When the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India published their 2022 index to put into action the food safety movement, reports indicated 15 out of 20 major states to have low scores compared to 2019, when it was first introduced.
In what has been a stark decline from the initial FSSAI food safety reports of 2019, major states like Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Bihar, among 15 other states have scored low on the food safety index. As one of the states that have suffered a steep descend, Maharashtra scored a measly 45 out of 100 compared to the 74 it scored in 2019 – the year where the parameters for the index were first introduced. This was followed by Bihar which scored a 20.5 compared to its 46 point score in 2019 and Gujarat that scored 48.5 compared to its 73 points in 2019.
Some of the parameters for marking the states on the food safety index include compliance, consumer empowerment, food testing infrastructure, human resources and institutional data, training and capacity building as well as a brand new parameter – improvement in SFSI (State Food Safety Index) rank. In the previous annual report, Tamil Nadu ranked the highest among the large states whereas Goa lead the ranks among the small states, followed by Manipur and Sikkim.
The major states scored low particularly in the parameter that assesses ‘Food Testing Infrastructure’, where the average score for these regions dropped to 7 points out of 17 this year, compared to the 13 out of 20 in 2019. While the new parameter introduced in 2023 aimed at mapping an improvement in each state’s rank from the previous year, most states failed to match up to standards, barring the sole exception of Punjab, which had an improved score of 57.5 compared to the 47 in 2019.