The government will soon introduce in Parliament an amendment bill that aims to revamp the functioning and jurisdiction of Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), Health Secretary Sudhansh Pant said on Tuesday.
The health ministry has proposed several amendments to the Food Safety and Standards (FSS) Act of 2006. The ministry had sought public comments on the draft amendments in September 2020.
"We hope we will very soon be able to introduce the food safety and standards (amendment) bill (in Parliament)," Pant, who is also chairperson of FSSAI, told media on the sidelines of the 'Eat Right' Summit here.
The proposed bill will bring reforms in the functioning of the FSSAI, he said.
The Food Safety and Standards (FSS) Act was passed in 2006 but the regulations were notified only in 2011. Since food sector is unorganised in the country, the amendment bill aims to strengthen the FSSAI with more powers to ensure food quality norms are complied with.
Speaking about millets, also known as 'Shri Anna', the secretary said the bill will not come in the way of promotion of millets as the FSSAI has already framed adequate quality standards for 14 millets including bajra.
"Adequate quality standards are in place for promotion and consumption of millets," he said, and stressed on the need to promote millets as they have nutritional benefits.
FSSAI is promoting millets as part of its 'Eat Right' initiative and tied up with the defence ministry and several other central ministries. Millet-based canteens are now set up in eight AIIMS and several government hospitals, he said.
The secretary also suggested the FSSAI to promote setting up of millets-based stalls as part of food street project to further expand awareness about nutrition-rich food items among people.
Speaking on the occasion, FSSAI CEO G Kamala Vardhana Rao said millets which can be grown in less water have high nutritional value and can help address hidden hunger in the country.
India is the only country in the world, which is working on a mission mode to promote cultivation and consumption of millets, he added.
Herballife India Senior Vice President and Managing Director Ajay Khanna said the company is committed to helping tackle India's growing nutritional challenges.