CSIR and FSSAI sign MOU for R&D regarding food and nutrition

The Union Minister for Health & Family Welfare, Science & Technology and Earth Sciences, Dr. Harsh Vardhan addressing a press conference on the updates and preparedness on Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), in New Delhi on March 04, 2020.

Dr Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare today presided the signing of MoU between Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) under Ministry of Health & Family Welfare and Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR) under Ministry of Science & Technology, in the presence of Sh. Ashwini K. Choubey Minister of State (HFW), here today. The MOU aims towards collaborative research and information dissemination in the area of food and nutrition.

Congratulating both FSSAI and CSIR for this innovative step that will merge the potential and faculties of both the premier organizations, Dr Harsh Vardhan stated that this MOU will enable identification of technologies and programs to be developed in the area of food safety and nutrition research, along with recognition of innovative technologies available with CSIR for deployment by the Indian businesses and/or for regulating compliances. It will also seek collection of data regarding food consumption, incidence and prevalence of biological risk, contaminants in food, identification of emerging risks, their mitigation strategies and introduction of rapid alert system. The two organisations will collaborate towards strengthening the quality assurance of laboratory network across the country aimed at development and validation of methods for reliable reporting on quality and safety of food products, he stated.

Speaking on the MoU signed between FSSAI and CSIR, Dr. Harsh Vardhan said “The MoU is a very significant step that will create a brighter future for India seeking collaborative research and information dissemination in the area of food & nutrition, and food and consumer safety solutions in India. The collaboration between these two premier institutions of India will contribute in fulfilling the vision of New Food System 2050.”

Dr. Harsh Vardhan also congratulated FSSAI on being selected as one of the ten global organizations for the award by Rockefeller Foundation, SecondMuse, and OpenIDEO for the ‘Eat Right India’ movement. The award recognizes organisations that have developed an inspiring vision of the regenerative and nourishing food system that they aspire to create by the year 2050.  Dr Harsh Vardhan stated that the award is a strong recognition of FSSAI’s holistic and path breaking approach towards food safety and nutrition. It also provides the vision for its growth path, he added. He said that “the vision of Health for All can be achieved through the twin measures of ensuring physical exercise and choosing nutritious food in our daily lives. The ‘Eat Right India’ vision is about creating a culture of safe, healthy and sustainable food involving all stakeholders and leveraging technology in food production, processing, distribution, quality and traceability and to empower consumers to adopt right eating practices”.

Dr. Harsh Vardhan highlighted that the envisioned new food system of 2050 will see a surge in demand for healthy, nutritious, plant-based, local, seasonal and indigenous foods, produced organically. He said it will also see an enhanced focus on climate-friendly food production systems, conservation of land and water resources, reduction in food loss and food wastage across the value chain, increase in small scale production units for self-sustaining local economies, use of environment friendly packaging alternatives, repurposing of waste.

Shri Ashwini Kumar Choubey congratulated the recipients of the highly respected Rockefeller Award. He said “The movement envisioned by India will lead to a revival of traditional Ayurvedic wisdom in ancient food practices, a variety of new employment opportunities to bring these measures into practice and support local and rural economies, particularly for women bringing about economic growth and gender equity.” The MoU with CSIR will enable FSSAI to identify existing and novel technologies and programs, collect data regarding food consumption, incidence and prevalence of existing emerging risks, develop a rapid-alert system and strengthen the quality assurance laboratory network for this purpose”, he added.

Sh. Shekhar C Mande, DG-CSIR, Sh. Arun Singhal, CEO, FSSAI and other senior officials of FSSAI and CSIR were also present at the occasion. Dr. Amulya K. Panda, Dr. Sudesh Kumar Yadav of Center of Innovative and Applied Bioprocessing (CIAB, Mohali), an autonomous body under DBT, Dr. Addanki Vamsi Krishna, Scientist, DBT; and Directors of CSIR labs; Shri KMKS Raghava Rao, Director, Central Food Technological Research Institute (CFTRI, Mysore), Dr. Alok Dhawan, Director, Indian Institute of Toxicology Research (IITR, Lucknow), Dr. Sanjay Kumar, Director, Institute of Himalayan Bioresource Technology (IHBT, Palampur), Dr. Ayyappanpillai Ajayaghosh, Director, National Institute for Interdisciplinary Science and Technology  (NIIST , Thiruvananthapuram), and Dr. Narahari Sastry, Director, North East Institute of Science and Technology  (NEIST, Jorhat) joined the meet digitally.