Food Safety News – India updates – Oct 16

GENERAL

‘Food testing labs to be upgraded in next two-three years’

  The government will be spending Rs 490 crore in the next two-three years on upgrading and setting up new food testing laboratories (FTLs) across the country, an official said on Friday.
Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) CEO Pawan Kumar Agarwal said 45 FTLs would be strengthened across the country while special attention in this regard will be given to four northeastern states of Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Mizoram and Sikkim.
“The government has recently approved Rs 490 crore for upgrading and strengthening FTLs across the country. The idea is to upgrade at least two FTLs in larges states and one in smaller states and union territories,” he said.
There are 114 FTLs operating in the country of which 112 are NABL accredited private labs notified under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006.
“Besides setting at least three new FTLs, there is proposal to set up 62 mobile foot testing labs (MFLs). There will be at least one MFL in each of the states and union territories,” said Agarwal adding that at least 8-10 private labs were under consideration for notification under the FSS Act.
The FTLs have been facing challenges in terms of availability of sophisticated analytical equipments and trained scientific and technical manpower, he said. “The target is to standardise the FTL network in the next two-three years,” he said.

Govt mulls making food fortification mandatory: FSSAI

In order to address malnutrition, government is considering making food fortification – adding of essential micronutrients – mandatory in wheat flour, rice, salt, edible oils and salt. 
At the same time, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), which earlier this month issued draft regulation on allowing food fortification, has decided to soon operationalise these standards even before it issues final notification.
FSSAI is organising 2-day summit on fortification of food on October 16-17 in the national capital to draw the roadmap. 
“Fortification is a cost effective and quick way to address malnutrition. We have issued a draft regulation on fortification of foods and sought public comments. We will soon operationalise this draft as several states want to start fortification,” FSSAI CEO Pawan Agarwal told reporters here . 
Fortification means deliberately increasing the content of essential micronutrients in food to improve its quality. In draft standards, the FSSAI has covered five food categories — wheat flour, rice, milk, edible oil and salt. 
The FSSAI has set standards for fortification of salt with iodine and iron; of vegetable oil and milk with Vitamin A & D; wheat flour and rice with iron, folic acid, zinc, vitamin B12, vitamin A and some other micronutrients. 
The draft enlists standards to encourage production and consumption of fortified foods. The rules also provide for FSSAI’s role in making fortification mandatory. 
Agarwal said the regulator will notify final regulations based on comments from stakeholders, who can sent in their views on the issue by the first week of November. 
“Option for making food fortification mandatory is being examined,” he said, while emphasising on the need for getting supply side ready for this process. 
“The government will take a final call,” he said, adding that this could be easily implemented in government programmes like PDS, mid-day meal scheme. 
Besides operationalising the draft regulations, the FSSAI will also unveil logo for fortified food on Sunday. 
“We are setting standards for fortification of foods as our mandate is to provide not only safe but wholesome food. By setting standards, we are prescribing minimum and maximum limit of fortification in the five food categories,” he said.
 

CHANDIGARH

Quality check begins at sweet shops

Gurgaon: The food safety department has launched a month-long drive, under which it will conduct regular inspections at sweet shops in the city. During the raids over the weekend, the department collected samples from nine sweetshops in Sector 29, Badshahpur, Jharsa village, Sector 14 and some shops near NH-8. 
Sources said the department received information that adulterated milk, paneer and khoya are being supplied into the city from Mewat and some parts of Rajasthan. The collected samples will be sent to a laboratory in Chandigarh for quality testing .
” Appropriate action will be taken against defaulters,” said an official.
Food Safety Officers on Friday destroyed about 130 kg sweets which were found exposed to dust and flies and were unfit for human consumption, during a raid at the area of Sector 18, Shanti Nagar, Pipliwala Town, Mariwala Town of Manimajra.
During the inspection, the food officials also issued two improvements the inspected shops for not maintaining the hygienic conditions. With this, the team also seized three samples of different sweets. The said seized samples have been sent to the Food Analysis Laboratory for analysis & examination.
The inspections were done as per the order of Commissioner Food Safety. On Friday a joint team of Food Safety Officers Bharat Kanojia, Surinder Pal Singh and Bhaljinder Singh was constituted in lieu of the coming festival season for conducting inspection and sampling of food articles in UT of Chandigarh.
The shopkeepers were also advised not to use any prohibited colours in the preparation of sweets and to use good quality of edible oil and ghee in their preparations. The Food vendors were also instructed to keep hygiene and quality standards as per Food Safety & Standards Act, 2006.
J & K 

Food Safety Officers inspect sweet shops, destroy 2.5 quintal decomposed ‘Petha’

JAMMU : In order to ensure availability of wholesome sweets and ‘fenniya/katlama’ on the eve of ‘Karbachauth’ and Diwali to the consumer at large, a team of the Food Safety Officers of Drugs & Food Control Organization (DFCO), today carried out inspections of various sweets shops in city outskirts and destroyed about 2.5 decomposed ‘Petha’.
The inspections were carried out by a team of Food safety Officers namely Daleep Singh, Jai Inder Singh, Hans Raj and Ajay Khajuria under the supervision of Sanjeev Kumar, Assistant Controller Food, (MLJ), DFCO, J&K, Jammu, in the areas of Janipur, Sarwal, New Plot, Pirmitha, Talab Tillo, Puran Nagar and Trikuta Nagar.
The samples of various sweets such as Burfi, Laddo, Milk Cake, Chocolate, Petha, Sohan Papari, Kalakand, Khoya, etc were lifted from the vendors including M/s Sethi Sweet Shop, Rehari, M/s Prem Sweet Shop, New Plot, M/s Parkash Di Hatti, Janipur, M/s Gokul Sweet Shop, Janipur, M/s Jai Maa Shakti Petha Food Product, Puran Nagar, M/s Sain Sweet Shop, Trikuta Nagar, M/s Ravalpindi Sweet Shop, Trikuta Nagar, M/s Bikaner Sweet Shop, Talab Tillo, M/s Pahalwan Di Hatti, Pirmitha, M/s Jallaian Di Hatti, Jain Bazar and send to the Food Laboratory for carry out testing/analysis.
Moreover, 2.5 quintal of decomposed Petha and 40 kg Sugar Syrup were destroyed on spot. A challan again M/s Jai Maa Shakti Petha Shop for manufacturing Petha under unhygienic and insanitary condition shall be filed before the competent authority in due course of time.
MAHARASHTRA

FSSAI urges state enforcement agencies to review pending cases against FBOs

Mumbai: The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) asked the state enforcement authorities to review pending cases registered against food business operators (FBOs) during the regime of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act (PFA), 1954 and other acts specified under Schedule 2 of the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006.
C S Gohil, food safety officer, Food and Drug Control Administration (FDCA), Gujarat, said, “We have pending cases which need to be reexamined or reviewed. If these pending cases are not of any significance, they will be settled as per the procedure prescibed under the Food Safety and Standards Act, calling the FBO involved.”
“Several states have such cases pending which are under the purview of different orders – milk, oil, etc. These cases will be studied at the state level. Depending upon the intensity of the issue, the state authority will take further action,” he added.
The food safety commissioners of all states and Union Territories may like to examine all pending cases against FBO under the provisions of various enactments and orders repealed upon the enactment of the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 and take a view on withdrawal of the same, if considered appropriate. The results of this exercise may be shared with FSSAI from time to time. 
According to a source from FSSAI, the initiative of examining the cases will decrease the burden on FSSAI. He added that the cases pending against FBO caught under PFA and other orders needed a review, and that the rules and regulations which are currently operational had undergone several amendments.
Gohil stated, “All the state commissioners will be part of this exercise at their respective offices. The reports will be furnished at regular intervals. They will be brought to the state commissioners’ notice, following which they will hold a meeting to initiate further actions.”
MADHYA PRADESH

Adulteration check: FDA keeps eye on milk products, namkeen

INDORE: With festive season at its peak and Diwali round the corner, the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) is on its toes to make sure that city residents don’t fall prey to adulterated sweets and other food items during the season. 
Since Ganesh Chaturthi the FDA has taken nearly 100 samples of sweets, edible oil, namkeen and spices. Out of total samples sent for laboratory testing in state capital, report of 30 samples has come. 10 samples were found to be misbranded, while six samples were of sub-standard quality. 
Food safety officer, Manish Swami said, “During Ganesh Chaturthi, we took samples of sweets from shops near prominent city temples. We had also carried out inspections at Namkeen manufacturing units in industrial areas nearby city. Every week, teams conduct surprise inspection at least on three days. During this season, we have taken samples from 40 small-big units.”
Swami also said that we will continue conducting surprise inspection especially on mawa sweets, namkeen, chocolates and gift packs shops. When asked about whether the delay in sampling and testing differ the result or not, Swami said, “Though the result of the samples takes time, collection of samples is a sign enough to make the seller conscious about food quality. Moreover, we do not have laboratory in Indore so we are dependent on Bhopal lab.”
FDA officials are keeping a close watch on sweets, milk products and namkeen, which the officials say, are the main food items that are found adulterated. “From the lab reports that have come in the past, it has come to surface that non-food colour is being used in sweets. City residents should try and avoid coloured sweets, especially the deep pink ones, which might be adulterated,” advised Swami. Customers can file complaints related to food adulteration with the department on the condition of anonymity too.
It should be taken to note that if any city resident is apprehensive about a certain food item that he or she has already purchased, then he can send it for testing to the food department personally.

PUNJAB

FSDA lens on festive food, Diwali sweets

 
MEERUT: With Dussheraand Diwali round the corner, the Food Safety and Drugs Administration (FSDA) is on its toes to make sure that city residents don’t fall prey to adulterated sweets and other food items during the festive month. A team of five persons has been constituted to conduct surprise inspections at shops in rural and urban areas to check adulteration and prevent the sale of expired and unhealthy food items in the market.
The anti-adulteration drive is set to continue till October 30. “A five-member team of the food department is conducting regular checks by sending suspicious food items to the laboratory for testing. If any sub-standard or unsafe food item is found, the person will be dealt with as per the rules,” said J P Singh, chief food safety officer. 
Samples of suspicious food items will also be sent to Lucknow’s food testing lab to avert any manipulation at the city-based lab. The sample reports from the city-based lab can be procured in 48 hours while those from the Lucknow lab take at least 20 days to be released, said Singh.
FSDA officials are keeping a close watch on sweets, milk products and namkeen – which, the officials say, are the main food items that are found adulterated. “From the lab reports that have come in the past, it has come to surface that non-food colour is being used in sweets. City residents should try and avoid coloured sweets, especially the deep pink ones, which might be adulterated,” said Singh.
Customers can file complaints related to food adulteration with the department on the condition of anonymity too. It should be taken to note that if any city resident is apprehensive about a certain food item that he or she has already purchased, then they can send it for testing to the food department personally and if found adulterated, a complaint can be filed. A food sample may be submitted by depositing Rs 1,000 and if it is found adulterated, a complaint can be filed with FSDA officials, who will take further action.
RAJASTHAN

State govt’s move on mid-day meal likely to save time and will provide relief to teachers.

JAIPUR: State education department is making a strong pitch for introduction of pre-packaged meals as part of the mid-day meal (MDM) scheme in government schools in the desert state to address the issue of nutritional balance in the diet for children. The idea was mentioned in the last budget speech of CM Vasundhara Raje as well.

Rajasthan government’s move derived from the plan to serve hygienic, pre-packaged food, hot and fresh. According to sources such a move would save the preparation time and thereby providing much relief to the teachers. Besides, it would eliminate complaints regarding the quality of the food supplied to the children. Education department has written to the Union Human Resources Development ministry in this regard. According to sources the proposal of the Rajasthan government is under examination of the Union HRD ministry which requires an amendment to the MDM rules 2015.

The mid-day meal which is served in primary and upper primary schools across the government schools in the nation has to be “hot-cooked meal” as per the MDM rules.

The Rajasthan government pointed out that the pre-cooked meal will be more hygienic, easy to store and cook, and still can be served hot. It was also argued that it will give students opportunities to eat different meals on everyday which will increase the popularity of the scheme.

Besides it was also argued that the pre-cooked meals can keep a balance on nutritional standards which will help students to stay healthy.

However, some state chief ministers and other union ministers are said to be not in favour of allowing pre-cooked meals.

According to a research study published in MDM Scheme official website, the programme has helped improve attendance and enrolment of children, particularly girls apart from addressing the issue of malnutrition among children.

TAMILNADU

Quality of milk

SHRC directive
The State Human Rights Commission has directed authorities to take steps to check the quality of milk coming in packets from Tamil Nadu. SHRC acting chairperson P. Mohanadas on Friday directed the Health Secretary and the Commissioner of Food Safety to conduct an inquiry into the allegations that the milk contains chemicals and to report to the commission on November 3. A complaint said Food Safety authorities were not paying adequate attention to check the quality of milk.

UTTAR PRADESH

Ahead of Diwali, FSDA seizes 8,500 kg spurious ghee

AGRA: Food Safety and Drug Administration (FSDA) on Thursday seized 8500 kg of spurious ghee from a factory in Gokul Nagar area here. Officials were amazed at the scale at which the illegal activity was going on in the factory, Shri Bihari Ji Food Industries.

FSDA designated officer Vineet Kumar said, “Agra vendors have created a new recipe for preparing ghee using vanaspati, refined soya bean oil and essence. A raid was conducted at Shri Bihari Ji Food Industries after a tip-off. Raids would intensify in coming day and several squads have been formed for this purpose.”

He added that around 4000 Kg of vanaspati, 3000 litre refined soya bean oil, besides 1,525 kg of prepared ghee were seized in total. The shop is owned by one Anil Agarwal, resident Langde ki chowki.

Notably, UP chief secretary had recently informed the state government that Western UP is a hub for manufacturing adulterated food materials like synthetic milk and spurious edible oils.

Just last month, around 7500 litres of pungent-smelling adulterated cooking oil was seized by team of Food Safety and Drug Administration (FSDA) from Jagner Road, in Agra. The team of FSDA has confiscated the adulterated oil bearing the name of ‘Delight Plus Mustard Oil’ from the ‘Agra Agro Company’ and has sent the samples for the testing in laboratory.

Prior to that in August, more than 6000 liters of pungent smelling adulterated edible/cooking oil were seized. A team of nine members of FSDA had conducted a surprise raid at a private (Maa Gauri Oil) plant/godown in Barauli Ahir of Shamshabad road and found large quantity of adulterated cooking oil being dispatched to different districts such as Mathura, Firozabad, Etah, Agra and others.

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