Food Safety Enforcement News – India this week

GENERAL

FSSAI to launch initiative on safe and nutritious food at home

Food regulator FSSAI will launch an initiative on ‘safe and nutritious food at home’ tomorrow to create awareness about healthy food items and ways to test common adulterants at home.
The initiative which is being launched in pilot mode in Chanakyapuri here will be gradually extended to the National Capital Region and country-wide in the days to come. (PTI)
Food regulator FSSAI will launch an initiative on ‘safe and nutritious food at home’ tomorrow to create awareness about healthy food items and ways to test common adulterants at home. The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is banking on resident welfare associations and other local bodies to disseminate information on safe and nutritious food. The regulator plans to reach out to 40 crore households in the country under its drive. The initiative which is being launched in pilot mode in Chanakyapuri here will be gradually extended to the National Capital Region and country-wide in the days to come.
Going forward, initiatives will also be launched to promote safe food at schools, offices, eateries and religious places, among others. “We have created guidance documents around what is required to be done at home, at workplace, at school or outside. Tomorrow we launch the initiative around safe and nutritious food at home on a pilot basis,” FSSAI CEO Pawan Agarwal said. He was addressing a conference on ‘Ensuring Hygiene & Safety For Our Industrial Workforce’ here.
 
“We all recognise that in India, the levels of hygiene in general are poor. We have to go long, long way as far as that (industrial and common hygiene) is concerned,” Agarwal said. Speaking on the sidelines of the conference, the FSSAI CEO said: “We are expecting resident welfare associations and local associations will take on this responsibility. We will provide them the material. We are releasing the guidelines, like on how to test common adulterants at home”.
FSSAI will provide a green book to every household and create a dedicated website for safe and nutritious food at home. Similarly for schools, it will prepare a negative list of high fat, sugar and salt foods — commonly referred as junk food — to ensure food safety and nutrition in and around schools, including lunch boxes and canteens. It plans to make licence from FSSAI compulsory for food businesses involved in mid-day meal scheme.

Lack of seller database hurt food safety fight

NEW DELHI: It seems Delhi is fighting a losing battle when it comes to food safety. According to the CAG report, the department concerned has a number of glaring lapses, starting with a lack of proper implementation of norms and a manpower crunch. As a result, it has failed to cover food business operators (FBOs) dealing in food items like midday meals in schools, packaged drinking water, alcoholic drinks and milk.
The audit, conducted for the period from August 2011 to March 2016, found lapses in the regulatory and administrative mechanism, inadequacy of infrastructure and shortcomings in the issue of licences and registration certificates.
The findings are certainly shocking. For instance, the audit found that the department had failed to prepare a database of all FBOs. “The projected figure of 2 lakh FBOs in Delhi could not be verified in audit,” says the CAG report, adding that the department had issued 49,796 licences and registration certificates (RCs) with a 75% shortfall in coverage of 1.5 lakh FBOs under the new Act up to March 2016.
More worryingly, the department hasn’t covered FBOs engaged in supply of midday meals in schools, fair price shops and anganwadi centres in Delhi. The report has pointed out there are 33 institutions providing midday meal to about 1,000 government and 216 government-aided schools. The department, in its reply to CAG, said that a nodal officer was appointed in March 2016 for checking samples of midday meals and anganwadis. Five samples were lifted for checking. “The reply is not tenable as lifting of only five samples from food supplied to 14,466 units cannot be deemed to be adequate coverage of FBOs,” its report added.
In the area of packaged drinking water, the audit found the department didn’t cover DJB, which sells it, due to lack of staff. Shockingly, the department also didn’t have a database of all outlets of Mother Dairy and Amul Milk, though it is supposed to check samples of milk and submit such a list. Neither did the department check whether all FBOs dealing in alcoholic drinks and wine had the requisite licence.
Besides, the accreditation of the state food laboratory was not renewed beyond March 2014 as there had been no upgradation in the lab due to a shortage of technical staff and lack of equipment. The report also found there were long delays in issuance of licences and RCs, as well as in inspections

DELHI

Delhi Restaurants Being Closely Monitored After Gross Dough-Kneading Incident

 
A few weeks earlier, a majorly revolting video of a man kneading dough with his feet went viral on social media. And what posed as an even bigger shock was that the employee allegedly belonged to one of Delhi’s most popular Mughlai and North Indian food joints, Kake Da Hotel.
Following a major uproar among consumers, the Food and Safety Department of Delhi intervened and put Kake Da Hotel under the scanner and sent its food samples for testing in laboratories. And now, while they are at it, the department has also collected samples from four other restaurants in Connaught Place – KFC, Ardor, Hotel Marina and Flying Saucer QBA (formerly known as Q’ba) – and sent them for tests on March 1.
SKIM
Among the food samples sent for inspection, there were testers of chicken strips, aloo sabji, paneer tikka and methi malai tikka. “We are taking food samples from all districts. On Friday, food safety officers visited central, south-east and north districts. We want to ensure that the food is safe and all standards are maintained,” said Dr. Mrinalini Darswal, Commissioner, Department of Food Safety in Delhi.
Officials revealed that this step has been taken not only in shadow of the Kake Da Hotel incident but also because a consumer filed a complaint on February 1 against fast food chain KFC, claiming that a worm was found inside a chicken piece. “We have collected samples of chicken wings from the outlet. The report will come in 15 days,” said Pawan Kamra, Deputy Commissioner, Department of Food Safety.

HARYANA

Food dept holds raids ahead of Holi

Noida: Ahead of Holi, teams from the food safety and drug administration(FSDA) conducted raids on Tuesday and collected samples of dairy products and sweets from shops across Noida and Jewar.
Around 15 samples were collected from at least seven different shops in Sector 18 and Jewar and dairies in Mehndipur and Ravera villages. Mahendra Srivastava, FSDA officer (G B Nagar) said the samples included cream, mixed milk, cooking oil, sweets and cookies.
“The samples will be sent to a government laboratory in Lucknow for testing. Action will be taken against the shopowners if the samples are found adulturated,” he said.
The raids were part of routine action against possible adulteration of food items ahead of festivals such as Holi and Diwali, officials said.

Sweetmeat shops raided ahead of HoliChetna Choudhry

Gurgaon: A special crack team, led my officials from the department of food safety, carried out raids on shops across Gurgaon on Friday to check adulteration in food items savoured during Holi.
During the daily-long drive, the officials collected samples of milk, gujiya, khoya — the most sold edibles during Holi — among others. “The collected samples will be sent to the food testing laboratory in Chandigarh,” said K K Sharma, the food safety officer, Gurgaon.
Sources said the team visited the Amul plant in Manesar, a sweet-cum-bakery shop, Gopala, in Nirvana Courtyard, Bikanervala on Sohna Road, Om Sweets outlets and Chaudhary Gohana Famous Jalebi shop in Sector 46 market.
“Check for FSSAI licence number, expiry and best before dates, ISI or AGMARK logos,” said a senior food safety official.

KERALA

KOCHI: The food safety department of Ernakulam has plans to develop three grama panchayats in the district into model food safety panchayats by the end of the month. The three panchayats – Nayarambalam, Chengamanad and Avoly – were selected by the food safety department, Ernakulam.
Seminars and awareness classes will be held extensively this month for the public, food vendors and hoteliers towards achieving the goal.
“The project is being carried out as a three-fold programme. In the first stage, we will give awareness to the community at different levels – initially to food business operators. Then we move on to the educational institutions, which will include colleges, schools and anganwadis, wherein both the working staff and the students will be given guidelines on healthy eating,” said assistant food safety commissioner, Ernakulam, Shibu K V said.
Other local bodies functioning in the area including Kudumbashree, resident associations and other clubs will also be included in the purview of the awareness campaign. Around 14 food safety officers along with local primary health care doctors have been deployed in the area for the same.
“Important sources of drinking water in the area are also surveyed as part of the project. Food samples are also being collected from shops that are suspected of storing stale items,” Shibu added.
The initiative, which is being done as a pilot project, will be extended to every other panchayat in the district after the evaluation of the results of the drive. “If the initiative is found to be effective after assessing the evaluation report, the project will be extended to other panchayats so as to cover all rural areas in the city,” Shibu said.

Tanker trucks to be penalised for supplying impure water

KOCHI: The district collectorhas directed the food safety assistant commissioner to slap penalties on tanker trucksinvolved in supplying contaminated water. Collector K Mohammed Y Safirulla said that a fine of up to Rs 1 lakh could be imposed if tankers are found to supply impure or contaminated water. The order has been issued as per section 33 of the Disaster Management Act.
He also said that penal measures could be initiated as per section 69 in Food Safety and Standards Act, Food Safety and Standards (Licensing and Registration of Food Business) Regulations.
Following warnings that the state was heading for a drought, the state disaster management authority had decided to declare drought as natural calamity. And the state government directed district administration to ensure supply of potable water on a war-footing. Due to depleting sources and protests by people residing in Kochi’s suburbs the tankers faced difficulty in sourcing water. It was alleged that the trucks drew water from unused quarries and other polluted sources. The district administration ordered an enquiry into these allegations.
“As temperature soars there is scarcity in supply of drinking water. It is found that tanker trucks are exploiting the situation by supplying contaminated water,” said the collector. He also said that the practice could lead to outbreak of contagious diseases. “As public health is a major concern the food safety assistant commissioner has been asked to step in,” added the collector.
The city residents have been raising concern about the quality of drinking water. As there was no effective system to check the quality of water, they wanted the district administration to initiate measures to get safe drinking water. They had demanded that the source of water should be made known, and the veracity of the claims should be verified.
MAHARASHTRA

FDA seizes Rs 40L tobacco products, lens on Gujarat, Karnataka routes

Nashik: The food and drug administration (FDA) officials on Monday seized paan masala and scented tobacco worth Rs 40 lakh from a truck near Maldhakka Road on Monday.
Stating that the confiscated products will be destroyed on Wednesday, the officials said they would continue to work on inputs of smuggling of these products from other states where its production not banned.
Joint commissioner of FDA (Food) Uday Vanjari got a tip off on Monday that a huge consignment of banned products was going to arrive in Nashik. Accordingly, a trap was laid and a truck carrying the consignment was intercepted.
Food safety officer Vivek Patil said the consignment belonged to Ramvilas Lohia of the Nashik Road area. Last year as well the FDA had seized banned products worth Rs 3 lakh that were to be delivered to him.
Uday Vanjari said these products arrive from various states such as Gujarat and Karanataka. “While paan masala and scented tobaccos are banned in Maharashtra, it is not the case in other states following which we cannot target the manufacturing units,” he said.
“These products have standards of manufacturing under the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), due to which we cannot take action against such products,” he added.
In Nashik, the FDA officials rely only on intelligence considering they do not have check posts. Meanwhile, the officials involved in the raid included Vanjari, Patil, assistant commissioner YK Bendkule, DK Sonawane, among others.
Officials said they were continuously taking action against people who were into the business of such products. However, paan masala and scented tobacco was still sold in various parts of the city and the district secretly.
The FDA officials appealed to the people to contact them if they come across someone who are involved into the sale of paan masala and scented tobacco. In the past, the FDA officials have also conducted various raids and seized gutkha products from across the district.
 
TRIPURA

Tripura stops fish import from Bangladesh after formaldehyde scare

Agartala: After traces of formalin were found in fish imported from Bangladesh, the Tripura government has banned imports from that country through its seven Land Customs Stations (LCSs), a minister said here on Friday.
Health and Revenue Minister Badal Choudhury said the preservative — formalin or formaldehyde, mixed with water and used for preservation of biological specimens — was found in fish imported from Bangladesh. It is dangerous for human consumption.
“Health officials have been asked to take stringent legal action against those using formalin and other illegal preservatives.
“The government has asked customs and other authorities to prevent the import of fish from Bangladesh through the seven LCSs, except the Agartala-Akhaura Integrated Check Post (ICP),” Choudhury told IANS.
The seven LCSs are in Agartala, Srimantapur, Khowaighat (western Tripura), Kamalpur, Old Raghnabazar (northern Tripura), Belonia and Sabroom (in southern Tripura).
Agartala-Akhaura ICP is the second-largest trading point along the India-Bangladesh border after Petrapole-Benapole land border in West Bengal.
“Since no adequate infrastructure and manpower is present at the seven LCSs, import of fish through these border points would be risky,” he said.
Choudhary said that following media reports, Health Department officials had collected 40 fish samples from Agartala, out of which formalin was found in 11.
Of these 11 samples, five were collected from two main fish markets of Agartala and six from fish imported from Bangladesh,” Choudhury said.
Formalin, a poisonous and anti-decomposition chemical agent, is used as an antiseptic, disinfectant and preservative in various items.
The minister said food safety officers are collecting samples randomly from markets and getting them tested at laboratories.
Under the Food Safety Security Act and Rules, 2011, anyone found guilty faces a penalty of Rs 1 lakh to Rs 10 lakh, or imprisonment, or both.
An official of the Industries and Commerce Department said that, on average, 25,644 kg of fish are imported daily from Bangladesh and 26,180 kg bought from outside the state, including from Andhra Pradesh.
“These fish imported from Bangladesh and brought from other states are being sold in Tripura markets without any lab tests,” the official told IANS on condition of anonymity.
Tripura is surrounded by Bangladesh on three sides, making up for 85 percent of the state’s 856-km international border.
However, there are no LCSs or border fencing in many areas on the India-Bangladesh border along the northeastern states of Tripura, Meghalaya (443 km), Mizoram (318 km) and Assam (263 km) due to which informal trade and smuggling flourishes.
“Informal trade leads to supply of imported fish which are a health hazard,” said Dr Chandan Sarkar, working at the government-run GB Panth Hospital.
UTTAR PRADESH

DISTRICT FOOD SAFETY DEPT ON ITS TOES TO PREVENT ADULTERATION

The incidences of adulteration in edible items increases during the festivals like Holi. The increased demands of milk, its products and other edible things during the festivals of Holi make the adulterators more active during this time. The spurious condensed milk (Mawa), milk, Ghee and butter are the targets of the adulterators during this period of time. Large supplies of such products are made from neighbouring Uttar Pradesh where many clandestine units of these spurious milk products are situated.
In modern times the old practice of preparing sweets at home is fast vanishing and people are dependent on sweet shops for their Holi sweets. The Dietician of the associated hospital of Government Doon Medical College (GDMC), Richa Kukreti said that sweets should be prepared at home so that the chances of eating contaminated stuff are minimized.
The district Food Safety department is also on its toes to prevent the adulteration in food products. However the department’s work is hindered due to shortage of staff. The distirct food safety officer Anoj Thapliyal said that a special vigilance programme is being undertaken in the district in view of the festival of Holi. He said that the teams of the department are visiting shops selling food products and collecting samples.
Thapliyal informed that the teams have collected samples of Mawa, Milk, Edible Oil, Salt, sweets, spices from Hanuman Chowk, Chakrata road, Rajpur road, Dharampur, Vikasnagar, Sahaspur and Rishikesh. He informed that the department has sent the samples to the Rudrapur lab for testing. It is pertinent to mention here that the Rudrapur based testing lab is the only lab in the state to check the food adultration.
The overload of work in the lab ensures that tthe reports take at least six to seven months to arrive due to which the action on perpetrators of adulteration is delayed.

Ahead of Holi, FDSA conducts raids to check food adulteration

 
BAREILLY: Ahead of Holi, the food safety and drug administration (FSDA) department is conducting raids in various sweets and confectionery shops of the city to check food adulteration. The department also revealed that four samples of food, collected from different grocery and confectionery shops last year, were found to be adulterated. The lab report for the test came on Thursday.
FSDA designated officer Mamta Kumari told TOI, “We had collected samples from Balaji confectionary, Chandra Prakash Kirana shop in Biharipur, Shubham Kirana and Sachin Kiran store in Nawabganj in June, July and August, respectively. We got the lab report for the tests on Thursday. Four samples of Namkeen and gramflour were found to be adulterated. Now, we are sending our report to the additional city magistrate.”
Kumari further said that the department has also collected samples of mava (condensed milk) and cheese from various shops in the district on Thursday.
“To check food adulteration ahead of Holi, a team of 10 officials took 13 samples, which have been sent for lab test. Samples were taken from dairies and bakery shops from different parts of the district, including the rural areas,” the officer added.
 
 
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