Food Safety News – India updates – Oct 24

GENERAL

Varsity canteens, messes should have licence under Food Safety

 
Noting that canteens and messes in educational institutions are not licensed under the Food Safety and Standards Act, the University Grants Commission (UGC) has asked varsities and colleges to ensure that rules in this regard are complied with. 
In a letter to vice-chancellors of universities, UGC Secretary Jaspal S Sandhu said it has been noted that canteens, messes and other food establishments located in various educational institutions have not been licensed under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006.
“You are requested to kindly ensure the implementation of the FSS Act, 2006 in food establishments of your esteemed university and in all the affiliated colleges,” he wrote. 
The Food Safety and Standards Act provides the framework for regulating manufacture, storage, distribution and sale of food items so as to ensure its safety. 
“…The Food Safety & Standards (Licensing & Registration of Food Businesses) Regulations, 2011 stipulates that no person shall commence any food business unless he possesses a valid licence,” the senior UGC official said in his letter. 
The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) would also organise training of food handlers working in food establishments of the educational institutions to provide safe and wholesome food to the students, Sandhu said.

GOA

Goa can be model state for food safety: FSSAI CEO

PANAJI: Stating that changing the food safety habits of an individual is a tall order, CEO of Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), Pawan Agarwal, said that Goa’s small geographical size and low population could help it become a model state in terms of food safety habits.
“Goa is already doing quite well in terms of health; it can also become a model for other states in food safety measures. Therefore, it will be a continuous activity,” said Agarwal, who was in Goa for the launch of the food safety initiatives which have been adopted by Goa.
Responding to the growing controversies involving in food testing laboratories, the FSSAI CEO denied the existence of any political or commercial pressures on the authorities.
“That has passed and you have to understand that food testing is not a perfect science. There are different parameters to distinguish different contents. We are still developing standards for some food items in tune with what is acceptable globally,” said Agarwal, stating that the central government has decided to invest around 500 crore to revamp the infrastructure of the state funded food testing laboratories.
Talking about the problem that food exporters face with certain countries, Agarwal stated that although there are no two ways about safety standards, at times, these controls are employed as trade tactics.
“There are tactical issues which certain countries raise and we have to deal with it in the same way. Our standards have to match the global ones and we have to have a robust internal checking system. Only then, we can question others if they stop our products,” he said, adding that the organization is also focusing on food fortification, to improve the country’s ranking in various global health and nourishment indices.
“Food fortification is an important factor to counter malnourishment in India. We are in touch with other organizations like the Food Corporation of India (FCI) to start food fortification. Some of the states have already started distributing fortified grains through the public distribution system.

JAMMU & KASHMIR

Food safety sleuths survey market vends ahead of Diwali

JAMMU: In order to ensure availability of wholesome Food articles, especially the sweets, milk & milk products in the market on the occasion of Diwali festival, a team of the Food Safety Officers of Drugs & Food Control Organization today carried out a special day long drive in Jammu Division. 
The special drive has been undertaken under the instructions of Minister for Health & Medical Education, Bali Bhagat under the overall supervision of Controller, Drugs & Food Control Organization J&K, Lotika Khajuria. During the course of drive, as many as 41 samples of various food articles likeKhoya, Burfi, Paneer, Ladoo, mix sweets, milk, Refined Soyabean oil and Biscuit have been lifted and sent for testing/analysis in the designated laboratories. 
Besides, 35 kgs of decomposed/unwholesome sweets have been destroyed on spot. All the food business operators dealing with sweets and milk products have been sensitized to observe/secure compliance with sanitary and hygienic conditions in their premises as per mandate of the Food Safety Standards (FSS) in letter and spirit and prepare/sell the quality products to the consumers. 
The drive will continue till Deewali festival in the entire Jammu division.
KERALA
Stale food seized from hotel

Officials of the Food Safety Department on Saturday seized stale food from ‘Arabian Nights’ restaurant near Kathrukadavu and ordered suspension of its operation till further order.
The raid followed a tip-off by the Ernakulam North Police, which had inspected the building earlier for illegal sale of liquor. Though no liquor bottles could be spotted, the police found the restaurant’s kitchen operating in unhygienic condition and hence alerted the Food Safety officials. Though the police had earlier approached the health wing of the city corporation, they did not turn up.
MAHARASHTRA

Maha govt ignores milk quality survey

Pune: The Maharashtra unit of Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) is yet to confirm its participation in the union government’s mandatory National Milk Quality Survey, which was initiated in September this year.
This shocking revelation comes even as other states like Uttar Pradesh, New Delhi and Tamil Nadu have already completed their milk quality checks and sent the results to Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI). States like Goa and Haryana are currently collecting the milk samples prior to forwarding it to laboratories for further tests.
Ten cities in Maharashtra including Pune, Navi Mumbai, Jalgaon, Nagpur, etc, have been identified as hotspots. “We are yet to receive any communication neither official letter or calls from FSSAI to the office of commissioner of FDA, Maharashtra,” Monika Puniya, Assistant Director (Technical), FSSAI, informed Sakal Times. 
According to sources at FSSAI, without confirmation, the national body will not be able to share the action plan with the State, which will then have to undertake the survey and complete it in stipulated time. Maharashtra could also be a culprit in causing an overall delay to the national survey, which was supposed to be completed by December this year.
FSSAI, on the basis of the past reports and incidents of adulteration, shared the survey plan to each of the states, which was inclusive of the number of milk samples to be collected, areas of interest for sampling, labs where the samples will be processed, etc. Food Safety Officer (FSO) from each division in the State was assigned to do the job in the stipulated period and share the results with FSSAI.
According to sources at FDA’s Pune division, there has not been any communication from the Mumbai-based headquarters about initiating any milk sampling as yet.
“We are not aware of any survey and have not been instructed about the same so far,” said a senior official from FDA, Pune.
What is National Milk Quality Survey? 
– The survey, argued to be first of its kind, aims to test the quality of milk to understand the prevalence of milk adulteration in states and chalk out measures to curb the menace. During the survey, over 1,700 milk samples will be randomly picked and tested for fat, Solids not Fat (SNF), vegetable oil, detergent, hydrogen peroxide, formalin, sugar, glucose, urea, starch, boric acid, ammonium sulphate, nitrates, cellulose maltodextrin. Each state will have a state-level steering committee comprising members like commissioner of FDA, milk commissioner of the State, personnel from dairy industries and Food Safety Officers (FSO).

Food safety licence for college canteens mandatory, says UGC

KOLHAPUR: The University Grants Commission (UGC) has made it mandatory for the canteens running at institutions of higher learning to have licences under the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI).
In a circular issue recently, UGC secretary Jaspal Sandhu said the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 along with the rules and regulations, provide the statutory framework for regulating, the manufacture, storage, distribution and sale of food to ensure health and hygiene.
He said the act stipulates that no person shall commence any food business unless he/she possesses a valid license. However, it has been observed that canteens and other food establishments in various educational institutions have not been licensed under the act.
The UGC has asked the vice-chancellors of the universities to ensure the implementation of FSS Act, 2006 in food establishments on campuses of universities and colleges affiliated to them. “The FSSAI would also organise training for food handlers working in food establishments of educational institutions to provide safe and wholesome food to students.”
To obtain the licence, institutions will have to contact the FSSAI, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, New Delhi.
M S Kembalkar, assistant commissioner, FDA city unit, told TOI that it is mandatory for college and university canteens to get the license from the FSSAI. “The FDA unit has started conducting frequent inspections at universities and colleges to ensure that the canteens are complying with norms. If any food establishment is found without license, the owner is given 15 days to obtain the same. A criminal case can be filed for failing to apply for the licence within this period,” he said,
TAMILNADU

TRICHY: Ahead of Diwali, thefood safety wing of Trichy has issued an advisory to the people to be cautious about the quality of raw and cooked food items they buy from outlets across the district. The officials have asked the people to check the standard of packed food items they buy, especially edible oil, as they feel that not enough attention is given to verifying the date of manufacture and expiry as well as FSSAI imprint when it comes to oil products.

“People don’t notice such information on the label of the packages. Another important thing is that people can also note down the batch number mentioned on the label as it will be helpful in case of any incidence of food poisoning due to such oils,” said designated officer of Trichy Dr C Suresh Babu.
During the Diwali festival, people will be attracted to a range of sweets made with a variety of permitted colours. The overdose of permitted colours in the sweets and savouries will lead to health complications. So, people have been advised to avoid the sweet items in concentrated colours. Food safety officers (FSOs) in every area have been directed to visit the shops and take samples for testing which only would reveal the level of colour used in the items.
Another item that demands extra care while buying is ghee. Agmark-branded gheeis the edible variety while many shops sell the ghee meant for non-edible purpose too.
“Many people do not bother to check if the ghee is endorsed by Agmark,” said DO Dr Suresh Babu.
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