Food safety authority to come up with guidelines by July
CSE’s conference on food safety and environmental toxins puts forth action points on a range of issues – pesticides, junk food, organic farming, antibiotics and growth promoters etc
G V Ramanjaneyulu1 Today, our farming and food is full of toxins and synthetic substances in the name of ‘modern agriculture’ and a thrust to increase yields at any cost. The cumulative and synergistic effects of all these products cannot even be estimated by the producers and users. Hundreds of pesticides have been registered in the country over the years even as the government takes years to ban or restrict a handful of chemicals every decade or so.
European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) is assessing the impacts of pesticides and Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) on bee health. A task force under coordination of Emerging Risks Unit (ERU) of EFSA submitted its inventory on its activities on bees on October 30, 2012.
In a bid to modernize the food safety system in the country, the Canadian Government has adopted new food safety Act. The new Act named ‘The Safe Food for Canadians Act’ came into force from November 26, 2012. It will bring all food safety concerns under one umbrella. Earlier food safety in Canada was being regulated under different Acts like Canada Agricultural Products Act, the Fish Inspection Act, the Meat Inspection Act, and the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act.
Food Safety and Standards Regulations came into force in August 2011. It was expected to overhaul the food safety scenario in India. After a year, we wanted to see how much it has delivered. Going through the maximum residue limits (MRLs) of pesticides in the ‘Toxins, Contaminants and Residues’ part of the regulations we found that it was very similar to the earlier version in Prevention of Food Adulteration Act. It prompted us to look for the overall scenario of pesticide regulations from a food safety perspective. What we found was far from satisfactory.