FSSAI chairman to hold additional charge of CEO; Sandhya Kabra shifted

he churning in the rank and file of FSSAI that started with shifting of CEO YS Malik continues with Ashish Bahuguna, chairman FSSAI, taking up additional charge of chief executive officer of the body. Not only that, the much-in-news Product Approval division has a change in Dr Rubeena Shaheen from J&K replacing Sandhya Kabra. Shaheen is an MBBS doctor with MS in public health. Kabra will now look after only QA/Legal issues.

Meanwhile, FBOs (food business operators) state that the changes would not help in pacifying the anguish of food industry. The newly-formed National Joint Action Committee of 12 different food industry organisations states that the officers behaving in an arbitrary manner should be shifted out of FSSAI.

Bahuguna, former union agriculture secretary, was appointed as chairman FSSAI in July this year. He would continue to hold the position of CEO till a formal appointment which could take few months.

On September 23, Malik was moved out and shifted as additional secretary in Niti Aayog. He was believed to be the man behind the ban of global giant Nestle’s popular noodles brand Maggi, while, Bahuguna, IAS officer of 1978-batch of Rajasthan cadre, retired in February this year from agriculture ministry.

FSSAI, ever since it took action on Maggi noodles, has found itself in continuous controversy for its alleged arbitrary way of functioning. As a result, the CEO was first shifted out of the apex food regulator and now Sandhya Kabra was shunted out of the Product Approval job. According to sources, it was direct fallout of continuous pressure from FBOs on health ministry.

Further the FSSAI has appointed new advisors for various jobs. Anil Kumar, formerly with the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) has been given charge of advisor on standards while Sunil Bakshi, formerly with National Dairy Development Board, has been entrusted with the charge of advisor on regulations and Codex.

Also, according to sources, Sanjay Dave, former advisor, FSSAI, was likely to join the apex food regulator in the same capacity. His duties will be prescribed later.