CSE Condemns Industry Inclusion in Apex Food Body
New Delhi, Aug 8 (IBNS)- The Centre for Science and Environment (CSE)
has condemned the 'shocking development' in the newly set up Food
Safety and Standards Authority of India which has inducted as members
in its top scientific panels representatives from the industry which
it seeks to regulate.
Set up under the Food Safety Act, 2006 the authority will be the apex
and one and only food regulatory body in the country. In a clear case
of conflict of interest and industry lobbying, employees of many big
food businesses have managed to sneak into the top scientific committees
and panels of the authority.
These include employees of Coca Cola India, Pespico, Hindustan Unilever,
Marico Limited, Britannia Industries, ITC limited, Nestle India, Hind
Agro Industries Limited and GSK Consumer Healthcare Limited. Intrusion
of industry into the top scientific food regulatory body will destroy
In 2003 and 2006 CSE had released its findings on pesticide residues
in bottled water and soft drinks. CSE had found that food safety in
India was completely compromised and that regulations were non-existent
or poor. In 2004 the Joint Parliamentary Committee had taken cognizance
of CSE's findings on alarming food safety situation in the country
and had asked for a complete revamp of regulations. It was after this
that the Food Safety Act was passed and the authority set up under
"But by including industry in its scientific panels the recently constituted
Authority has lost all credibility and food safety will be further
compromised," said Sunita Narain, director, CSE.
When CSE had released its findings of dangerous levels of pesticides
in soft drinks sold in the market, intense debate had followed on
the issues of food sampling, analysis and food additives and processing.
What is shocking is that soft drink company representatives have been
made members of scientific panels dealing with these very issues.
A general manager of Coca Cola India is a member in the "Scientific
panel for method of sampling and analysis". Another general manager
from Coca Cola and a Vice-president of Pepsico are members of "Scientific
Panel for food additives, flavourings, processing aids and materials
in contact with food". Representatives from Britannia and ITC limited
are member of the "Scientific Panel for pesticides and antibiotic
Most of the representatives of the industry are managers or from managerial
positions. It is shocking that managers and those on managerial positions
have been inducted into these highly technical and scientific panels.
"The Authority is completely compromised. It might as well be buried
before it is born as it has hired out its swanky new offices to the
industry," Narain said.
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