Jammu & Kashmir achieves milestone of NABL Accreditation of Food Testing Laboratories

Srinagar : In a significant development, Food Testing Laboratories of Jammu and Srinagar have joined elite list of prestigious institutions of the country engaged in analytical work of food & food products by achieving NABL accreditation as mandated under Section 43 of Food Safety & Standards Act 2006.

National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL) a constituent board of Quality Council of India (QCI) under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry has granted accreditation in accordance with ISO/IEC 17025:2017 to Food testing laboratories of Jammu and Srinagar under chemical testing for quality assurance.

In this regard, Food Safety and Standard Authority of India (FSSAI) in the year 2016 had advised all the States and UTs to initiate the process of NABL Accreditation. The Apex Authority on 18.12.2020, after reviewing the progress of the States and UTs in this regard had de-notified a number of Food Laboratories of various States and UTs including the Food Testing Laboratory Srinagar for the want of NABL Accreditation, though the basic documentation of both the laboratories had been done. Consequently, the food samples lifted by the Food Safety Officers in Kashmir valley during market inspections since January 2021 had to be referred to Food Testing Laboratory Jammu for analysis.

Commissioner Food & Drug Administration in a statement released to the media said that the Department without the assistance of any Consultant since 2019 mobilized all the resources & manpower to get NABL accreditation of Food Testing laboratories Jammu and Srinagar. A team of in-house experts, both from Food and Drug Wings of the Department was constituted by Commissioner Food & Drug Administration in consultation with Financial Commissioner, Health and Medical Education Department. The progress on this account was reviewed on weekly basis by Commissioner FDA and monthly by FC Health and Medical Education,” it added.

Giving further details it was revealed that the Food Laboratory Jammu was granted NABL accreditation in the month of March 2021 while the Food Laboratory Srinagar has been accorded NABL accreditation recently on 22nd May, 2021. “The NABL certification has been achieved in a record time in the prevailing pandemic situation, as food testing is an essential part of the Food Safety ecosystem to assure that the food conforms to the prescribed legal standards and is safe to consume.

This accreditation certification will enable the food regulatory mechanism in Jammu & Kashmir to deliver quality service in the interest of consumer safety & public health to achieve the goal of adulteration free and disease free society. This will also improve the sampling and inspection system at the grass roots level to meet quality aspects & necessary standards of Food Safety in the interest of public health,” Shakeel ur Rehman, Commissioner Food & Drug Administration said.

The Commissioner Food & Drug Administration appreciated the efforts of the expert committee and other officers of the department associated with the exercise. He specifically lauded the guidance provided by Financial Commissioner, Health & Medical Education, Atal Dulloo and said that sufficient financial & logistic support was provided by FC Health for up gradation of the existing Food Testing Laboratories in terms of infrastructure, equipment and manpower to match the testing standards & requirements as mandated under the provisions of Food Safety & Standards Act 2006, to bring it at par with the leading testing and research institutions of the Country.