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Oct, 21 2015

FSSAI to come up with new regulations for food security

The Secretary also asked the industry to utilise the Rs 2,000 crore corpus under the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) for lending to food processing industries in mega food parks and designated food parks.

The government will come out with new set of regulations for food product approvals in the next few months, a move aimed at soothing the nerves of food processing industry rattled by the ban on Maggi noodles.

The "right kind" of regulations are being framed that would remove the difficulties faced by food processing industry in getting approvals for launching new products in the market, Food Processing Secretary Ranglal Jamuda said.

"FSSAI is in the process of having the right kind of regulations to set the house in order, in another couple of months whatever difficulty we have in getting product approvals or diversifying products or coming out with new products to fulfill demand in the market, possibly that kind of situation will substantially change," Jamuda said at an Assocham event on 'Financing Food Processing Business'.

"All the operational difficulties that have upset us for last couple of months will be taking good shape," he added.

In August this year, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) decided to engage legal assistance for formulation of regulations, following the judgments of various courts relating to food safety.

After the ban imposed by the FSSAI on Maggi noodles in June, Food Processing Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal had said that the food regulator created an environment of fear in the industry and favoured streamlining of product approval system.

FSSAI had in June this year banned Maggi noodles saying it was "unsafe and hazardous" for consumption after finding lead levels beyond permissible limits.

Nestle India had withdrawn Maggi noodles from the market and challenged the ban in the Bombay High Court.

In August, the court lifted the nation-wide ban imposed by the Indian food regulators on Maggi noodles but ordered a fresh test of samples of the product in three independent labs across India.

Last week, Nestle India had said that all samples of Maggi cleared tests conducted by three laboratories, as mandated by the Bombay High Court. It is now planning to relaunch the product soon.

Yesterday, Karnataka and Gujarat lifted the ban on manufacturing and sale of Nestle India's popular instant food brand, paving the way for Maggi noodles' return.

The Secretary also asked the industry to utilise the Rs 2,000 crore corpus under the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) for lending to food processing industries in mega food parks and designated food parks.

"So far, 7 applications have been sanctioned worth total amount of Rs 255 crore, if we do not utilise this fund by the end of this financial year, it would be very difficult to ask the Finance Ministry to extend this facility in coming years," he added.

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