News: The 4th State Food Safety Index was released recently.
Tamil Nadu deserves credit for finishing at the top among 17 large States for food safety; it was ranked third in the previous edition of the State Food Safety Index.
How have the Southern states fared in the index?
Except Tamil Nadu, there’s nothing for the other southern States to cheer about, despite the region being more advanced than the rest of India in many socio-economic indicators.
– Kerala, which came second last time, is now at sixth spot;
– Karnataka has retained its ninth position;
– Telangana slipped from 10 to 15
– Andhra Pradesh dropped to the last slot from the penultimate slot in the previous edition when 20 States were covered, unlike the 17 now.
Among Union Territories, Puducherry rose from seventh to sixth spot.
In an area such as food safety, States alone cannot make a big difference without the support of the Central government.
Liberal assistance should be provided to the States and Union Territories as far as laboratory infrastructure and improvement of manpower, both technical and non-technical, are concerned.
The private sector should come forward in a big way to have staff trained at their cost and where such persons are used productively for the purpose.
Every stakeholder in the field of food safety should realize is that each one has a critical role to play, and there has to be collective and well-coordinated action.
Source: This post is based on the article “Safe foods: On the need to develop lab infrastructure in States” published in The Hindu on 9th June 22.