In order to streamline the response towards a food safety emergency in the country, the apex food regulator – FSSAI, has specified the responsibilities of the state food and health authorities under the food safety emergency framework.

The Food Safety Commissioners (FSC) will be responsible for overall governance of the food safety incidents in the state and will have to ensure proper surveillance of food products and provide surveillance report to National Emergency Contact Point (NECP).

Further, the FSCs will also have to ensure appropriate and proper investigations during food safety emergencies and take appropriate action and measures to mitigate it and facilitate coordination with other relevant agencies and organisations or authorities during emergencies.

The FSCs will also have to carry out a post incident review and present it in the Central Advisory Committee (CAC) meeting.

The Designated Officers (DOs) will act as nodal officer in case of a food safety emergency including food-borne illness outbreak and coordinate with the local health authorities. DOs will also nominate Food Safety Officers (FSOs) to be the part of Rapid Response Team (RRT) during food safety incidents.

DOs will also have to take immediate actions and submit an interim report within 48 hours to the FSC and FSSAI.

The FSOs will act as members of RRT, and his primary roles include inspection and investigation of the facilities associated with suspected or confirmed food-borne illness. Further, FSOs have to trace forward and back products with suspected ingredients, take field actions to mitigate incidents under consultation with DOs and FSCs and coordinate with local health authorities and other agencies.

Under the food safety emergency framework, the responsibilities of state and local health authorities were also specified. According to the framework, their role will include collection of food consumption history of patients with food-borne disease and epidemiological data of food-borne diseases, dissemination of information and data like clinical reports or suspected pathogens and suspected implicated foods and so on to the FSOs related to the food-borne illness outbreak and coordinate with state food authority and NECP, FSSAI during emergency.