Coordination Committee of Food Processors of Kashmir (CCFPK) has accused enforcement agencies of misusing Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) law and abusing their discretionary powers against Valley’s food processors. They also accused media of resorting to yellow journalism.
According to a statement, the Valley’s leading food processors held an extraordinary meeting on April 7, 2016 and deliberated upon the recent development vis-a-vis food processing industry in general and the milk processing sector in particular. The meeting also expressed concern over the section of print media dealing the matter in ‘casual manner’.
It said the delegates of the leading food processing units had a thorough assessment of the recent media reports and the court judgment whereby leading milk processing industry’s operation has been stopped.
It said representatives from leading food industry like hotel and restaurant owners, food processors, milk processors, spices industry, bakery association and packaged water industry who attended the meeting expressed great anguish over the indifferent behaviour by various enforcement agencies.
The food industry said a common Food Business Operator (FBO) is in a state of distrust due to the misinterpretation and misuse of FSSAI law at large and the abuse of the discretionary powers by the enforcement agencies. “This is a matter of great concern for the whole food industry.”
The meeting observed food processors are at the receiving end due to the multiple interpretations of FSSAI norms by a section of media and observations by some ‘so-called’ experts.
“A deliberate attempt is being made just to label us as incapable and dishonest food business operators so as to render us as mere consumers than producers of the food stuff,” the statement said.
It said the media needs to pave way for investigative journalism and discourage the scope for yellow journalism.
The members in the meeting urged media know the other side of the story from the sufferers of the ill-conceived perceptions about food business operators.
Food processors said more than 5 lakh persons are employed, directly or indirectly with the food industry.
“Our contribution to the value addition of our local agricultural production is immense playing a major role in eradicating unemployment among rural educated unemployed youth,” it said.
The food processors questioned a clean chit given to all suppliers and food business operators across the Jawahar Tunnel.
“There can be no scope for double standards when FSSA provides same yardstick for each and every trader.”
During the meeting food processors demanded comprehensive measures for rectifying the damage done by some agencies and also to mobilize the public and media opinion by providing them the factual position based on truth and reality.
The food processors said they would file an RTI in order to get first hand information about the lifting of samples proportionately throughout J&K.
The food processors said they would fight in the court of law.
It said consorted efforts would be made to mobilize the opinion of civil society at large and media in particular though seminars, press conferences, one to one interactions and through social media etc in coordination with the FSSAI authorities.
The coordination committee said being a part and parcel of the society, the food unit holders are fully conscious of their social responsibilities and they owe an allegiance to the society.