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POLICY & REGULATIONS

FSSAI scouts for experts for scientific committee, panels before July 15
Monday, 17 June, 2019, 14 : 00 PM [IST]
Nandita Vijay, Bengaluru
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The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is now scouting for experts in the food sector to be constituted in its scientific committee and panels. Accordingly, the country’s apex food regulator is looking for suitable professionals/ scientists/subject experts. The applicants must respond before July 15, 2019.

For this, FSSAI has issued an Expression of Interest (EOI) and an application form. The regulator noted that the process of development of standards is driven by the principle of food safety and involves risk assessment. Hence, deliberations by the scientific panels (SPs) constituted for product categories are essential.
 
Dr D B A Narayana, expert member, Indian Pharmacopeia Commission, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, and now member of the expert committee to examine the approval of non-specified food and food ingredients, said that anyone who wants to become a member of a scientific panel will have to apply and show their interest.

Earlier, government officials used to select people whom they desired should be a part of their committees. Now, it is a transparent and open method with a system in place, along with a set procedures to be adhered to.
 
“Persons who want to work in any panel and contribute, will now have to apply through the format. The submissions are evaluated on the criteria of their independence, credibility and also whether they are working in a production plant or in a company,” said Dr Narayana.

“The selection scrutiny is stringent, as FSSAI earlier had indicated that its panel would not have members working in a private company. Therefore, there are decisive factors for selection based on the individual capability, scientific knowledge and experience in other expert committees, where the regulatory authority will  assess their contribution before taking their application into the consideration,” he added.
 
FSSAI is in the process of reconstituting its SC and SPs and looking for suitable individual experts as members for biological hazards, contaminants in the food chain, fish and fisheries products, food additives, flavourings, processing aids and materials in contact with food, functional foods, nutraceuticals, dietetic products and other similar products, nutrition and fortification, genetically-modified organisms and foods, labelling and claims/advertisements, packaging, method of sampling and analysis, pesticides residues, antibiotic residues, cereals, pulses and legumes and bakery products, fruits and vegetables, including dry fruits and nuts, spices and culinary herbs, meat and meat products including poultry, milk and milk products; oils and fats; sweets, confectionery, sweeteners, sugars and honey;  water, including flavoured water and beverages that are non –alcoholic, among others.
 
“The SC and SPs comprise the professionals/scientists/subject experts, who have
acquired knowledge, experience and expertise in the specific domain. Such members may be on the faculty/staff/rolls of universities, academic and research institutions, retired individuals recognised for their expertise in the subject area. However, it may not be feasible to nominate such candidates who are in employment of any industry, as it may be perceived as conflict of interest,” said FSSAI in its communication.
 
FSSAI also noted that this information should be informed to suitable candidates, so that there is maximum dissemination of information and wider participation by the scientific community.
 
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