Food Safety News – India updates – Oct 9

CHANDIGARH

TEAM OF FOOD SAFETY OFFICERS CONDUCTS INSPECTION AT FOOD BUSINESS UNITS

Chandigarh 07th October:- Commissioner Food Safety constituted a joint team of Food Safety Officers Bharat Kanojia, Surinder Pal Singh and Bhaljinder Singh for conducting inspection of Food Business units and sampling of food articles in U.T. of Chandigarh. The team inspected Sindhi Sweets, Sector-8 & 17, Gopal Sweets, Sector-8 & 15 and Bikaner Sweets, Sector-26 Chandigarh today and seized samples of the food articles in lieu of the coming festival season. 
The said seized samples have been sent to the Food Analyst Laboratory for analysis and examination. The food vendors were also instructed to keep hygiene and quality standards as per Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006.

KARNATAKA

Mangaluru scientist asked to draft national advisory on seafood poisoning

MANGALURU: More than a hundred individuals, including workers at a fish exporting company, took ill on Saturday after consuming fish heads supplied by a firm in Ullal. The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has asked Mangaluru-based scientist, Dr Iddya Karunasagar, to draft a national food advisory for fish poisoning, especiallyCiguatera.
FSSAI consultant and member of the scientific committee, Dr Iddya said that he had brought the Ullal incident to the attention of the committee members on Monday, in the course of a meeting held in New Delhi on food safety. Dr Iddya said that he would not be able to confirm if the Ullal incident was the first instance of such fish food poisoning in the country. “But, it is definitely the first mass outbreak, which has affected hundreds of people,” he said.
Pointing out that there could have been unrecorded sporadic incidents in the past, he added, “They may not have come to light since the affected population would have been less. There were reports from Mumbai about a similar incident; we thought it could be fish poisoning. We could not get any data on it. But, the Mangaluru outbreak, which has affected so many people, is a first in the country.”
Before they are exported, the head and viscera are removed from the fishes, while the heads find their way into the local markets, Dr Iddya reasoned. “People were affected by the toxin in the head and viscera. The exporters may not be aware that certain parts of the fish were poisonous,” he added.
Dr Iddya said that the director of the Export Inspection Council in New Delhi had made a mention of a couple of rapid alerts from the European Union regarding the issue. The national advisory, Dr Iddya said, would be ready in a fortnight. “It will be sent to the food safety committee members. It will be put up on FSSAI’s website, once it has been approved,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Udupi Department of Fisheries too has sought Dr Iddya to spread awareness of fishes that could have toxins among fishermen, besides speaking on the precautionary measures that need to be observed while consuming them.
EU raised a red flag in August
Through its Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF), the European Union had thrice issued alerts in August, warning of the risks detected in fishes exported from India.
The alerts, issued on August 14, 19 and 22, pertained to three consignments, and were concerned with Ciguatera poisoning and Ciguatoxins.

Exporters, eateries warned over selling poisonous fish

MANGALURU: The Dakshina Kannada district administration and food and civil supplies minister UT Khader sent a stern warning to the fish exportersand eateries that they would be held responsible if more fish poisoning cases were reported.
This warning came in the backdrop of more than a hundred persons including workers of a fish exporting company falling ill after consuming red snapper fish heads in Ullal recently. With some exporters indicating that the poisonous puffer fish was also sold in the local markets and used in restaurants, deputy commissioner Jagadeesha KG directed restaurants to take due diligence while serving fish to consumers.
Khader, who chaired the meeting, said fish exporters need to take proper precautions while dispatching heads and viscera for fish meal or manure.
As there was no standard protocol to deal with such cases, Jagadeesha KG said a committee would be constituted with experts to draw guidelines on processing of fish that are poisonous and are used by the local population and also on the treatment to be administered in such situations. “We cannot say that it may not happen again. Hence, standard protocols are necessary,” he added.
He warned the fish exporters that their units would be shut down if any head or parts which are deemed poisonous were found in the market and affected people. He explicitly told the exporters to use the remains of such fish for only manure since Dr Iddya Karunasagar, consultant, Food Safety and Standards Authority of India(FSSAI) said making fish feed of the poisonous part was not advisable.
He also told the fisheries and food safety department to circulate guidelines to restaurants and eateries that they would be held responsible if consumers fell ill after consumption of such fish cooked at their premises.
Marine Authority personnel Ashok Kumar said that the Red Snapper fish had been caught outside Indian territorial waters and they were yet to analyse where the catch had come from. “We have to trace the boat which did the fishing and get the GPS coordinates from them to know where the catch came from,” he told TOI.
Khader also shared information that this was not the first time people fell ill due to fish poisoning. “That time we did not know what it was,” he added.
Scientists from Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute, Mangaluru unit, and others pointed out that there were three or four varieties of fish which accumulated poison during certain seasons only and throughout the year.
The cases happen when some unicellular algae called dinoflagellates, which can be toxic, are eaten by fish and when these fish are eaten by larger fish. The poison gets accumulated in marine and estuarine fish (red snapper, grouper, perches) or molluscan shellfish (clams, oysters, muscles), and cause severe illnesses. One of the common poisoning due to consumption of marine fish is ciguatera food poisoning. The toxic fish have no alteration of odour, colour or taste, thus, making it very difficult to identify the potential risk associated with contamination.
Khader said the departments, fisheries, food safety has to prepare guidelines and give wide publicity on fish to avoid and how to consume such fish in a safe way.

UTTARKHAND

Food dept issue notices to sweet shops for adulteration

 
DEHRADUN: The food safety department on Wednesday issued notices to two popular sweet shops in the city after finding “synthetic colours, fungus and high quantity starch” in some samples. The tests were conducted after local residents complained that some shops were selling substandard sweets.
A customer said that he had purchased ‘boondi laddus’ from a popular shop on Chakrata road in July but when he opened the box, it was fungus-ridden. He then lodged a complaint at the department. However, the reports came late due to staff crunch at the food safety department and scanty sampling facilities , an official said.
“We have started inspection of all sweet shops since adulteration has become very rampant in the city. We will take legal action against those found flouting norms. As of now, we have sent notices to Anandam on Chakrata road and Ganpati Sweets onRajpur road,” said food safety officer Anooj Thapliyal.
During festive season, incidents of adulteration increase every year. Dr Praveen Panwar from GDMC hospital said, “Synthetic colours are not only cancerous but they also cause major neurological problems among children and old people as their immunity is low.”
The department has decided to take instant samples and send it for testing either to Rudrapur-based lab or Chandigarh in order to get results as soon as possible and curb adulteration during festive season.

WEST BENGAL

Check if there’s poison on your platter this Puja

KOLKATA: If you have plans to gorge on streetfood this Puja, be judicious in your choice. A surprise food-safety drive by a Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) health department team on Thursday found street food stalls in and around bigger puja pandals selling adulterated stuff.
The surprise drive by eight groups was planned to check samples of fast food being sold along Bidhan Sarani (from Hedua to Hatibagan).The civic food inspectors found biryani in majority of roadside stalls unfit for consumption. The colour that the food vendors are mixing in biryani makes the popular dish adulterated, preliminary tests have confirmed, said Atin Ghosh, mayor-in-council member overseeing the KMC health department.
“Our team of inspectors collected samples from the roadside stalls and found them to have colour that is not permitted under the specific food safety guidelines,” Ghosh said. “The inspectors will again visit those stalls on Friday to check whether the owners are adhering to rules and preparing the right kind of biryani,” added a KMC health department official.
Besides the roadside stalls, samples of biryani were also collected from some well-known restaurants in the Hatibagan area. “We will visit some of these restaurants again on Friday and hand over food safety guidelines to the owners,” Ghosh said. “We had to destroy bottles of tomato sauce as those were found to be highly adulterated. We have asked the roadside stalls to stop using these sauces or else we will close down these stalls,” Ghosh added. The KMC health team is scheduled to visit stalls in south Kolkata on Sashthi and Saptami.
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