The following 29 States/UTs have State Food Testing Laboratories (SFTLs):
Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Goa, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Jammu & Kashmir, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Manipur, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Odisha, Puducherry, Punjab, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and West Bengal.
These laboratories are under network of Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI).
The following 7 States/UTs do not have State Food Testing Laboratories (SFTLs):
Andaman & Nicobar, Arunachal Pradesh, Chandigarh, Dadar and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu, Ladakh, Lakshadweep, and Mizoram.
The setting up of a SFTL is subject to availability of resources and feasibility.
A Central Sector Scheme for “Strengthening of Food Testing System in the Country including Provision of Mobile Food Testing Labs” has been rolled out by the FSSAI with an outlay of Rs.481.95 crore under which 42 state food laboratories would ,inter- alia, be upgraded (atleast one in each State/UT and two in larger States) with state of the art analytical equipment including establishment of new food laboratories in North Eastern (NE) States, subject to readiness of the State Governments. So far, a total of 38 food laboratories of 29 States/UTs have been taken up for upgradation and a total grant of Rs.280.19 crore has been released. This includes release of Rs.0.50 crore to Regional Public Health Laboratory, Vishakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh.
FSSAI has a provision in its Central Sector Scheme to provide grant-in-aid for setting up of new food laboratories in North-Eastern States subject to readiness of State Governments.
FSSAI recognises and notifies primary food testing laboratories under Section 43 (1) of the Food Safety and Standards (FSS) Act, 2006. It also recognizes and notifies referral (appellate) labs under Section 43(2) of the said Act. At present, a total of 187 primary food testing labs and 18 referral labs have been notified under these Sections. In addition, there are 59 State food testing labs which are notified under transition provision under Section 98 of the FSS Act. FSSAI recognizes and notifies only those food testing laboratories which are compliant to ISO 17025, which is an international standard for accreditation of testing laboratories.
For improvement in the quality of testing, FSSAI is strengthening State/UT Food Testing Laboratories by upgrading them with 3 high end equipments (viz., ICP-MS, GC-MSMS and LC-MSMS)/basic equipments and by setting up of microbiological laboratory. As stated in reply to part (c), an amount of Rs.280.19 crore has been released so far for the purpose. These equipments would enable SFTLs to analyze quality and safety parameters including pesticide residues, veterinary drug residues, contaminants, heavy metals, microbiological contamination in food products etc. and enable them to obtain accreditation from National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL).
Further, FSSAI under its Capacity Building initiative has conducted 8 NABL Awareness Training programs across the country for laboratory personnel/food analysts of SFTLs to acquaint them of the process of obtaining NABL Accreditation.
The Minister of State (Health and Family Welfare), Sh Ashwini Kumar Choubey stated this in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha here today.