G Kamala Vardhana Rao, Chief Executive of the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), revealed that unsafe food is the leading cause of a staggering 600 million infections and 4.2 lakh deaths annually. He made this announcement during the inaugural Global Food Regulators Summit 2023, where food regulators from around the world gathered to discuss and strengthen the regulatory frameworks throughout the food value chain.
The summit’s primary goal is to establish a global platform for food regulators to exchange perspectives and ideas on enhancing safety measures worldwide.
During the event, Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya emphasized the crucial connection between safe food and good health. He stressed that balanced, safe, and nutritious food serves as preventive care, ensuring the overall health and well-being of individuals. Mandaviya highlighted the importance of addressing issues related to food grains, food safety, and food security to foster global sustainable development.
Recognizing the diverse agro-climatic characteristics of different geographical regions, Mandaviya emphasized that a one-size-fits-all approach cannot be applied to food safety protocols. He urged participants to explore how regional diversities can be incorporated into global best practices to optimize safety standards.
Moreover, the health minister called for collaborative efforts among countries to combat the global problem of food shortages. He stressed the need for joint solutions to address this pressing issue.
In a video message, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), emphasized the collective responsibility to ensure that everyone worldwide has access to safe and nutritious food. He underscored the importance of a concerted effort to achieve this vital goal.
During the summit, two significant initiatives were unveiled. The first was the launch of Food-o-Copoeia, an online guide prepared by global food regulators that captures requirements related to quality, safety, labelling, claims, documents, regulations, prohibitions, and other aspects for specific food products. The guide aims to streamline and harmonize food safety standards across jurisdictions.
The second initiative introduced a common digital dashboard platform for food regulators. This platform will facilitate the sharing of information, data, and best practices among food regulators globally, promoting greater collaboration and coordination in ensuring food safety.
Overall, the Global Food Regulators Summit 2023 served as a crucial step in enhancing food safety measures and fostering global cooperation in securing access to safe and nutritious food for all.