On the 28th of February, a seminar about food safety in fruit and vegetables took place in New Delhi. This seminar was part of the PIB HortiTechIndia and was collaboratively organized by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) and the NVWA. In addition support was provided by the agricultural attache of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the Indian branch of the AOAC.
Topics of the seminar
India is the world’s second largest producer of vegetables, and the Netherlands is the second largest exporter of vegetables. The FSSAI indicated to see great opportunities for Dutch expertise to be applied in improving the production and processing of fruit and vegetables in India, as well as in reducing post-harvest losses and food tampering. The largest risks to public health identified by experts were pathogens and chemical contamination in fruit and vegetables. Indian policies, such as the pesticide regulation which is up for review, and the FSSAI’s ‘Eat Right’-campaign which brings multiple stakeholder together to improve safety, health and sustainability in food, were further explained. Some of the themes that the FSSAI addresses in this programme are artificial ripening and hygiene assessments of mandi’s (rural markets).
According to the Indian retail, it is the vast amount of small-scale production and limited production volumes that hamper traceability. In contrast GrapeNet, an ISO-accredited pre-shipment inspection programme, is a promising example which is now also being developed for pomegranates, peanuts and okra. Speakers at the seminar also pointed out the certification programme for grapes without residue, which are sold at a premium price on the Indian market. Combined with consumer awareness such an approach could provide the necessary incentives to improve the fruit and vegetable value chain and lead to increased food safety and traceability measures.
For more information please see the following brochure.