The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) released the State Food Safety Index (SFSI) for 2021-22 last week. FE Online looks at how the index rates states and ranks their performance.
WHAT IS SFSI?
The index, developed by the FSSAI, measures the performance of states and Union territories on food safety parameters. The FSSAI said the index was intended to encourage states and Union Territories to improve their performance and build a good food safety ecosystem.
The SFSI is released every fiscal year. The latest SFSI was released on June 7 – World Food Safety Day – for fiscal year 2021-22. This is the fourth SFSI since its inception in 2018-19.
FOOD SAFETY PARAMETERS
The SFSI looks at states’ performance on five key parameters, each with a different weight.
HUMAN RESOURCES & INSTITUTIONAL DATA: Weighing in at 20%, this category measures the availability of human resources, such as the number of food safety officers, the functioning of state/district level steering committees, the facility of designated officers for arbitration and appellate tribunals, dependence on cases and their oversight, and participation in the meetings of the Central Advisory Committee of the Food Authority.
COMPLIANCE: This parameter, with the highest weight of 30%, is the most important and measures the general coverage of food companies in licensing and registration “in proportion to the size and population” of the states, special rides and camps, annual increase, speed at the issuance of state licenses. Speed in handling consumer complaints and availability of helpdesks and portals also fall under this parameter.
FOOD TESTING—INFRASTRUCTURE AND SURVEILLANCE: Weighing in at 20%, this parameter measures the availability of test infrastructure with trained manpower to test samples. It takes into account the availability and use of mobile food testing laboratories and the registration and use of the Indian Food Laboratories Network.
TRAINING & CAPACITY BUILDING: This parameter weighs 10% and measures the training and capacity building performance of regulatory staff.
CONSUMER EMPOWERMENT: This parameter weighs 20% and evaluates the states on their performance in the field of consumer promotion initiatives of the FSSAI.
State initiatives for creating consumer awareness are also measured under this parameter.
HOW STATES ARE RATED
The states and Union Territories are divided into three categories – large, small and Union Territories – and rated within their respective categories according to their performance.
Expert teams examine details received from the States and communicate with the States/Union Territories via video conferencing to verify and confirm the data.
PERFORMANCE THIS YEAR
In the major states category, Tamil Nadu scored 82 out of 100 and topped the SFSI for 2021-22. Andhra Pradesh scored 26 and was at the bottom in 17th place.
After Tamil Nadu are Gujarat (overall score 77.5), Maharashtra (70), Himachal Pradesh (65.5), and West Bengal and Madhya Pradesh (58.5).
Bihar (overall score 30), Telangana (34.5), Assam (35) and Chhattisgarh and Haryana (38) were next to Andhra Pradesh in the bottom five.
Out of the eight small states, Goa scored 56 at the top of the list while Arunachal Pradesh (21) was at the bottom.
Out of the eight Union Territories, Jammu & Kashmir topped the list with an overall score of 68.5, while Lakshadweep (16) was at the bottom. Delhi scored 66 and came in second.