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Cutting wastage part of 100-day agenda: Food minister Chirag Paswan | India News


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New Delhi: Union Minister and LJP (Ram Vilas) Chief Chirag Paswan addresses a press conference, in New Delhi, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (Photo: PTI)

The Union government will work towards reducing wastage of perishable food items and focus on hygiene, quality checks and meeting global standards for processed foods, minister of food processing industries Chirag Paswan said on Wednesday.

Paswan, who took charge a week ago, said reducing wastage of perishable items through methods like cold storage and irradiation is a part of the ministry’s 100-day agenda.

His comments on food hygiene, quality checks and meeting global standards come as the food processing sector remains embroiled in controversy.

Two Indian spices brands – MDH and Everest – were recently in the eye of the storm after food regulators from Hong Kong and Singapore flagged the presence of cancer-causing Ethylene Oxide (ETO) in their consignment.

Products with high sugar content being sold by corporations have been under the scanner too. Bournvita, from the house of Mondelez, ran into controversy in April last year when a social media influencer flagged its high sugar content. Soon after that, Swiss NGO Public Eye alleged that Nestle, the Swiss multinational, was adding sugar and honey to its infant milk and cereal range sold in low- and middle-income countries.

“We frequently interact with industry stakeholders, and they want to adhere to international standards locally too. We need to give them some time to be able to comply. When it comes to exports, there is no option but to comply with these standards,” said Anita Praveen, secretary, ministry of food processing industries, while responding to a question on conducting stakeholder discussions on food standards.

“Sporadic incidents should not be held against companies. FSSAI monitors all adherences to local standards and such instances are rare,” she added.

Paswan and Praveen were addressing the media during the curtain-raiser of the third edition of World Food India scheduled to be held in September.

Talking about the potential of the sector, Paswan highlighted its role in reducing agricultural wastage, promoting value addition, ensuring food security, and strengthening the supply chain from farm to fork.

He also underscored that the food ministry has been implementing schemes like the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Sampada Yojana (PMKSY), Production Linked Incentive Schemes (PLIs), and Pradhan Mantri Formalisation of Micro Food Processing Enterprises (PMFME) to support and sustain growth of the sector.

First Published: Jun 19 2024 | 9:30 PM IST


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