Hyderabad, Nov. 21 (PTI) Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday said food certification should be done only by governmental agencies, and not by non-governmental organisations.
In a press conference, replying to a query on the Uttar Pradesh government banning the production, storage, distribution and sale of food products with halal certification, she said it is not right for any organisation other than the government ones to give certification.
“Food quality and food testing are essentially a government job. Government should do it. We have our Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI)," she said, adding it is the government agencies that should ascertain whether there are chemical additives, artificial or harmful colours and so on.
"They (government bodies) will have to be the authority to certify which is quality food for people to consume. Non-Governmental Organisations doing it is not right,” she said.
The Uttar Pradesh government on November 18 banned the production, storage, distribution and sale of food products with halal certification, with immediate effect, while exempting products manufactured for export.
In a statement, the state government alleged that there have been "malicious attempts" to discourage the use of products lacking a halal certificate, in the pursuit of "unfair financial benefits", and claimed that it also forms part of a “pre-planned strategy to sow class hatred, create divisions in society, and weaken the country" by "anti-national elements".
Sitharaman was in the city to participate in poll rallies for BJP candidates in the run up to the November 30 assembly elections. PTI GDK ANE