A two days Workshop on “Educational Framework for Human Resource Development in Food Safety Sector was organised by Food Safety and Standards Authority of India(FSSAI) in collaboration with Indira Gandhi National Open University on 3rd and 4th November 2011. Experts from varying fields attended the same. The Workshop was held under the Chairmanship of Shri V.N. Gaur, CEO, FSSAI.
The main focus of the Workshop was to meet the human resource requirement of the Food safety Sector so as to ensure the availability of safe and wholesome food to the consumer. The safety of Food from Production to Sales lies with the Food Business Operators (FBO’S) responsibility under the new law.
Hence there is a need for large number of qualified personnel with different skill sets for different industries, labs, auditing agencies, and regulators. To meet the requirement of the various stakeholders in different parts of the country, there is a need to plan courses in a coordinated manner by the Universities and other educational institutions etc.
The Workshop brought all the stakeholders at one platform to discuss as to how meet the objectives, to identify the required skill sets for different stakeholders, determine the levels of courses need to be taken up for particular sectors.
The workshop implied focus on framing the structure and modalities to develop Food Safety Professionals, who will be competent in planning, developing and implementation of Food Safety and Quality Management aspects at National level.
Based on the criteria discussed in the workshop conceptual educational frameworks for Food handlers, Food analysts and Food auditors have been proposed. Various features including identification of Food Safety Professionals required in the food chain, Standardization of competencies, Development of curriculum/ Training packages, Delivery of training packages through training providers, Development of norms for training providers and evaluators and Institutional mechanism for testing and certification of Food handlers, Food analysts and Food auditors have been discussed.
Generic issues such as Accreditation of training providers, Assessment and certifications, fee share and funding mechanisms were also included. Similarly type of educational programme, level of food handler, type of analysts, eligibility criteria, and duration of the programme, design and development of the curriculum were addressed in the specific issues through Presentations and group discussions.
This was first ever direct interaction between the regulator, academia industry and auditing agencies to focus on a 10 year human resource development perspective plan. A major outcome of the workshop was a consensus on greater partnership in developing human resource between academia & the industry. There was also a consensus on the approach to the certification of qualified personnel on the basis of competitive testing through a accredited agency rather than relying only on classical approach of awarding diploma & degrees FSSAI will take further action to take the necessary recommendation to its logical conclusion.