Food Safety News – India updates – Oct 19



Tracking hygiene: FSSAI steps up compliance check

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has increased its surprise checks and audits on hotels, restaurants and caterers to check hygiene levels and food quality.
NEW DELHI: Controversies such as the temporary ban on Nestle’s Maggi instant noodles appear to have had a bearing on the hospitality sector, with the food regulator stepping up inspections of hotels and restaurants to assess compliance with safety norms. 
The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has increased its surprise checks and audits on hotels, restaurants and caterers to check hygiene levels and food quality. 
Even five-star hotels are under the scanner and have had food safety officials carry out surprise inspections of their restaurants, hoteliers and restaurateurs said. 
“The number of checks has gone up. We have had recent surprise checks in our hotel in Gurgaon and east Delhi and even in locations like Hyderabad and Indore to check the quality of food,” said Rajeev Janveja, corporate chef at Lemon Tree Hotels. 
Food safety has been in public focus since last year, when FSSAI banned the sale of Nestle’sMaggi noodles in the country for containing contaminants, although the order was eventually revoked. 
Nestle maintained at the time that the product was safe. “After the Maggie issue, the FSSAI has become really active. There are a lot of surprise audits and raids being conducted at five-star restaurants with food safety officers visiting to check inventory, processes, hygiene levels and the licence to operate. 
A lot of hotels and QSRs (quick service restaurants) are under the scanner of the regulator,” said Vinay Garodiya, executive director (fraud investigation and dispute services) at EY.



Stale food row: GSHRC tells govt not to pay caterer

Panaji: In the wake of police personnel on BRICS duty falling ill after consuming stale food, the Goa State Human Rights Commission (GSHRC) on Tuesday directed the government to withhold payments to contractor Amonkar Classic Caterers, Bicholim, pending inquiry into the entire episode.
“Prima facie, it appears that there is a major food scam of 51,60,000 pertaining to substandard and rotten meals that were served to the police personnel deployed at the just-concluded 2016 BRICS summit in Goa,” the commission stated while directing the chief secretary to submit an interim report within 10 days.
“We feel that it is an appropriate case and interim directions should be issued to the chief secretary to conduct a thorough investigation and fix responsibility on defaulting officials,” the commission stated, adding, “It is reported that the meals for the police personnel were prepared in an open place owned by the police department near the Verna police petrol pump next to the Verna church cemetery and roadside labourers were engaged in cooking the substandard food in the most unhygienic conditions. Water was stored in open, plastic barrels and the same water was used for cooking.”
The advocate representing respondent No. 1, the chief secretary, produced a copy of the order conveying government sanction for incurring an expenditure of 51,60,000 towards supply of food packets and refreshments from Amonkar Classic Caterers to 5,000 police personnel who were deployed from October 14 to 17.
The advocates for both respondent No. 1 and respondent No. 2, the director general of police, sought time to file their replies, which the commission granted.
An application was filed on Tuesday by advocate Aires Rodrigues, who placed on record copies of various newspaper clippings, including The Times of India’s report titled, BRICS: 2 cops fall ill after stale dinner’.
A hearing has been scheduled for November 2.

Hoaxers in Kerala hatch ‘toxic Chinese egg’ scare

TAMPER-PROOF: The hoax over ‘Chinese eggs’ has affected availability in Kerala.
Fears of plastic in eggs dispelled by laboratories in the State, but BJP wants samples tested at Central units
It has been a great egg scare in Kerala after hoaxers floated the theory that eggs sold in supermarkets in the State were not natural and actually came from Chinese factories full of toxins and plastic.
The ‘Chinese eggs’ scare gained ground over the past few days after Malayalam media in Idukki and Ernakulam districts and television channels reported on these ‘lethal’ imports.
Social media overflowed with warnings. In reality, however, there were no imported eggs, and the ones in the markets had come as usual from Namakkal in Tamil Nadu.
Malayalam trolls rode on public fears, sharing hilarious cartoons. One widely shared WhatsApp meme featured a drunk rooster asking its female partner how Chinese eggs had entered the scene.
TV channels interviewed ‘customers’ — some of whom, it turned out, were BJP workers — who staged displays showing a ‘plastic membrane’ covering the yolk, visible after breaking the shell.
As the scare spread, Luca, an online magazine from the Kerala Sastra Sahithya Parishad (KSSP), published an article rejecting the ‘artificial eggs’ theory. Dr. Muralee Thummarukudy, Chief of Disaster Risk Reduction at the United Nations Environment Programme, posted on Facebook repudiating the ‘fake eggs’ tale, and KSSP president, Dr. K.P. Aravindan, lamented the gullibility of the mainstream media and lack of scientific thinking.
Public concern forced food safety officials to test samples. The Centre for Advanced Studies in Poultry Science under the Veterinary and Animal Sciences University found that they were normal eggs from Namakkal.
Yet, the BJP wants more. “We have sent samples to the Regional Analytical Laboratory at Kakkanad and plan to send some to the Central Food Technological Research Institute, Mysuru, to check for hormones, antibiotics and steroids,” said P. Sivasankaran, joint convenor, BJP media cell.




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