Food Safety Enforcement News – India – Weekly updates

ANDAMAN & NICOBAR ISLANDS

Food Safety Officials recovers huge amount of contraband tobacco products

 
Port Blair : The Food Safety Officials under the overall supervision of Commissioner Food Safety conducted surprise raids at various places in South Andaman District and recovered huge amount of contraband tobacco products from shopkeepers as well as general public.
The Commissioner Food Safety has deputed two Food Safety Officers at Air Cargo Complex and at Haddo Wharf for regular checking of cargoes arriving from mainland through air or ship. On 24/02/2017, the Food Safety Officer on duty at Air Cargo Complex detected two suspected unclaimed parcels which was opened and found that loose tobacco products about 300 gms in a jar of Boost and from another package recovered 20 tins of Baghban brand zarda.
On 27/02/2017 at Marine Hill area, a surprise raid was conducted at the food premises of Smti.Hemawathi, R/o Marine Hill and recovered 11 packets of readymade zarda pan.
As per an information received from the Dog Squad, SB, CID, Port Blair a parcel addressed to Shri. A.Majid R/o Sisty Nagar was recovered from the Head Post Office, which was opened in the presence of Post Master, accused and police personnel and recovered 150 Nos. of Baghban(69) brand zarda.
The accused person admitted that the contraband product was his own. Again on 28/02/2017 the Station House Officer, CCS, Port Blair informed arrival of some suspected items at Bambooflat area and a team consisting of Food Safety Officer, Station House Officer, CCS, Port Blair and other Police personnel reached Bambooflat from there the SHO led the team to Bambooflat Post Office, where two unclaimed parcels were found which was opened and found 142 pouches Baghban zarda.
All the contraband items were seized under the appropriate section of the Act and legal proceedings are being initiated against the offenders under Food Safety and Standards Act’2006.
Further, the general public as well as business communities are requested not to involve in the trade of contraband tobacco products and if any information is available with them may be communicated to Mobile No. 9434280018 of Commissioner Food Safety or telephone No. 03192-238881/231024(Food Safety Section) or 1070 (Toll Free).
DELHI

Food inspector gives clean chit to Delhi’s Kake-Da-Hotel, declares it most hygienic places

The court withdrew the order after a food safety inspector submitted report revealing that the eating joint was now one of the most hygienic places in the city.
HIGHLIGHTS
  • The eating joint was now one of the most hygienic places in the city: Court
  • The department had issued a notice on February 22 for emergency prohibition to Mehak Cuisines Pvt Ltd
  • There was no evidence of dough being kneaded by foot.
Putting an end to the controversy related to the hygiene standards of the famous eatery-Kake-Da-Hotel on Connaught Circus, the Delhi High Court ordered withdrawal of notice issued to it by food safety department.
The court withdrew the order after a food safety inspector submitted report revealing that the eating joint was now one of the most hygienic places in the city.
To this, Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva said, “Hygiene and safety standards have to be maintained across all eating joints in the city and the food safety department cannot just pick and choose restaurants or other eating joints to implement this.
The food safety officer also assured the court that it would inspect all eateries and restaurants and action would be taken against those not complying with the mandatory safety and hygenic standard requirements.
WHAT HAPPENED
The famous food eatery had entered a controversy after a video went viral on social media showing a man allegedly kneading dough with his feet atop the hotel’s terrace. The video attracted notice from the food safety department of the Delhi government. In its defence, the eatery said it has complied with all requirements, barring two deficiencies being lack of hands-free taps and a chimney, which it said would be rectified within a week.
The department had issued a notice on February 22 for emergency prohibition to Mehak Cuisines Pvt Ltd, which runs the eatery.
During the brief hearing on Thursday, the food safety officer (FSO) told the court that when he inspected the premises on February 28, there was a dough kneading machine installed, though it was not there during earlier inspections.
Advocate Chander M Lall, appearing for Mehak Cuisines, said there was no evidence of dough being kneaded by foot. He also said the standards which Kake da Hotel was being asked to maintain, was not being followed in other eating joints, including the lawyers’ canteen of the Delhi High Court.
 
New Delhi, Mar 2 : Hygiene and safety standards have to be maintained across all eating joints in the city and the Food Safety department cannot just pick and choose restaurants or other eating joints to implement this, the Delhi High Court said today.
Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva made the observation while ordering withdrawal of notices issued against Kake da Hotel, a popular eating joint in the heart of the capital, over alleged lack of hygiene and safety standards.
A controversy had recently erupted due to a video allegedly showing dough being kneaded by foot atop the hotel in Connaught Place.
“You cannot pick and choose between restaurants. You have to ensure that same standards are maintained everywhere,” the court told the Food Safety department of Delhi government.
The eatery said it has complied with all requirements, barring two deficiencies of lack of non-hand operated taps and a chimney, which it said would be rectified within a week.
The submission was endorsed by the Food Safety department which said that the eating joint was now “one of the most hygienic places” in the city.
The department also assured the court that it would inspect all eateries and restaurants and action would be taken against those not complying with the mandatory safety and hygenic standard requirements.
In response, the court said if the department actually inspected and took action, like it did in the instant case, then it expected to see hundreds of petitions before it soon.
The department had issued a notice on February 22 for emergency prohibition to Mehak Cuisines Pvt Ltd, which runs the eatery, in the wake of a video which allegedly showed dough being kneaded by foot by a worker of the hotel.
During the brief hearing today, the Food Safety Officer (FSO) told the court that when he inspected the premises on February 28, there was a dough kneading machine installed, though it was not there during earlier inspections.
Advocate Chander M Lall, appearing for Mehak Cuisines, said there was no evidence of dough being kneaded by foot. He also said the standards which Kake-da-Hotel was being asked to maintain, was not being followed in other eating joints, including the lawyers’ canteen of the Delhi High Court.
He said in no other hotel in the city do the food handlers wear masks and added that it was impossible to wear them for long hours at a stretch. 

HARYANA

Food labs lack modern equipments to test food samples

 Haryanas food laboratories are “not equipped” with modern instruments to test food samples as per the provisions of the Food Safety and Standards Act and it poses “health hazards,” to public, says latest CAG report.

In its performance audit report, the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) also rapped Haryana Food and Drug Administration department for neither conducting any survey to identify food business establishments nor having any on them.
To assess the efficiency and effectiveness of enforcement of the FSS Act, 2006, the government auditor checked the records of the Commissioner, Food and Drug Administration at Chandigarh and Karnal and designated officers and food business operators (FBOs) in districts of Ambala, Faridabad, Gurugram and Sonepat durimng 2011-2016.
To regulate the manufacture, storage, distribution and sale of food articles and to ensure availability of safe and wholesome food for human consumption, the government of India had enacted FSS Act, 2006.
While scrutinising the records of Haryana Food Laboratory, Chandigarh and district food labs at Karnal, the auditors found there was no facility for conducting residual analysis tests for pesticide residues, mycotoxins, metallic contamination, antibiotic residue and food additives in labs.
These tests were neither being conducted in the government labs nor were getting conducted from accredited labs, said the report.
The records further revealed that neither any survey was conducted nor any data regarding the total number of FBOs in the state was available with the department.
The food lab was not equipped with modern sophisticated instruments for testing food samples according to the prescribed standards, said the report.
Non-compliance with key provisions of the act endangers the quality of food and poses health hazard to general public,” the report concluded.
MAHARASHTRA

Food wrapped in newspapers can cause poisoning if consumed

Think twice before you eat at the street vendor again. Newspapers aren’t meant to be plates or wrapping papers for a reason.
Roadside chhole-kulche served on a newspaper plate, bhelpuri served in a newspaper cone, break pakoras served on newspaper plates–all of this and more is causing your stomach to get upset repeatedly, without you even realising it.
Last year, the Food Safety and Standard Authority of India (FSSAI) had banned the use of newspapers for wrapping, packing, serving and storing food items. It even directed commissioners of food safety of all States and Union territories to take necessary steps to ensure the same.
More recently, The Pune Cantonment Board issued a public notice advising people to avoid eating food (especially fried) packed in newspapers.
What we don’t realise is, the printing ink on that newspaper contains harmful chemicals–dyes, alcohol, pigments, binders, preservatives and additives. When consumed in small quantities, these substances cause minor stomach upsets. An overdose, however, can cause stomach poisoning and repeated, regular consumption can lead to cancer-related health complications. Older people and children are at a greater risk of being poisoned this way, because their immune system is weaker.
“Wrapping food in newspapers is an unhealthy practice, and the consumption of such food is injurious to health, even if the food has been cooked hygienically,” the Food, Safety and Standard Authority of India (FSSAI) said in an advisory, reports The Logical Indian.
So, the next time you’re out and about and feel like indulging in street food, steer absolutely clear of newspapers!

FDA still unsure if drinking water cans need to be sealed

Nagpur: To curb the sale of non-potable water, the ministry of health and family welfare has made it mandatory to sell packaged drinking water in sealed containers. However, the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) seems to be washing its hands of enforcing the new law.
A notification issued by the ministry on November 15, 2016, describes amendments made in the Food Safety and Standards (Food Products Standards and Food Additives) Regulations, 2011. Defining ‘packaged drinking water’ as “water, other than natural mineral water, that is likely used for human consumption and is offered or sold in a packaged form”, the new regulations state that it has to be filled in sealed containers.
In September last year, TOI was the first to report how city’s water filtration units were selling drinking water in chilled cans and jars. The units were running without licenses from Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) or Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), which are mandatory for selling packaged drinking water. The unhygienic and unmonitored conditions at the units raised serious concerns over the quality of ‘drinking’ water that was being sold to people.
While many feel that the “new definition ends all ambiguity”, allowing authorities to take action against such units, FDA still seems unclear. “The rules are for packaged drinking water and will not necessarily include water sold in cans or jars. We will have to look into it,” said Motiram Chapla Pawar, assistant commissioner of FDA, Nagpur.
On the other hand, associations of packaged drinking water have countered that the regulations are applicable for water that is packed in any form and sold for human consumption. The Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006, defines package as “pre-packed box, bottle, casket, tin, barrel, case, etc”.
“The definition widely covers everything and water sold in chilled cans or jars also come under packaged drinking water. All these years, FDA did not take action due to lacunae in the rules. But now it is clear that water has to be sold in sealed containers only,” said Apurva Doshi, chief coordinator of Federation of All India Packaged Drinking Water Manufacturers Association.
Replying to a RTI query regarding action on illegal water manufacturing units, the FDA stated that it will act after March 1, when the new rules come into force. “If they are still not sure if it comes under their purview, why did they assure to take action,” said hydrogeologist Vishal Doifode.
Santosh Sinha, president of Packaged Drinking Water Manufacturer’s Welfare Association, Nagpur, said that around 750 units are operating in the city without BIS or FSSAI license. Doshi said while 5,500 plants in the country are approved by BIS, another 10,000 or so are running without licenses
 

TRIPURA

Formalin found in fish samples in Agartala: Minister

Replying to a calling attention notice, Tripura Health Minister Badal Chowdhury said as many as 40 samples of fishes were collected by designated officers from February 8 to 25 from different markets and out of the 40 samples, formalin was found in 11 samples tested by experts of Regional Food Testing Laboratory here
Agartala, Feb 28 Poisonous and non-decomposing chemical agent, formalin, having harmful affect on human body was found in the samples of fish collected from different markets here, state assembly was informed today.
Replying to a calling attention notice, Tripura Health Minister Badal Chowdhury said as many as 40 samples of fishes were collected by designated officers from February 8 to 25 from different markets and out of the 40 samples, formalin was found in 11 samples tested by experts of Regional Food Testing Laboratory here.
The Minister said the government has taken sufficient steps to keep close eye on the use of formalin in fishes produced locally and imported from Bangladesh.
Food Safety Officers and district administration were asked to collect fish samples randomly and check if there is formalin or not. The government will not allow unhygienic fishes to be sold in the markets”, he said.
Government has initiated a process to appoint Food Safety Officer in each sub-division to ensure proper vigilance on food adulteration.
Explaining the legal provisions under the Food Safety Security Act & Rules 2011, Chowdhury said if anyone is found guilty under the Act, the defaulter may face a penalty of Rs one lakh to Rs 10 lakh or imprisonment or both.
Sessions judges are designated to hear such cases and dispose it at the earliest, he added.

KERALA

Directive to ensure food safety during Pongala

Health Minister K.K. Shylaja has instructed the Food Safety Commissioner to take necessary steps to ensure food safety during the Attukal Pongala.
Food safety registration has been made compulsory for organisations and individuals distributing food and drinking water during the Pongala .
A temporary counter will be opened on the temple premises on March 2 for this purpose.
Pamphlets
Pamphlets will be distributed to the public to spread awareness of food safety.
Samples of the raw materials used to make prasadam during the festival will be collected and tested.
Special food safety squads have been deployed in the festival area.
The Minister has also given instructions to conduct food safety checks in the Beemapally Uroos festival area.
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