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State now has NE’s 1st food molecular microbiology lab

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SHILLONG, Jan 17: Meghalaya is now home to the first-ever Food Molecular Microbiology Laboratory, an initiative that is a first not only for the Northeast but technically for the entire nation. Health and Family Welfare Minister, Ampareen Lyngdoh, inaugurated the laboratory, which is located in at Pasteur Hills, Shillong, on behalf of Chief Minister Conrad Sangma on Wednesday.
This state-of-the-art molecular-cum-microbiology laboratory was built with a budget of around Rs 5 crore and is equipped to detect outbreaks and identify potential threats to food safety. Through rigorous testing for viruses, bacteria, and fungi, it ensures prompt identification of foodborne illnesses. This detection allows immediate corrective action, minimizing health risks for the community.
Wadamika Lyngdoh, Deputy Commissioner of Food Safety (Technical), in her inaugural address, explained the role of the newly inaugurated laboratory in the state’s food safety sector, terming it a game-changer encompassing health, consumer confidence, economic support, and overall community welfare.
Beyond food testing and safety, the laboratory, in a span of about four to six months, will also be ready to provide organic testing certificates, making it accessible for the local entrepreneurs and farmers to obtain an organic certificate, further allowing them to obtain the organic tag, thereby marketing them not only nationally, but also globally.
This was informed by Sampath Kumar, Principal Secretary to the Department of Health and Family Welfare, in his keynote address.
The laboratory’s testing procedures aim to instill trust in the local food supply chain by assuring consumers of high testing standards.
This, in turn, will empower local businesses to prioritise health and safety, fostering support from the community. The ripple effect extends to the local economy, as consumer confidence encourages support for establishments committed to food safety.
The facility will also be a breakthrough, and will enable regular surveillance of the food items in the market, to ensure that the locals are eating healthy and safe food, and thereby all food chain operators, local food businesses will be under surveillance, informed the Health minister.
“It will also empower the food chain operators and local entrepreneurs to assure to the consumers the safety of their products,” she added.
The project that is being implemented via central sector schemes and the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) also had the FSSAI Director Ajai Prakash Gupta, Director of Food safety and Standards as the Government of India representative, who applauded the initiative that is not only a milestone for the region, but the entire country.
The inaugural programme also had in attendance, Ram Kumar, Mission Director, National Health Mission, BS Sohliya, Executive Advisor, Meghalaya Farmers Commission, and other dignitaries.

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