India pips China, Japan in food safety confidence: study


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New Delhi (PTI): Indians are more confident about food safety levels than most Asian nations, notably China and Japan, a study said, even as the second most populous country gears up for a drastic revamp in its safety standards.

"Indian consumers are most confident about food safety levels in the country, vis-a-vis Asian counterparts," said a study by Singapore-based Asian Food Information Centre (AFIC).

Interestingly, the survey pointed out that 84 per cent of Indians are ready to purchase biotech food such as tomato, food staples and cooking oils.

"It is encouraging to note that 84 per cent of Indians are ready to purchase bio-tech food .... This is good for India as the government considers crop biotechnology as a strategic element to increase productivity of food," AFIC Executive Director George Fuller said here today.

India has so far not approved commercial production of any genetically-modified (GM) food products. Only Bt Cotton has been allowed for commercial output while Bt-brinjal is undergoing field trials.

The study assumes significance, especially in view of the fact that the approval for GM crops in India has always been a controversial matter, with organisations such as Greenpeace India voicing concern about various safety-related and other issues allegedly associated with such products.

The government, too, has been more vigilant than ever about food safety norms. Already, concerned over the existence of fake and adulterated food products, the Food Safety Standards Authority (FSSA) with the Ministry of Health is preparing a draft guidelines, expected in a month.

FSSA Chairman P I Suvrathan has said suitable laws would be brought in to even force a recall of contaminated products.

The country has also decided to put in place a mechanism, possibly by 2010, to scrutinise all imported items to avoid the inflow of any contaminated products.



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