State labs in poor condition: FSSAI

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Food safety regulator FSSAI CEO Pawan Kumar Agarwal today said food testing labs at state level are in poor condition and serious efforts are being made to strengthen them by providing financial help and capacity building training.
At present, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has total 62 labs spread across the country. Out of which, only 10 are accredited by the National Accreditation Board for Testing & Calibration Laboratories (NABL). The private sector has 150 labs which are all NABL accredited.
"Of course, we continue to face problems with the poor quality of state labs for good reasons perhaps. We are trying to improve these labs," Agarwal said after exchanging the memorandum of agreement (MoU) with AOAC International here.
Sharing about the state labs, Agarwal said, "The condition of many of the government labs are not up to the mark as they are still working under transition position."
The FSSAI has decided to strengthen 45 state government labs with financial and capacity building training.
"A significant headway has been made in that, though more rapid progress is required. We have already supported 22 labs and getting more states and more labs on board is now a challenge," he noted.
Since some of the states do not have private lab capacity, the FSSAI CEO said, "The lab capacity even in the private sector in most of North east, Jharkhand, Bihar and Uttarkhand is very poor. That’s why we are pursuing state governments to upgrade their labs."
The FSSAI is also pushing the balance 52 government labs to get the NABL accreditation in a year or so.

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