The regulator has invited the top 200 companies by sales to join the platform in the first phase of the self-regulation exercise
Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) chief executive Pawan Agarwal said “The government will establish a self-regulation platform for food companies, retailers stocking packaged food and fastfood restaurant chains. The move will help benchmark them against the best in class, thus raising standards and making companies mindful of rules and consumers. This will encourage healthy competition among companies, retailers and QSR chains and will be an open platform for consumers to see for themselves. The companies will be ranked on basis of their declarations and the platform will also mention names of companies which haven't shared the required information.
Companies such as Hindustan Unilever, PepsiCo, Nestle, Parle Products, Danone, ITC, Patanjali and Mondelez, retailers like Walmart and Future Group, Aditya Birla Retail and Spencer’s Retail and quick service restaurant (QSR) chains including KFC and McDonald’s will be put on an equal self-compliance footing under the plan.
FSSAI’s “food safety and shared responsibility” score will be a publicly accessible online platform for companies to rate themselves against parameters such as compliance with regulations, nutritive content, dealing with consumer grievances, upstream and downstream supply chain capacity and promoting food safety in schools. It’s been dubbed ReFoc for responsible food companies score.
Agarwal also said “By engagement, sharing, cross-learning and healthy competition, we want to raise the bar not only for food safety but make foods businesses more responsive to consumers and government regulation. As we move forward, we will make this matrix more robust.”
The regulator has invited the top 200 companies by sales to join the platform in the first phase of the self-regulation exercise. The FSSAI said it will make public names of companies that don’t want to participate.
Nestle, the country's largest packaged foods maker, welcomed the move and said in a statement “We believe in providing, transparent and responsible communication to the consumers as well as other stakeholders. We welcome initiatives which encourage sharing of information and will continue to engage with all relevant stakeholders on this subject.”
HUL Spokesperson said “This will not only encourage the food business to take full responsibility of food safety but also ensure that regulators can review with consistency the efforts being made by the companies on safety and hygiene”.
Danone India managing director Rodrigo Lima said “Food safety cannot be the responsibility of the regulator alone, self-regulation by food businesses and awareness of consumers will go a long way in creating an atmosphere of trust and quality. This resonates well with our mission of bringing health through food to as many people as possible.”
KFC MD India said “We are committed to contribute to the larger objective of ensuring health, hygiene and safety standards for consumers and proactively working on bringing global best practices and driving knowledge sharing programmes with the regulators”.