Leading decision makers and change agents from government, the private sector, and multilateral organizations across Asia came together in New Delhi, India on May 17, 2017 as part of a high-level dialogue convened by by the Global Food Safety Partnership (GFSP) in collaboration with the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI).
Nearly 100 participants in the dialogue discussed emerging challenges and opportunities for improving food safety management in the region. Participants agreed that more concerted and coordinated actions are needed to effectively address these multifaceted issues. The dialogue has resulted in the Delhi Declaration of Intent, a commitment among dialogue participants to work collaboratively to strengthen food safety systems in South Asia and act in specific areas including funding and investment, knowledge sharing, public/private collaboration, and capacity building to manage and support the region's food safety systems.
"The purpose of the Declaration is to provide a pathway for achieving safe and nutritious food for all through collaborative actions, including disseminating lessons learned and best practices to inform future food safety capacity building, which we believe can improve public health, facilitate market access, and contribute to enhanced food security across the globe," said Lystra N. Antoine, CEO of the GFSP.
Ashish Bahuguna, Chairperson of FSSAI, noted that "one of the key agenda for FSSAI is to enhance its global outreach with a view to learn from experiences of other countries in food safety and build global trust in India's food sector. We strongly believe in co-creating a sustainable architecture for building strong food safety systems across Asia. We believe that globally there is a need for more informed and cohesive arrangement on capacity building and knowledge sharing on food safety and nutrition. This calls for support from public and private organizations, partners and other international bodies."
Pawan Agarwal, CEO of FSSAI elaborated that FSSAI has made a good progress in terms of food safety capacity building efforts through launch of FosTaC portal that necessitates to have one trained and certified food safety supervisor in Indian food businesses. "We are making a big change with increased focus on building awareness around importance of safe and nutritious food and it's a collaborative approach in making India free from unsafe and adulterated food" he said.
Speakers at the high-level dialogue included:
Mr. Ashish Bahuguna, Chairperson, FSSAI; Mr. Pawan Agarwal CEO FSSAI; Mr. Junaid Ahmed, Country Director for India, The World Bank; Martien Van Nieuwkoop, Practice Manager, Agriculture South Asia, The World Bank; Mr. Nathan Belete, Practice Manager, Agriculture GP, EAP Region, The World Bank; Mr. Prashant Agrawal, Joint Secretary, (SAARC), Ministry of External Affairs, India; Mr. Karma Nidup, Chief Executive Officer of the Food Corporation Limited of Bhutan, Ministry of Agriculture and Forests; Dr. Lakshman Gamlath, Director, Environmental Health, Occupational Health & Food safety, Ministry of Health, Sri Lanka.; Mr. Pramod Korana, Regional chief, Department of Food Technology and Quality Control, Ministry of Agricultural Development, Nepal; Ms. Getup Vermal, Executive Director, HUL Chairman, Confederation of Indian Industries; Dr. Paul Chee King Tien, Food Safety Programmer Chief and Group Director, Laboratory Group, Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority, AVA Singapore; Dr. Mustapha El Hamzaoui, Director, Food Security Office, USAID-India; Mr. Nitin Verma Canadian High Commission in Delhi, CFIA; Mr. Le Minh Tuan, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, International Cooperation Development, Multilateral Cooperation Division, Vietnam; Mr. Rajeev Vigh, Director, UNIDO International Centre for Inclusive & Sustainable Industrial Development; Dr. Henk Bekedem, India Country Representative, World Health Organization; Mr. Sivaramakrishnan Nagarajan, Managing Director, Mother Dairy; Mr. Sanjay Khouri, Sr. VP, Nestle India Limited; Mr. Sanjay Sharma CEO, MTR Foods Pvt Ltd; Mr. Robert Baker, Global Head of Technical Food Safety Development, Mars Incorporated; Mr. Steven Jaffee, Lead Agriculture Economist, Agriculture Global Practice, The World Bank; Dr. Leticia Robinson, Incoming Director, India Office, U.S. Food and Drug Administration; Dr. Paul Young, Senior Director, Waters Corporation; and Mr. Piruz Khambatta, Chairman and Managing Director, Rasna International.