Food safety regulator FSSAI on December 31 said it will spend Rs 20 crore to procure rapid food testing kits or devices for state-level field officers across the country. So far, the regulator has approved 30 rapid food testing kits/devices, which ensure faster, better, and cheaper real-time testing of food based on the FSSAI regulations finalised this year, it said.
"There is a market potential of Rs 1,000 crore for such kits/devices in India alone. Wider use of rapid food testing kits and devices for food testing would be a game changer for India in 2020 and build greater public confidence in food available in the marketplace," Food Safety and Standard Authority of India (FSSAI) CEO Pawan Agarwal said.
As of now, over Rs 5 crore has been spent on 30 devices which can provide quicker and validated results for tests conducted on different food products such as milk and edible oils, amongst others, he said in a statement.
"The FSSAI would spend over Rs 20 crore and procure rapid food testing kits and devices. These would be provided to field officers through the state governments," he added.
According to the FSSAI, only two out of 30 rapid kits are indigenously manufactured, rest are all imported despite the fact that many research and scientific institutions are engaged in development of such kits and devices.
Steps have been initiated to make these devices available on government eProcurement marketplace (GeM) portal so that further purchase can be made by state governments and local bodies on their own.
The FSSAI has initiated steps so that indigenously developed kits/devices are validated and approved under the FSSAI regulations on a fast track basis, it added.
Aggarwal hoped that various States would also buy such kits/devices from the GeM portal to make them widely available with the enforcement officials.
Once, such kits and devices are widely used for regulatory purposes, food industry would also begin to use them for internal quality assurance and quality control purposes, he said.