Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Thursday asked global food regulators to keep farmers at centre stage while framing food safety regulations and ensure they get the right price for their produce.
Addressing the Global Food Regulators Summit 2023 here, Tomar said food is a basic right for every person and therefore, it is important to ensure the availability of food and global food safety. The summit is being organised by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) under the Health Ministry.
The minister highlighted that the Indian government has taken many steps to boost production and productivity in the agriculture sector, and the country is a surplus state in foodgrain production.
India also strives to fulfil the requirement of global food demand, Tomar said.
He also emphasised that regulations on processing, packaging and labelling of food products must ensure food safety and said the food regulator FSSAI is doing a great job in this aspect.
The minister told global food regulators that farmers should be at centre stage while framing food safety standards.
He said farmers are food producers and it is essential to ensure that farming is profitable to protect their interests.
While making regulations, Tomar said, it is important to keep in mind that consumers get good quality food products at an affordable price, and also farmers get the right price for their produce.
He made a strong case for promoting the use of millets by highlighting positive attributes of millets like their less water consumption compared to other crops, resilience to adverse climatic conditions and high nutritional value.
Minister of Agriculture and Livestock Development, Government of Nepal, Bedu Ram Bhusal was also present at the event.
Through a recorded video message, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, congratulated the Union Health Ministry and FSSAI for organising this maiden global food regulators summit.
He said, "We must collectively ensure that everyone everywhere enjoys access to safe and nutritious food".
Amitabh Kant, G20 Sherpa, requested the gathering to utilise this platform for learning, strengthening networks to improve food safety and creating a mechanism for investing in food safety in a sustainable way.
Recognising the need to ensure a resilient food supply, he stressed the need to reduce food wastage, utilise digital tools for enhancing food supply and promote the use of resilient food crops like millet.
Principal Scientific Advisor Ajay Kumar Sood urged the participants at the two-day conclave to discuss the potential health hazards of plastic, nutraceuticals and metals in food supply and encouraged them to explore alternatives to single-use plastics, promote circularity in food-grade plastic production and use of sustainable material across supermarkets and take away services.
G Kamala Vardhana Rao, CEO of FSSAI, stated that safe and nutritious food is key to good health, while unsafe food causes 600 million infections and 4.2 lakh deaths every year.
He hoped that this gathering will brainstorm on the critical aspects of food safety and bring innovative solutions to ensure a safe food supply.
The Global Food Regulators Summit 2023 brings together food regulators from around the world to exchange perspectives and knowledge on crucial issues related to food safety systems.
The summit will have various technical sessions focusing on various topics, such as the roles and responsibilities of global food regulators, challenges and solutions for global food safety, robust standard setting, innovation in food emergency response and more.
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