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Food and Water Safety

    Safety of food and water is a requirement of public health. Safety refers to all those hazards which make food injurious to health. These hazards arise from improper agricultural practices, poor hygiene at all stages of the food chain, lack of preventive controls in food processing operations, misuse of chemicals, contaminated inputs, or inappropriate storage and handling. Specific concerns about food hazards are chemical and microbiological contaminants, biological toxins, pesticide residues, veterinary drug residues, and allergens.  
    On the modernization of food control system, the meeting agreed that the existing food laws and regulations governing food safety in most countries of the region were outdated. The advancement in science and the upcoming WTO make it imperative that these food laws and regulations are revised and updated. The work underway by FAO, WHO and Codex, offers a suitable framework for the required updating in this area.  
    The Conference discussed latest developments in food science and focused on innovations in food technologies, nanotechnology, and biotechnology, changes in lifestyle, consumer preferences and value addition of food products and their implications for food processing, food packaging and food labeling were highlighted. Benefits associated with novel foods like functional foods, pre-biotics and pro-biotics and foods for special category of consumers were discussed along with food safety issues including modern tools for food safety like risk assessment, evidence based guidelines for food safety and technologies for ensuring safety of foods.  
    The demand for food packaging is increasing rapidly because distances between food producers and food processors and between food processors and food consumers have significantly increased. Further, with nuclear families, consumer packs have become smaller in size and, with both parents in the family working, demand for convenience foods has hugely expanded necessitating a variety of packaging for a variety of foods.  
    The Symposium offered scientific inputs and national and international experiences in the context of which a proper risk assessment of pesticide residues contamination could be made and an effective control system involving farmers, industry and government could be brought into force and maintained over time to minimize risk and maximize safety consistent with cost.  
    The Conference reaffirmed the pertinence and validity of the conclusions and recommendations of the FAO/ILSI Workshop on Science Based Approaches to Harmonization of Regulatory Food Quality and Safety Measures in SAARC Region held in Delhi in September 1998.  
    An International Conference on "Water Quality Management: South Asian Perspective" sponsored by International Life Sciences Institute - India (ILSI-India), ILSI Risk Science Institute, Department of Drinking Water Supply, Ministry of Rural Development, Government of India (GOI), and Government of Rajasthan and supported by the Ministry of Water Resources (GOI), Ministry of Urban Development (GOI), United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and United States - Asia Environmental Partnership (US-AEP), was held in Jaipur on 11-12 April 2002. About 180 delegates from India and abroad participated.