India's Food Safety and Standards Authority (FSSAI) has inaugurated third National Food Laboratory at Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) NhavaSheva in Navi Mumbai Raigad District on 29 September 2021 in the presence of Smt. Rita Teotia, chairperson and Arun Singhal, chief executive officer, FSSAI. This is the 3rd lab which will be now operated along with two existing National laboratories, namely National Food Laboratory (NFL), currently operational at Ghaziabad and Kolkata. Dr Vasi Reddy, chairman, Vimta Labs, Harita Vasireddy, managing director, Vimta Labs and several partners and stakeholders from the scientific community, food businesses, importers and corporates also participated in the inauguration function held at JNPT.
National Food Laboratory, Ghaziabad is being run in PPP mode, while NFL, Kolkata is being operated by FSSAI. NFL, JNPT has come up in a Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) mode with Set up, Operate and Transfer (SOT) model. It is the first such initiative in the food laboratory. In contrast, the PPP partner in which FSSAI has provided only the space for establishing the food laboratory and the PPP partner is responsible for meeting the capital and operational expenditure. Part of the revenue generated through the testing of samples will be shared with FSSAI. Vimta Labs, a reputed name for testing food and drugs, will be the PPP partner responsible for operating the NFL at JNPT. The same model has been worked out at the Chennai Port Trust (CPT), and the laboratory at CPT will be run by National Commodities (NCML). With this, FSSAI will have its laboratories in East, West, North, and South India. These are apart from more than 200 NABL accredited FSSAI notified laboratories that form the National food testing network.
National Food Laboratory, JNPT is located on an area of 11873 square feet at the ground and first floor of Trainees Hostel Building in JNPT Township, Navi Mumbai. The lab is a well-furnished lab with the state-of-the equipment required for sample preparation, basic food testing and contaminants and adulterants. The laboratory has high-end equipment with the latest technologies and facilities to conduct chemical and microbiological analysis as per global accreditation standards for testing and calibration. The laboratory can analyze up to 9000 samples in a month. National Food Laboratory, JNPT will be applying for NABL accreditation under the FSSAI-NABL integration assessment category, initially for eight food product categories, and will subsequently apply for the enhanced scope of testing based on the number and type samples. It is expected that the laboratory will obtain the NABL accreditation by the end of November 2021 and become fully operational immediately thereafter.