In a significant achievement, Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir has maintained its first rank among the UT category in Food Safety Index 2021-22 conferred by Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) to the states / UTs.

Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare, Dr Mansukh Mandaviya presented the award to Commissioner, Food and Drugs Administration, Shakeel-Ur-Rehman in presence of Union Health Secretary and Chairperson, FSSAI, Rajesh Bhushan.

Pertinently, the Index is a dynamic quantitative and qualitative benchmarking model that provides an objective framework for evaluating food safety across all states and UTs. The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India began the State Food Safety Index evaluation process for 2021-2022 by undertaking correspondence with Food Safety Commissioners of all UTs and states and setting a deadline of May 10, 2022 to furnish the data for statistical evaluation. The critical indicators are Human Resource, Compliance Levels, Food Testing Infrastructure and Surveillance, Training and Capacity Building and Consumer Empowerment. The award has been conferred after examining the necessary facts sought from Food Authorities.

The initiatives of J&K department towards implementing Eat Right Campus have been acknowledged at the apex level with appreciation. The enforcement staff of UT certified 143 Food Business Operators including restaurants, hotels, bakery shops and others under Hygiene Rating Scheme initiated by FSSAI by engaging independent auditors duly approved by the said Authority. Besides, 02 Eat Right Campus, 03 BHOG (Blissful Hygienic Offering to God) were among the Institutions which were covered during the said initiative.

In order to sensitize the Food Business Operators, 87 training programs were organized under FoSTaC. About 21,000 Education Institutions were brought under the ambit of Eat Right School Initiative to inculcate the concept of Food Safety among future generations. Besides, 1250 teachers and students have been certified as Health and Wellness Coordinators by FSSAI to help spread the message among students regarding importance and relevance of Eat Right, Eat Healthy and Sustainable Food towards building a healthy nation. In order to promote the concept of Food Fortification, 127 awareness cum educative workshops were organized at District Head Quarters across the UT with active support and participation from FSSAI.

Commissioner has attributed the award to selfless and committed efforts put in by the functionaries of the department who have been empowered to perform statutory duties under FSS Act, 2006 Rules and Regulations 2011, in the UT. He also acknowledge the overwhelming support provided by J&K government and FSSAI in terms of capacity building by providing sufficient financial assistance to the department for supporting the cause to ensure food safety and healthy food practices.

Executive Director, Rajeev Kumar Jain and other dignitaries from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, senior officials from the State Food Safety departments and Municipal Corporations/Smart City Offices, professionals in food and nutrition, development agencies, food businesses and other stakeholders were also present at the event.

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