Food Safety News – India updates – Dec -14-2016

GENERAL

No advice given regarding warning labels on fast food, says MoS Anupriya Patel

New Delhi : Centre’s Minister of State (Health and Family Welfare), Anupriya Patel, in a written reply to the Lok Sabhha on Friday said that no advice has been given regarding warning labels on fast foods .
The minister said that ‘Fast Food’ has not been defined under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 and Regulations there-under.
However, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has issued draft guidelines titled “Guidelines for making available wholesome, nutritious, safe and hygienic food to school children in India in October 2015, wherein the availability of most common HFSS (High in Fat, Salt and Sugar) Foods in schools and an area within 50 meters thereof has been restricted/limited.
The World Health Organization has recently developed guidelines on ‘Sugar intake for Adults and Children’ and the adverse impact of high sugar in foods, said the release.
The need to avoid food high in fat, salt and sugar; aerated beverages; promotion of healthy lifestyle and various other aspects of food safety are disseminated to all concerned through workshops, media campaigns, documentary films, educational booklets, stalls at fairs/melas/events, mass awareness campaigns,etc, the minister said in her reply.

AP

Tirupati temple may have to get FSSAI license to serve, make laddus

 
Soon, your Tirupati laddu may come with a food safety mark. A report published in The Hindu said that the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam, which runs the renowned temple will have to obtain a license from the Food Safety Association of India (FSSAI).
Suneeti Toteja, director of the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), a central body which regulates manufacturing, processing, distribution and sale of food in India, has written to the food commissioner of Andhra Pradesh, stating that the temple authority must adhere to the safety standards prescribed the Food Safety Standards Act, 2006.
Since laddu is a “food” under the act, the temple administration has to buy a license to distribute it, the letter continued. TTD is officially a Food Business Operator (FBO), as per the Act and is bound to follow the safety standards, the letter added.
Toteja letter had come in response to a Right To Information (RTI) application filed with the FSSAI complaining about the alleged unhygienic conditions under which the laddus are made by the TTD, the board which runs the renowned temple, The Hindu report said. Bengaluru-based T Narasimhamurthy had submitted the application.
According to food safety act, only those wearing clean clothes and not suffering from any kind of infections shall be allowed to manufacture and pack food, a Bangalore Mirror report stated. Narasimhamurthy has said that the laddus must have a expiry date, while a bill must be provided when it is purchased.
The Tirupati laddu has a 300-year history behind it, and is believed to have been invented in the 18th century. The laddu, offered to devotees as prasadam, is known for its unique taste, the tabloid added.
However, according to latest reports, the TTD has refused entry to food inspectors on the grounds that the temple kitchen is an auspicious place. The board also refused to consider the laddu as a food, since it believed devotees cannot be considered customers.
Narasimhamurthy is waiting for a reply from the food inspectors regarding the hygiene conditions in the kitchen.

GHMC slaps notice against Shah Ghouse hotel

The veterinary wing of the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) has slapped a notice against Shah Ghouse Hotel and Restaurant located opposite Biodiversity Park, Gachibowli, for not procuring meat for preparing non-vegetarian items from the GHMC recognised slaughter houses.
Meat has to be procured from the GHMC recognised slaughter houses only where the animals are slaughtered after thorough examination and hygienic meat is being provided under the supervision of the veterinary wing of the GHMC.
Meanwhile, GHMC directed the owner not to procure the unstamped (unsealed) meat from the illegally slaughtered animals, which may lead to to health hazards and it is against the provision of GHMC Act, 1955 and the provisions of Food safety and Standards Act 2006 and Rules 2011.
KERALA

AG questions Horticorp’s claim of safe vegetables

Pesticide level of vegetables may be higer than permissible limit
‘Safe-to-eat vegetables’ sold by the Kerala State Horticultural Development Corporation (Horticorp) may not be as safe as the company’s promotional flyer claims.
The Accountants General, Kerala, has told the government that the pesticide level of vegetables sold through Horticorp outlets labelled thus may be much above the legally permissible limit.
In September this year, the AG’s auditors had partnered with food safety inspectors to randomly gauge the pesticide residue in common place vegetables such as cucumber and green chilli sold through Horticorp outlets. The results sent by the AG to the Agriculture Department recently showed a shockingly high content of toxic chemicals (acephate, profenophos and thiamethoxam) that are incrementally detrimental to public health when consumed over a sustained period.
The auditors found that the vegetables were procured from middlemen and not from farmers as the company claimed. They termed the sale of farm produce of questionable quality through the statutory corporation’s outlets as “an attempt to deceive the public”. The AG also found that the Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) adopted in principle by the government to prevent the indiscriminate use of chemicals and fertilizers were “yet to be implemented”.
Importantly, the AG found lapses in the settlement of vegetable purchase bills. “The purchases were made from one person and payment made to another,” the auditors told the government. Competent authorities rarely authorised payment vouchers. Stock registers and purchases details were not properly maintained. The possibility of accounting procurement based on bogus bills could not be ruled out.
In at least one case, Horticorp had recorded the names of the supplier and the amount paid to them. But its managers did not mention the quantity procured or the name of vegetables bought.
Horticorp draws huge subsidies from the government annually to ostensibly stabilise vegetable prices during festival seasons. Some such dubious transactions are already under Vigilance scrutiny.
Principal Secretary, Agriculture, Raju Narayanaswamy told The Hindu that the government was aware that vegetables cultivated using pesticides were often mislabelled and sold as organic produce at high rates. The government will ban pesticide companies from demonstrating their products in farms, he said.
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