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NITI Aayog Proposes Single National Body For Food And Drugs Like US FDA

Niti Aayog, the government’s advisory body, has proposed creation of a single body as regulator for drugs and food. Currently drugs is being looked after by the CDSCO while FSSAI is the apex food regulator.

According to reports, the Niti Aayog has recommended that the new body should be in line with the US FDA and headed by an IAS officer of the rank of additional secretary to the Government of India’s Ministry of Health.

In principle nod
The report suggests that the idea mooted by the Niti Aayog has been tabled before the Prime Minister’s Office, which in principle has agreed to it.

Officials with the Niti Aayog state that the restructuring of the regulatory bodies is an important step in streamlining of the work and coordination on ground, as matters related to food and drug at many levels overlap like nutraceuticals, health foods, dietary supplement, special food and food for medical purpose.

Streamline food safety
Meanwhile, it is pertinent to mention here that the Parliamentary Committee on Health last year suggested a uniform mechanism to streamline the matter related to food safety by means of a single body.

The committee noted that there was no uniformity in the food safety infrastructure across the country. Some states do not even have a food safety department and a food safety appellate tribunal. The food testing laboratories lack functional equipments as well as technical manpower. This inadequate arrangement has failed to control food adulteration in the country.

“Therefore the committee recommends removal of this existing inconsistency and introduction of a uniform structure across the country. The Central government should work in cooperation with the state government to establish a uniform food safety regulatory regime in the country. It is also very important for the food testing laboratories across states/UTs to follow uniform procedure/methodology and guidelines so that consistent results are obtained,” the committee recommended.

Industry wants single window
As for the industry, it is of the view that it’s a good proposal but it should be more comprehensive. Amit Lohani, convener, Federation of Indian Food Importers, says that it should be a “real world of single window.”

Lohani said that if such a decision is taken by the government, the federation would welcome it. But the single body should be unanimous when it comes to food, which is currently looked after by different departments or ministries. Like BIS and Legal Metrology come under consumer affairs department while the main body dealing with food safety and standards, FSSAI, comes under Health Ministry.

He added that FSSAI has become a more stable organisation now and BIS, Legal Metrology should come under it.

“Creation of a single body to look after the affairs of drugs and FSSAI will help in streamlining of many of the processes currently being looked after by different ministries or departments.-Fnb News

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