Food Safety News – India updates – Jan 22

GENERAL

FSSAI to define ‘junk food’ to ease fat tax implementation: Srcs

 
With the government considering a proposal to implement fat tax on junk food, sources say the Food Safety & Standard Authority of India (FSSAI) is working on defining the term ‘junk food’. 
Without a proper definition, tax implementation could become challenging for the government. Sources say FSSAI will consider a definition for High Fat, Sugar & Salt (HFFS) foods. 
It will also look at international standards and classifications while penning down the definition. 
This is likely to lead to change in labelling of packaged foods as they will have to mention it on their labels. 
Some clarity from the food regulator is expected in 1-2 months
HARYANA

Gurgaon: MCG will set up lab to check food adulteration

The lab can assist the MCG in expanding their dedicated street food vending zones across the city. 
If you are suspicious of the quality of food or beverage being served and feel it is adulterated, you can soon find out the chemical and metallic contents of the item with the help of the Municipal Corporation of Gurugram (MCG).
The MCG will partner with a leading pharmaceutical company recommended by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) to set up a food and water testing laboratory in Gurgaon.
Although the service will be open to public, from MCG’s perspective, the lab can assist in expanding and replicating their dedicated street food vending zones across the city.
“Once food and water served at the street vending zones are certified that they are within the permissible safety limit and do not include high content of metals or other harmful elements, the MCG is looking to expand the scope of the project to other parts of the city,” Vivek Kalia, joint commissioner of the MCG, said.
At the two street vending zones in sectors 38 and 4, the hawking zones offer snacks and beverages at nominal rates.
At each zone, 20 hawkers have set up stalls and serve a range of dishes, including paranthas, vegetarian dishes, maggi, bread and egg, hot and cold beverages, rajma chawal and kadhi chawal, costing between Rs 15 and Rs 70. The MCG has earmarked 31 areas where the zones can be replicated.
Kalia said the new lab will be accredited by the National Accreditation Board for Laboratories (NABL) and adhere to ISO guidelines.
Some of the technologically advanced instruments in the project will include high pressure liquid chromatography (used to separate, identify, and quantify each component in a mixture), ultra water purifying system (used to identify mineral content in liquids), and a dedicated microbiological department that will identify bacteria and microbes in an item.
The MCG said public can test their samples at nominal rates and results can be returned within a month. It is expected to open towards 2017-end, though the MCG is yet to finalise a location to establish the lab.
 

J & K

Baker, restaurateur, two vegetable sellers booked for violation of food safety act

“A joint checking squad on the instructions of Divisional Commissioner Kashmir today conducted market inspection in various areas of Srinagar city,” said an official spokesman.
Baker, restaurateur, two vegetable sellers booked for violation of food safety act
Two vegetable sellers, a baker and a restaurateur were booked and penalized for violation of Food Safety and Standards Act in Srinagar on Saturday.
“A joint checking squad on the instructions of Divisional Commissioner Kashmir today conducted market inspection in various areas of Srinagar city,” said an official spokesman.
The team comprising officials of Legal Metrology, Food Civil Supplies & Consumer Affairs and Food Safety Standard Departments conducted the drive to book erring traders for violating various consumer protection and food safety standard laws, he added.
KERALA

CIFT declared national level referral laboratory

A major mandate of the institute is dispute resolution whenever there is variance in test reports of two laboratories
KOCHI: The city-based Central Institute of Fisheries Technology (CIFT) under the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) has been notified as a national level referral food laboratory through a government of India notification.
The mandate of the institute is notified as for the whole of India and the scope of testing includes physio-chemical analysis, bacteriological tests, detection of viruses, bacterial toxins, and anti-bacterial substances, other microbiological tests, and analysis of pesticide residue and heavy metals in fish and fishery products, said a press release here.
A major mandate of the referral laboratory is dispute resolution whenever there is variance in the test reports of two laboratories. According to the Food Safety Act, the designated officer can send the sample to the referral laboratory for opinion against any appeal on the report submitted by the food analyst.
The decision of the referral laboratory is deemed to be final in cases where opinion is sought for settling a dispute or when samples are submitted through the legal route.
The other functions of the referral laboratory include analysis of samples of food sent by any officer or authority authorised by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India for the purpose and submission of certificates of analysis to the authorities concerned; investigation for the purpose of fixing the standard of any article of fish and fishery product; investigation in collaboration with laboratories of food analysts in various States and such other laboratories and institutions which the food authority may approve on its behalf.
Meanwhile, CIFT Director C.N. Ravishankar was cited in a press release as saying that technologies developed by the institute had played a pivotal role in modernising the harvest and post-harvest sectors of fishery in India, making the country a major exporter of processed fish and fish products.

UTTAR PRADESH

FBOs cannot use oils with total polar compounds exceeding 25%: FSSAI

In a bid to bring clarity over the repeated use of cooking oils, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has proposed that vegetable oils whose total polar compounds (TPC) are in excess of 25 per cent cannot be used by the food business operators (FBOs) for the purpose of frying.
The draft notification issued by the regulator stated that the following details be included under the Food Safety and Standards (Licensing and Registration of Food Businesses) Regulations, 2011, under Schedule 4, Part V, Clause II, Sub-clause 3(j). However, vegetable oil having over 25 per cent TPC cannot be used.
Several food inspectors received complaints last year regarding repeated use of the cooking oils by the FBOs, which prompted FSSAI to take further action in this regard. Further, to streamline the standards for cooking oils, the regulator observed that the regulations had no particular provisions to limit the use of cooking oils.
J P Singh, food safety officer (FSO), Uttar Pradesh, said, “The notification was released just three months after the concerns over the repeated usage of cooking oils were reported by FSOs to the FSSAI. This shows the speed at which the Centre is addressing issues. On studying the detailed analysis of the cooking oils, the prescribed limit was shared with the industry for their comments and suggestions.”
Meanwhile, the regulator has directed FSOs not to draw samples to test the oils till the limits are prescribed by it. Also, the regulation to impose limits on the reuse of the cooking oils, considering the TPC of the used oil, clearly states that the regulator has clarified its intention to build the legal infrastructure to ensure safe food for all.
Moreover, biodiesel manufacturers are keen to develop a parallel legislation, which will address the concerns regarding the repeated use of cooking oils by making use of the used cooking oils from the hotels and restaurants as their raw material to manufacture biodiesel. The hotels and restaurants have welcomed this move and has responded positively in this regard.
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