Laboratories Ecosystem

FSSAI Role Function and Initiative – is the most important topic as per FSSAI Exam 2021 syllabus. in this post, I am providing “A General Understanding of FSSAI Role, Functions and Initiatives” detailed Notes and this is the Next chapter –Laboratories Ecosystem.

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NABL

  • National Accreditation Board for testing & calibration Laboratories (NABL)
  • It is a constituent Board of Quality council of India.
  • Objectives: to provide government, industry association and Industry in general with a scheme for third – Party assessment of the quality and technical competence of testing and calibration laboratories.
  • In order to enable global acceptance of its accredited Conformity Accreditation Bodies (CABs), NABL maintains linkages with the international bodies like international laboratory accreditation co-operation (ILAC) and Asia Pacific Accreditation Co-operation (APAC).

Type of Food Laboratories

1. Primary Food Laboratories

The food authority notifies food laboratories and research institutions accredited by the National Accreditation Board for Testing and calibration Laboratories or any other accreditation agency for the purposes of carrying out analysis of samples by the food Analysts. 142 at present are the total NABL accredited Food Laboratories in India.

2. Referral Food Laboratories

The Food Authority recognizes referral food laboratories for the purposes of carrying out analysis of appeal samples. Presently there are 19 referral food laboratories.

3. National Reference Laboratories

FSSAI has recognized National reference laboratory (NRL) to set up a countrywide standard for routine procedures, validation of such standard procedure/testing methods, development of new methods, development of new methods, and ensuring proficiency in testing across the food laboratories with special reference to the risks of food categories. Either a primary food laboratory can be considered for declaration as an NRL. Presently there are 12 NRLs and 2 ANRLs.

State Food Laboratories

FSSAI felt a responsibility to improve the state food testing laboratories. It has taken 1 SFTL from each state and 2 SFTLs of Large states to improve their equipment and technologies. There is a total of 45 SFTLs all over India.

As per July 2021 data, a grant of 13.90 Crore has been given to each SFTL. Except this, FSSAI also provides trained manpower for the utilization of sophisticated test equipment.

Mobile Food Testing Labs

  • Also called Food Safety on Wheels (FSW).
  • Launched date – December 2017, Goa
  • Motive:
    1. To reach out to consumers for Food Safety, Training & Awareness generation.
    2. To make available Food testing to remote areas.
  • There is total 60 FSWs & 95 Modified FSWs.

FSWs would be utilized for executing the functions:

(i) surveillance and creating awareness regarding the food safety in remote areas in the State, large public congregations, schools, and consumer organizations; (ii) transporting samples picked from remotes areas to the nearest food testing laboratory; thus as a cold chain logistics for regulatory/ surveillance sample (iii) As an offsite wing of Labs, (iv) Education of the consumers in various aspects of food safety laws and common hygiene practices (v) As a module for communicating IEC materials in vernacular languages, (vi) As a handy tool for training street food vendors, (vii) Providing information and support for licensing and registration (viii) Training and/or awareness programs for plantation workers about food safety, (ix) on the spot test facilities for qualitative adulteration of common food items like ghee, milk, khoya, sweets, edible oil, spices, water & other beverages non-permitted food colours in various foods like cereals, pulses, namkeens, prepared foods, etc.

Referral Labs

  • Recognised by FSSAI
  • 19 at present
  • FSSAI provides one time grant
  • Functions are:
    1. Analysis of Food Samples and Submission of certificate to the authorities concerned.
    2. Investigation for the purpose of fixation of standard of any article of food.
    3. Follow the Scientific protocols laid down for handling or testing of food.
    4. Maintain accuracy, reliability and credibility.

FSSAI has three food laboratories of its own:

National Surveys

  • Food Authority shall maintain a system of control and other activities as appropriate to the circumstances, including public communication on food safety and risk, food safety surveillance and other monitoring activities covering all stages of food business.
  • Active National Surveys are –
    1. National Milk Quality Monitoring System
    2. Packaging survey by NTH (National Test House) & IIP (Indian Institute of Packaging)

RAFT

  • Rapid Analytical Food Testing
  • It may be a kit or equipment or method for the purpose of food testing approved by fssai. It meets the requirements of the Food Safety and Standard Regulations and is validated against International Standards.
  • The purpose of the approval by FSSAI to Rapid Analytical Food Testing (RAFT) Kit/Equipment/Method is to facilitate carrying out on the spot field testing by Food Safety Officers (FSOs) or Mobile Testing Labs or to improve speed and reduce testing costs in food laboratories. The rapid food testing kit or equipment or method ensures “faster, better, cheaper” real-time testing of food. The rapid food testing kit/equipment/method are better in terms of their size, faster in terms of their total run time and cheaper in terms of cost-effectiveness as compared to conventional methods. The rapid food testing kit/equipment approved by FSSAI is to be used for screening and surveillance purposes only.

INFoLNET – Indian Food Laboratory Network

INFoLNET is a web-enabled system connecting all the food laboratories in the country to build a repository of lab test reports. It gives access to FSSAI as well as non-fssai approved laboratories to publish their test reports online for all types of samples namely compliance, surveillance, enforcement, import & citizen in real-time so that this information is readily available to FSSAI for their verification and analysis. It has online as well as offline versions and caters to mobile labs also.

  • INFoLNET will have a network of labs connected to a centralized system called Lab Management System (LMS). LMS acts as a backbone of INFoLNET.

INFoLNET Benefits

  1. Availability of test data on real time basis for
    • Risk Analysis
    • Risk Profiling of products, locations, FBOs
  2. Uniform parametric testing across all facilities for all products
  3. Knowhow of Lab capabilities and identification of need for capacity building, re-skilling etc.
  4. Better surveillance planning
  5. Improvement in product standards based on historic trends of test data
  6. Transparency in sampling procedure
  7. Need analysis of Lab requirement at a particular geographic location for particular food product, testing facility etc.

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FSSAI Role Function and Initiatives complete notes

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