The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has inaugurated the third National Food Laboratory at Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) Nhava Sheva in Navi Mumbai, in presence of Rita Teotia, Chairperson, and Arun Singhal, CEO, FSSAI, recently.

This is the third lab which will be now operated along with two existing national laboratories, namely National Food Laboratory (NFL) currently operational at Ghaziabad and Kolkata. Dr Vasi Reddy, chairman, Vimta Labs Ltd, Harita Vasireddy, MD, Vimta Labs Ltd, and a number of partners and stakeholders from the scientific community, food businesses, importers and corporates also participated in the inauguration function.

National Food Laboratory, Ghaziabad, is being run in PPP mode, while NFL, Kolkata, is being operated by FSSAI. NFL, JNPT, has come up in a Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) mode with Set up, Operate and Transfer (SOT) model. It is the first such initiative in the food laboratory, while the PPP partner in which only the space has been provided by FSSAI for establishing the food laboratory and the PPP partner is responsible for meeting the capital and operational expenditure. Part of the revenue generated through testing of samples will be shared with FSSAI.
Vimta Labs Ltd, a reputed name for testing in the field of food and drugs will be the PPP partner responsible for operating the NFL at JNPT. The same model has been worked out at the Chennai Port Trust (CPT), and the laboratory at CPT will run by National Commodities Pvt Ltd (NCML). With this, FSSAI will have its own laboratories in East, West, North and South of India. These are apart from more than 200 NABL accredited FSSAI notified laboratories that form the National food testing network.

National Food Laboratory, JNPT, is located on an area of 11,873 sq ft at the ground and first floor of Trainees Hostel Building in JNPT Township, Navi Mumbai. The lab is a well furnished lab with state-of-the equipment required for sample preparation, basic food testing and contaminants and adulterants. The laboratory has high end equipment with the latest technologies and facilities to conduct chemical and microbiological analysis as per global accreditation standards for testing and calibration. The laboratory has the capability to analyse up to 9000 samples/month.

National Food Laboratory, JNPT, will be applying for NABL accreditation under the FSSAI-NABL integration assessment category, initially for eight food product categories and will subsequently apply for enhanced scope of testing based on the number and type of samples. It is expected that the laboratory will obtain the NABL accreditation by the end of November 2021 and become fully operational immediately thereafter.