The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) introduced the State Food Safety Index (SFSI) four years ago to encourage enhancements in food safety. The latest data reveals that in 2023, 19 out of 20 major states have witnessed a decline in their SFSI scores compared to the scores from 2019. After considering a new parameter introduced in the 2023 index, 15 out of 20 states registered lower scores in 2023 when compared to 2019.
GS II: Polity and Governance
Dimensions of the Article:
- State Food Safety Index (SFSI)
- Key Highlights of the SFSI 2023
State Food Safety Index (SFSI)
- The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has the responsibility of ensuring public health and food safety at a national level, but food safety also needs to be upheld by individual state apex food safety authorities.
- To motivate and incentivize states and union territories (UTs) to enhance food safety within their jurisdiction, the FSSAI releases the State Food Safety Index (SFSI) annually on World Food Safety Day, June 7th.
- The SFSI is a dynamic assessment model that quantitatively and qualitatively evaluates food safety across all states and UTs in India.
- The first SFSI was launched on June 7, 2019, based on information submitted by the states and UTs.
Parameters of the SFSI
- SFSI scores, issued annually since 2019, are graded out of a maximum of 100 points. These scores are computed based on five parameters, each carrying a different weightage.
- The five parameters include ‘Human Resources and Institutional Data,’ ‘Compliance,’ ‘Food Testing Infrastructure,’ ‘Training and Capacity Building,’ and ‘Consumer Empowerment.’
- The 2023 SFSI introduced a new parameter, ‘Improvement in SFSI Rank,’ which evaluates the change in each state’s ranking compared to the previous year.
Key Highlights of the SFSI 2023:
Significant Decline in Scores:
- Maharashtra witnessed the most substantial drop in SFSI scores over five years, falling from 74 out of 100 in 2019 to 45 out of 100 in 2023.
- Bihar also experienced a significant decline, scoring 20.5 in 2023 compared to 46 in 2019.
- Gujarat’s score dropped from 73 in 2019 to 48.5 in 2023.
Food Testing Infrastructure Parameter:
- This parameter evaluates the availability of adequate testing infrastructure with trained personnel for food sample testing in each state.
- The steepest decline was observed in this parameter, with a reduced weightage of 17% in 2023 (compared to 20% in previous years).
- Maharashtra’s score plummeted to 4 points out of 17 in 2023 from 17 points out of 20 in 2019.
- Gujarat and Kerala performed best in 2023 with 13.5 points out of 17, while Andhra Pradesh was the lowest performer.
- Given the highest weightage of 28% in 2023 (compared to 30% in previous years), this parameter assesses aspects like licensing and registration of food businesses, inspections, and special initiatives.
- Jharkhand scored the lowest in compliance with 4 points out of 28 in 2023, while Punjab and Himachal Pradesh achieved the highest score with 18 points each.
Consumer Empowerment Parameter:
- Given the second-highest weightage of 19% in 2023 (compared to 20% in previous years), this parameter evaluates a state’s engagement in consumer empowering FSSAI initiatives.
- Bihar’s score in this parameter decreased to 1 point out of 19 in 2023 from 7 points out of 20 in 2019.
- Tamil Nadu was the top performer in this parameter in 2023, scoring 17 out of 19, followed by Kerala and Madhya Pradesh with 16 points each.
Human Resources and Institutional Data Parameter:
- This parameter was assigned the third-highest weightage of 18% in 2023 (compared to 20% in previous years).
- It assesses the availability of human resources such as Food Safety Officers, Designated Officers, and adjudication and appellate tribunals in each state.
- States like Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh, which excelled in 2019 with 17 points out of 20, received significantly lower scores in 2023 (10.5 and 9.5 points, respectively).
Training and Capacity Building Parameter:
- This parameter, with the lowest weightage of 8% in 2023 (compared to 10% in previous years), showed notable improvement.
Improvement in SFSI Rank Parameter:
- With a weightage of 10% in 2023, 14 out of 20 large states received 0 points in this category.
-Source: Indian Express