Food Safety Enforcement News – India this week


CAG: Food dept fell far behind projected licence figure

The Delhi government had introduced the online payment system for licensing and registration of FBOs in the national capital — a move aimed at ensuring transparency in the system 
Audit report says the department issued licences to only 49,796 food operators against the figure of 2 lakh
The shortage of staffers in the Department of Food Safety, government of Delhi, has badly affected the overall licensing process, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has stated in its audit report. The department issued licences to only 49,796 food operators against the projected figure of 2 lakh in 2015-2016.
In addition, no licence was issued to operators dealing in alcohol, flouting the guidelines issued by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI). In December 2012, the FSSAI had decided that all Food Business Operators (FBOs) dealing in alcoholic drinks and wines should obtain licences or Registration Certificates (RC) from the respective authorities.
“Audit scrutiny revealed that the department did not cover FBOs dealing in alcoholic drinks and wines in Delhi. They did not check whether the FBOs concerned had acquired the requisite licences or whether these were still valid. The department attributed non-coverage of such FBOs to shortage of staff,” the CAG report stated.
Last year, the Delhi government had introduced the online payment system for licensing and registration of FBOs in the national Capital, a move aimed at ensuring transparency in the system. The Drug Control and Food Safety Department had also introduced a credit note system in dealings between the food safety officers and the FBOs, which used to be in cash.
“The projected figure of 2 lakh FBOs could not be verified in the audit. Further, the department issued only 49,796 licences and RCs, with a 75 per cent shortfall in coverage of 150,204 FBOs under the new Act, up to March 2016. In the absence of reliable database, the possibility of FBOs operating without licences and RCs cannot be ruled out,” the CAG report stated.
The audit examination also revealed that the department neither evolved any mechanism to collect from previous enforcement agencies the information on FBOs operating under the previous Acts and Orders, nor conducted any survey to prepare a database of all FBOs.
“Audit noticed that in the absence of database of FBOs, the department failed to cover FBOs, in terms of issuance of licences or RCs and lifting of samples, dealing in mass consumption of food items such as mid-day meals in schools, packaged drinking water, alcoholic drinks and wines, and milk,” a senior official said.
The mid-day meal scheme is a central scheme designed to improve the nutritional status of school children. Scrutiny of records also revealed that the Central Advisory Committee (CAC) of FSSAI, in its 10th meeting in September, 2013, emphasised on monitoring of the scheme and other government food supply programmes to ensure safety of food being supplied.
In 2015, the Arvind Kejriwal-led government had made available various licences issued by the Excise Department online, including excise, luxury, and others, to ensure a transparent system.

8 popular eateries in Gurgaon fail quality test, health department to serve them notice and seek reply

8 popular eateries in Gurgaon have failed the quality test conducted by food safety wing of the Health department and now they will be served notices asking for a written reply in the Additional District Magistrate (ADC) court. 
Adulteration of food items and sweets are on the higher side during this festive season of Holi. The food safety wing of the Health department had collected eight samples of sweets and raw food items from prominent restaurants and sweets outlets. The samples have failed on quality parameters.
According to Gurugram civil surgeon Pushpa Bishnoi, the department is going to serve notices to these commercial entities and ask them for written replies in the Additional District Magistrate (ADC) court. The cancellation of licenses for them could be possible if they would fail to satisfy court with their replies.
“It has been evident that adulteration of sweets and use of lowquality, outdated raw food materials rise due to rising demand. The food safety wing has collected samples from 27 existing restaurants and sent to food analyst lab of Haryana in Chandigarh. The samples were taken in presence of Nayab Hahsildaar, during the raid conducted by the wing. Eight among the restaurants and sweet shops have not passed the quality test,” Bishnoi said.
Diwan restaurants in sector 29, Sasural restaurant, City mart hotel near bus stand, (Three star), Delhi Farm in Nirwana country sector 51, Gopal sweets in sector 17, Ansu dairy and Rajasthan dairy and two more restaurants in sector 29 have been listed under the category. The officials have seized Desi Ghee, Paneer, Gujia, raw fish, oats breads, curd and Golguppa water from these commercial establishments.
Bishnoi added that the RWAs of respective areas had complained of the inferior-quality food items

Unregistered street vendors to be penalised

VADODARA: The Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) has decided to take action against those street food vendors who have not registered themselves under the Food Safety and Standards Act (FSSA). The civic body claims that only a small number of such street food joints got themselves registered under the act.
The VMC brought out a circular stating that those street food vendors who had not registered themselves till Wednesday would face action under FSSA if they were found operating. It also stated that they would have to maintain hygienic conditions as prescribed under the FSSA. According to officials, under provisions of FSSA, a person operating a food business without licence could be imprisoned for six months and slapped a fine of up to Rs five lakh.
The VMC has cracked down on street food vendors across the city since about a month. Most of them were operating illegally on roadside in the city. VMC officials said that a large majority of street vendors in the city were those who could be categorised as food business operators.
It is estimated that around 25,000 street vendors exist in the city. “Against this only six thousand have registered themselves under the FSSA. Clearly a majority of them are operating without a registration,” said VMC commissioner Dr Vinod Rao. He pointed out that this could prove to be a health hazard if food from one of them caused illness to several people. The street vendors will have to compulsorily display their registration certificate at their establishment.
The person in whose name it has been taken will also have to keep his identity proof in possession to ascertain that no other person but the licensee was operating the outlet.

VMC teams crack down on ice factories

Vadodara: Teams of food safety officers of Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) cracked down upon ice factories, packaged drinking water plants and cold storages at different locations in the city on Thursday. VMC officials checked eight ice and packaged water factories and three cold storages located in Salatwada, Karelibaug, Pandya Bridge, Chhani Jakatnaka, Gorwa and Makarpura GIDC.
The teams disposed of 130kg of ice made without using chlorinated water and 5,900 pouches of drinking water. Notices were issued to four factories in the city.
These include two that did not maintain hygienic conditions and two that did not have a licence.

Food safety tribunals

Is the State Government really interested in making the two Food Safety Tribunals one in Srinagar and the other in Jammu really functional? We have doubts. The High Court that had decreed their establishment through an earlier order, too, has doubts. That is why it has directed the Commissioner/ Secretary Health and Medical Education (H&ME) to file a personal affidavit after it was informed that despite assuming charge by presiding officers of these tribunals, the tribunals are in shambles and no basic facility is available to them. Even the tribunals are not provided suitable accommodation, leave aside the infrastructural facilities. Though adequate manpower is sanctioned for each tribunal, yet the same has not been provided.
Why does the Government take the Tribunals so non-seriously? It is a matter of public health as it is threatened by adulterated food. There can be no more severe an indictment by the court which has said that the claim of the Government that infrastructure has been provided is only on paper and not on ground. The Tribunals were ordered by the High Court out of its wisdom when it took serious note of food adulteration and its very adverse effects on human health. Moreover, seizure of adulterated food stuff and its destruction was not the wholesome treatment of the menace of food adulteration. The Tribunals have been empowered to adjudicate on the safety of foodstuff provided for public consumption. It is so sad that the Government is not taking the public health seriously and is sunning its responsibility of seeing to it that public health is not threatened. The Tribunals should be provided with all the sanctioned manpower and other facilities that enable them to become functional.

Eateries serving stale food come under scanner in Kottayam

KOTTAYAM: In the wake of unhygienic eateries functioning in the district and reports of excess rates being charged, district collector C A Latha issued strict directions to officials to keep a check on the eateries.
The district-level food advisory committee meeting held at the Civil Station on Wednesday, the collector directed the officials to ensure that the eateries and bakeries display the price list of food items as per the Essential Commodities Act. She has also directed the officials to take stringent action against those who charge excess rates.
She also directed the officials to examine whether any harmful ingredients harmful are added. A special squad comprising civil supplies, food safety, health, local self-government and legal metrology departments will be formed for this. She also issued direction to the police and revenue departments to extend necessary support for these inspections. Raids will be conducted in vegetable, fish and meat markets to ensure that they function under hygienic conditions. If excessive usage of chemicals and preservatives and fertilisers are found in the food items strict action will be taken. The members of the food advisory committee will be issued identity cards.
A nine-year-old boy was taken ill due to food poisoning after eating from a vegetarian restaurant ‘Salkara’ in Ettumanur. The hotel was closed down by the municipal authorities on Tuesday evening. The health department officials found stale food during inspection.
The health committee of the municipality conducted a raid in all the eateries in the municipal region after the father of the boy filed a complaint. Samples of food and water from the eateries have been sent for lab tests and action will be taken after getting the reports, said municipal authorities. The Kottayam municipality will also be conducting raids in the coming days.

90 boxes of mangoes seized

A food safety official inspecting mangoes ripened using calcium carbide at Paika in Mulleria village on Wednesday. 
They were ripened artificially
Food safety officials here have seized 90 boxes of mangoes ripened artificially using calcium carbide, a chemical hazardous to humans.
On a tip off, a team led by Kasaragod Circle Food Safety Officer P.K. Pradeep Kumar searched the house of P.M. Junaid at Paika in Mulleria village and seized 90 boxes, each weighing 20 kg. The seized stock was destroyed.
The team found that calcium carbide was placed in pouches in each box. Calcium carbide used to artificially ripen fruits generates acetylene gas, a carcinogen, the officials said.
Stock from Tamil Nadu
The raid comes at a time when the authorities have started efforts to make Chengala panchayat, where Paika is located, as a food safety zone. The trader said the mango stock was brought from Theni in Tamil Nadu. The food safety officials conduct regular checks to identify artificially ripened fruits.

FDA faces staff shortage again

Out of 160 posts of drug inspectors across Maharashtra, only 90 have been filled so far and of the 250 food safety officer posts, only 180 have been filled
Despite vacancies being filled to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) posts just five years back, the department continues to face a staff shortage.
Out of 160 posts of drug inspectors across Maharashtra, only 90 have been filled so far and of the 250 food safety officer posts, only 180 have been filled.
In Pune, the post of joint commissioner-drugs has been lying vacant for the last nine months. Out of 15 posts of drug inspectors, only nine have been filled so far. While there is a requirement of 34 food safety officers, Pune has 16 food safety officers and they are assisted by 10 others from the Pune Municipal Corporation. Five years ago, a total of 61 posts of food and drug inspectors were filled with 13 appointed in Pune division and four in Pune district.
While the staff crunch persists, several have to make do without official vehicles. At Pune, there is just one vehicle that is shared by both food safety officers and drug inspectors while in Sangli, there is no official vehicle for the FDA officer who is assisting the police investigations in the sex determination and abortion racket.
Highly-placed FDA officials pointed out that these were Class II officers. However, the drug inspectors and food safety officers have no assistance from clerical staff as there are very few who have been appointed. Drug inspectors may inspect medical shops, check records and carry out inspections but there is very little assistance in terms of filing data entry to registering cases, issuing show cause notices and then follow up each case in the court, FDA officials said.
Across the state, there are more than 50,000 pharmacies, 15,000 wholesalers and another 8,000 manufacturing units. FDA officials admitted that some works get delayed. For instance, online applications from persons wanting to set up a medical store and such cases have to be kept on hold as they have to visit the site and send the inspection report to the assistant commissioner.
FDA officials said officers had previously been recruited to various posts in 1997. Owing to staff shortage, the FDA could only play a limited role and partly fulfil several requirements to enforce several Acts such as nabbing offenders for smoking in public places.
The FDA had to fill up the posts as some public interest litigations were filed, sources said. When contacted Dr Harshadeep Kamble, Commissioner, FDA told The Indian Express that there was a staff shortage. “The MPSC has conducted exams and held interviews and we expect vacancies to be filled soon,” Kamble said.

McDonald’s told not to sell Coke Zero at outlets

McDonald has been forbidden from selling Coca Cola Zero.
MUMBAI: The Maharashtra Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has prohibited McDonald’s from selling Coca Cola Zero across its 60 outlets in the state for violating norms of the Food Safety and Standard Regulations. The order was issued after the MNC was found selling the beverage that contains artificial sweeteners, suspected to cause health problems, without the mandatory warnings.
The FDA action came after a Kolhapur official found that the product was being sold loose to “unsuspecting clients”, including children and pregnant women.
The key problem is the presence of two artificial sweeteners— aspartame and acesulfame potassium–suspected to cause obesity, insulin resistance and high BP, among other health impact. Since years of research have failed to establish the components as completely harmless, any product containing them are supposed to carry warnings.
The Coke Zero that was being sold at the McDonald’s outlets did not specify that the drink was not recommended for children or for phenylketonurics.
“For the latter, particularly, such a violation can be critical,” said FDA commissioner Dr Harshdeep Kamble. “Phenylketonuria is a rare genetic disorder and those who suffer from it cannot break down phenylalanine, a component of aspartame (one of the sweeteners). Their excess intake can lead to an unusual buildup in the body. Children can suffer from serious neurological deficiencies as a result of consuming the drink unknowingly,” said Kamble, adding that people should be told about the dangers lurking inside the so-called healthy drinks.
Calling the contravention a “serious one”, Kamble said non-adherence of the order can lead to penalties for the company. “They can sell the Coke Zero cans like most other fast food outlets but not through dispensers,” he said. He clarified the order won’t apply to other beverages as they don’t contain artificial sugar and have necessary permissions.
The drug regulatory body found out during investigations that Hardcastle Restaurants Pvt Ltd, which owns and runs McDonald’s, was procuring a pre-mix from Hindustan Coca Cola Beverages. However, McDonald’s was creating the final product by treating the mix with carbonated water. These sweeteners are also present in Diet Coke, said an FDA official.
A spokesperson from McDonald’s (west & south) told TOI that the company adheres to all statutory requirements. “We are compliant with all applicable laws pertaining to usage of loose cups and glasses. For the time being, we have decided to follow the FDA directive.” The Hindustan Coca Cola, in their response to FDA, had said that they had all the requisite permissions to manufacture synthetic syrups containing artificial sweeteners for dispensers. The company, however, could not be reached for comments.
Kamble added that both the companies have some sort of an exclusive arrangement as far as the product was concerned as no other food outlet was found selling the drink though a dispenser. He said that Section 34 of the Food Safety and Standards Act empowers the commissioner to issue such a prohibition order. However, the diktat will not be applicable outside Maharashtra.
The FDA, in its order, has quoted a study by the Channing Division of Network Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, which stated that a daily consumption of diet soda increased the risk of non-hodgkins lymphoma and multiple myeloma in men by 42%. Another study quoted in the report spoke of a link between artificial sweeteners and metabolic abnormalities.
The USFDA says that no health problems have been consistently linked to aspartame use. “Research on artificial sweeteners, including aspartame, continues today. For people who want to avoid aspartame, the easiest way to do this is to check the labels before buying or eating foods or drinks.”

BMC and Food safety standards check this out

This wada Pav stall has recently popped up on andheri Kurla road opp. Sangam cinema occupying parking space and violating FSSAI standards by cooking on the road.. many such stalls have established below JB nagar metro station also.

Nagaland bans sale of junk food inside schools

Sale of junk food including chips, soft drinks and fried foods are banned both within the school campuses as well as in a radius of 200 metres from each school.
The Nagaland government on Tuesday banned the sale of junk food including chips, soft drinks and fried foods both within the school campuses as well as in a radius of 200 metres from each school, and asked the school authorities to take steps for making both children and parents aware about obesity, HFSS foods and importance of physical activity.
A notification issued by the Nagaland Board of School Education on Tuesday in Kohima also asked the school authorities to constitute a 7-10 member School Canteen Management Committee which would be solely responsible for ensuring that no junk food found way to the school campuses. The Committee that should include teachers, parents, students and canteen operators would be also solely responsible for providing safe food to the school children, it said.
“Consumption of foods High in Fat, Salt and Sugar (HFSS), popularly known as junk food, is associated with increased risk of certain diseases such as type-2 diabetes, hypertension, dyslipidemia, chronic inflammation and hyper-insulinemia with a risk of cardiovascular diseases in later life. These diseases and childhood obesity have been reportedly found to affect the cognitive and physical development of children adversely causing an irreparable loss to the society,” the notification said.
The notification also directed school authorities to conduct timely checking of quality of raw materials and ingredients and decide the lunch items to be prepared in the school canteen/kitchen. The Committee would also see that food in schools are up to standard and meet the guidelines as outlined by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI).
The Board also asked the school authorities to conduct regular inspection of lunch boxes of students in order to minimize the consumption of unhealthy foods may be done by the schools.

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