioners of all UTs/States to furnish the data for statistical evaluation. The critical indicator on the basis of which evaluation is done included Human Resource, Compliance Levels, Food Testing Infrastructure and Surveillance, Training and Capacity Building besides Consumer Empowerment.
The award has been conferred for exemplary performance in implementation of FSS Act, 2006 as well as Ear Right initiatives in the financial year 2022-23, under which the department has conducted 29342 inspections, tested 11848 legal samples, filed 1606 prosecutions, imposed penalty of Rs. 14805850/-, compounded 774 cases with a fine of Rs. 1104300/-, and conducting 11380 testes, 155 trainings, 414 awareness programmes through Mobile Food Testing Vans.
J&K has also got special recognition in implementing Eat Right initiatives including 162 License/Registration melas, 43 FoSTaC training programmes, 588 certifications under Hygiene Rating of Hotels, Restaurants, Dhabas, Meat Shops and Sweets Shops, 50 Certifications under Eat Right Campuses, 07 Certifications under Eat Right Places of Worship, 15 Certifications under Eat Right School and lifting of 16998 Kg of Used Cooking Oil from the Food Markets for its diversion for biodiesel manufacturing.
Commissioner FDA, J&K, has attributed the award to selfless and committed efforts put in by the functionaries of the department who are empowered to perform statutory duties under FSS Act, 2006 Rules and Regulations made there under, in the UT. He has acknowledge the overwhelming support provided by Government of UT of J&K and FSSAI in terms of capacity building by providing sufficient financial assistance to the department for supporting the cause to ensure food safety and healthy food practices.
He enjoined upon the stake holders including Food Business Operators, consumers, civil society and aligned departments to join hands towards achieving the objective of a healthy nation.