The Food Safety Division was earlier established Food Toxicology Division in the year 1978 to investigate food borne disease outbreaks and for toxicological evaluation of foods. Over the past 3 decades the division has made significant contributions in the field of naturally occurring food toxins, pesticide residues, food additives, toxic metals in water and food, and food adulterationand emerged as an important reference department for risk assessment of several of these food contaminants affecting the food supply chain. The division is also engaged in environmental monitoring as well as biomonitoring to study human exposures to carcinogens/toxins/toxic elements in the environment and their biological impact.
Over the past 3 decades the Division has worked on various areas namely mycotoxins, heavy metals and pesticide residues. As a result, various government departments related to food supply and control such as the food safety regulatory bodies, department of agriculture, department of food and civil supplies, food and nutrition board, department of commerce, export inspection council, commodity boards such as Coffee Board and the Spices Board, APEDA, etc. relied on the divisions’ expertise for risk assessment, detection and capacity building programmes, for making regulatory risk management decisions.
Due to expertise in Fluoride and fluorosis research, the department is part of the ICMR Task Force Group and engaged in the ICMR Task Force Projects. The Department head is the member of expert committee and Trainer for National Programme for Prevalence and Control of Fluorosis (NPPCF), M/O Health and Family Welfare GOI, and offered Training to Technicians and Consultants on fluorosis. The department can also under take trainings for those engaged in rural water supply, doctors, paramedical staff working in hospitals.
Consult website for activities http://societyforfluorideresearch.org
Broad area of research has been food safety with an emphasis on food contamination with pesticide residues and their analysis, remedial measures to reduce the contamination with pesticide residues in selected foods, with focus on assessment of human dietary exposure. A cost-effective reusable polypropylene attire was developed using locally available material for the farming community in order to protect themselves from exposure to pesticides.
A video film was also developed in three (local regional/Hindi/English) languages to sustain the programme on a continuous basis. Extensive, educational and training activities at the community level were developed to create awareness among farm women on GHPs (through the distribution of pamphlets in local regional language) to minimize the residues in the selected foods.
Providing inputs to FSSAI in order to fix the Maximum Residue Limits (MRLs) for natural isotonic beverages like fresh/packaged tender coconut water.