More than 250 samples of imported food consignments were rejected in 2015-16 till January, the Lok Sabha was informed today.
Union Health Minister J P Nadda said a decision has been taken by the government and communicated to Food Safety Authority of India (FSSAI) to introduce risk-based sampling of imported food consignments.
He said 58,920 such samples were collected in 2015-16 till January 31, 2016, while 66,065 were collected in 2014-15.
In 2015-16 period till January 1, 2016, 735 samples were rejected (at the visual inspection stage) while 256 samples were rejected (by notified laboratories).
In 2014-15, 864 samples were rejected at the visual inspection stage while 537 were rejected by notified laboratories.
He said imported food, which do not meet regulatory requirement, is not permitted to enter the market and returned to the customs for disposal.
He said the government, with a view to facilitate speedier trade across borders decided to introduce risk based sampling of import consignments covered under the Food Safety and Standards Act 2006.
He said steps taken for speedier clearance include single window clearance system, operationalisation of pre-arrival document system at IGI Airport New Delhi, Kolkata (seaport and airport), Chennai (seaport and airport) and Mumbai airport.
He said ports where FSSAI officials are not posted as yet, customs officials have been authorised to draw samples from imported food consignments and send them for testing.
Replying to another question, Nadda said there are 168 food testing laboratories, of which 14 are referral ones. There are also 82 national accreditation board for testing and calibration laboratories, he said.