To improve Food Safety Frameworks, FSSAI under Section10, 16 (1)(i) (c) and 18(1) (2) (b)(c), has established a Risk Assessment Cell. The RAC will carry out functions of risk assessment to support risk management and risk communication. Broadly, a risk assessment will be done for products, processes and activities that could result in an increase in a health risk and for anything that might have a direct effect on food safety.
RAC will provide an effective framework for determining the relative urgency of problems related to food safety and the remedial measures to reduce or control these risks. It will be working on identification of the hazards that cause food borne health problems, in a variety of ways including, the data collection on contaminants and adulterants in food categories through laboratories, research & development projects (Pull and Push type), lack of compliance data with regards to standards, labelling and other issues. Once the areas of concern are identified it justifies the need for risk analysis.This will later help in developing and improving the present food safety system including the regulations, developing science based standards, food safety policies, laboratory analysis, and epidemiological surveillance.
The food hazards identified can be numerous and all cannot be addressed at the same time by the Authority, RAC will be working on ranking the hazards, to determine which area of concern needs to be addressed first and establishing the priorities, based on public health as well as economic and social aspect of the risk, for management. The aim should be how to reduce the risk, protect the trades associated with the risk and protect international trade practices.
Objectives of Risk Assessment Cell (RAC)
Methodology (Risk Assessment process)
Risk assessments are resource-intensive, data-driven activities designed to provide risk managers with the ability to consider a range of mitigations that are intended to improve public health.
There is no one way to perform the food safety risk assessment and it varies according to the nature of the risk, the availability of data and other scientific evidences to answer specific risk management queries.”
Currently, efforts are being made for pooling/ sourcing of scientific data from research institutions, export agencies, and other government organizations at national level. The data collected would be helpful in carrying out risk assessment and surveillance plans.