Food Safety Enforcement News – India updates – April-09-2017

AP / TELENGANA

HYDERABAD: EATERIES FLOUT MEAT STORAGE NORMS

The health department of the GHMC says meat is not being stored at the correct temperature in hotels and restaurants in the city.
Hyderabad: The health department of the GHMC says meat is not being stored at the correct temperature in hotels and restaurants in the city. The GHMC has set temperature limits and storage standards for commercial storage of meat, and restaurants that do not follow these requirements can be booked under the Food Safety and Standards Act. This is good advice for households to follow too.
A senior health officer from the GHMC’s veterinary wing says that hotels and other catering services must follow hygienic practices and there are a few simple rules that everyone should follow. Like, for example, ensuring that cooked products that are frozen and are then thawed before eating should not be frozen again. They can be kept at 3ºC for not more than five days before being consumed.
“Sea food should be kept at less than 3ºC. Storage period between preparation and consumption should not be more than five days, including the days of cooking and consumption,” he said. The GHMC has set standards with regard to storage, re-heating and the temperature to be maintained for meat and fish products.

DELHI

DU CANTEENS RUNNING WITHOUT VALID LICENSES

DU canteens have been found to be running without valid licenses and are flouting safety norms. 
An RTI query has revealed that most of the canteens in University of Delhi run without a valid license from the regulating authority, food safety and standard authority of India (FSSAI)
The RTI in question was filed by a law faculty student, Mohit Kumar Gupta. The reply from the assistant registrar (estate) stated that DU has not made any rules and regulations for the food safety and precaution. Also, other contents regarding food safety and precaution are mentioned in the cafeteria services tender inviting notice.
In October 2016, the UGC had made it mandatory for all messes and canteen operating in varsities and universities to get a license from FSSAI, in accordance with the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006.
The FSSAI guidelines state that all canteens and workers should have adequate cleaning, disinfecting facility for equipment and utensils, proper facilities for washing of raw material and utensils, workers should be provided with clean aprons, head wear, hand gloves and foot wear.
“Any statutory authority or DU has never issued any guidelines/rules which prescribe bearing of FSSAI license as mandatory condition for grant of contract for food operating canteen.”, says Mr Gupta, administrative officer, SRCC. Moreover, food is cooked in domestic LPG cylinders instead of the standard blue cylinders supposed to be used for commercial purposes.
The canteens still go through the routine checks and inspections by a regulating university body. “We have to check our papers to see if the canteens fall under the UGC guidelines as they were established a long time back”, said the general sectary of DU canteens.
KARNATAKA

Sweets vendors using excessive colours: FSSAI

Belagavi: After a massive crackdown on adulterated milk in Belagavi district and border areas, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has said that the sweets sold by local vendors are not safe for consumption.
A detailed probe by the Belagavi food authority officials revealed that ‘Bombay halwa’, a local sweet, contained excessive food colour. According to FSSAI, only 0.5% edible colour can be added for preparing 1kg halwa. “If the colour added is more than the prescribed limit, sweet products can be pose health risks like cancer, high blood pressure and diabetes,” officials said.
Officials said they examined sweet samples for a well-known shop in Bhagya Nagar area in Belagavi. “We have warned all sweet shop owners and asked them to use edible colours according to the prescribed limits. During a raid recently, we tested sweets from a shop in Bhagya Nagar. Results revealed that the food colour was more than the required limit. We are waiting for orders from FSSAI commissioner to lodge a case against the shop owner,” said Mahadevi Bekkeri, FSSAI district officer.
Officials said they also found excessive colours in ‘pharsan’, a local snack. “We recently imposed a fine of Rs 2 lakh on a packaged water manufacturing unit in Belagavi. However, staff crisis is affecting our operations in Belagavi. We struggle to nab culprits involved in food adulteration due to lack of trained officers,” Bekkeri added.

Adulteration, substandard food items? WhatsApp video to 9482196639

Bengaluru: Even though Karnataka is a pioneer in implementing the Food Safety and Standards Act with measures like setting up the office of Food Safety Commissioner at state level, one of the common complaints heard against the department concerned is that it is very in-active. Even though numerous complaints regarding food adulteration, sale of sub standard food materials is heard in the state, till now no action has been initiated by this authority against the offenders. Even though this authority has been set up under the State Health and Family Welfare department, the government has been complacent in implementing this Act.
But with the arrival of Subodh Yadav as the new commissioner of the Department of Health and Family Welfare, fast paced changes have been reported in the implementation of the provisions of FSSA, 2006. After suspending a couple of inefficient senior officials who were supervising the implementation of FSSA, Yadav has come up with various initiatives to make food safer to eat.
One of the common complaints heard from general public till now was that there was no proper channel or office to lodge complaints of food adulteration, substandard food items etc. But henceforth, a WhatsApp message to 9482196639 is enough for departmental action. General public can send videos, photos to this WhatsApp number and the department has promised to initiate action immediately.

KERALA

CRPF mess had no food safety licence

 
Low-quality fish might have caused food poisoning
Low-quality fish prepared in temporary facilities, having no food safety licensing, could have led to food poisoning at the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) Camp at Pallippuram, as per the preliminary assessment of the Food Safety officials. A day after 195 jawans of the CRPF camp were admitted to various hospitals with food poisoning, the CRPF officials have remained tight-lipped and out of the reach of the media, even as an internal inquiry has been ordered.
This incident of food poisoning in a CRPF Recruit Training Centre comes after some BSF and CRPF jawans from different parts of the country posted videos online with complaints regarding food and lack of facilities.
Around 450 jawans from various States arrived in the camp a few days ago for training and have been housed in three barracks. Each of the barracks have separate mess halls. Soon after the dinner at 8.30 p.m. on Saturday, some of the jawans complained of dizziness and stomach pain and a few others vomited. Some of them were taken to the Government Medical College Hospital and the A.J. Hospital in Kazhakuttam. As more people complained of uneasiness, all of those who consumed fish were taken to the medical college.
Denied entry

The Food Safety officials soon arrived at the camp, but they were denied entry.

“We were told by the officials at the gate that they have instructions from the top not to allow anyone inside. Health Minister K.K. Shylaja was visiting the jawans at the Government Medical College Hospital at this time. When we informed her of the incident, she got in touch with the CRPF officials. We were allowed in only after this,” says K. Anilkumar, Joint Commissioner of Food Safety.
According to him, the mess facilities did not have any food safety licensing.
Not permanent
“From what we know, these mess facilities are not for permanent use. It is used only when the batches arrive for training. Any facility that prepares food for a large number of people comes under compulsory licensing. In this case, this is more important because the jawans should be provided the best quality food. This fish used in the curry was found to be fried, indicating that it could be of low quality. It was brought from a market in Mariyanadu, near Kazhakuttam,” he said.
Samples collected
Samples of the fish curry, rice, water, and the oil used for cooking have been collected and sent to the Food Safety Department’s Chief Analytical Lab as well as the Police Department’s lab.
Despite many attempts, the CRPF officials have remained incommunicado. At the Government Medical College Hospital, the media personnel were not allowed inside the wards, to interact with the jawans who were admitted there.
109 return to camp
By evening, 109 of the 111 personnel who were admitted to the medical college hospital returned to the camp, as they were found to have recovered. Two personnel, who have fever and headache, are still admitted there.

Kerala: 76 new officials to fortify food safety department

A food safety inspection in Thiruvananthapuram. 
Thiruvananthapuram: 76 new food safety officers who completed their induction training will be checking fruits, vegetables and milk vans that are coming from across the border. The new set of officials will be checking water tanker lorries that sell drinking water for their quality. Kerala is the only State to have three full-fledged National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL). Meanwhile, Opposition Leader Ramesh Chennithala alleged that the work of the food safety department had slowed down and shot off a letter to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.
Ever since T. V. Anupama, former food safety commissioner, who had put the State on the path to a healthy way of eating, was appointed as director of the social justice department last November, department officials were in a quandary as they had a hard time fighting the powerful pesticide lobby. But with stringent action and surveillance being enforced from across the border, the level of vegetables laced with pesticides had come down from 18 to 10 percent. Dr. Navjyoth Khosa took over from Anupama, but took a while to find his feet. But last week, Ms. Khosa came out with a landmark order stating that vehicle operators and also buyers within the State who got fruits, vegetables, fish and dried fish should be brought under the scanner. For the first time in the country, an oath was administered by the food safety commissioner to the newly appointed officers.
“Earlier, there was a dearth of adequate food safety inspectors. But with 76 new food safety officers being inducted on Tuesday after 50 days training, we are going to be pro-active. Apart from checking fruits, vegetables, fish and dried fish, from Wednesday the new food safety officers will be checking milk vans that are coming from across the border as well as tanker lorries which bring water”, said a top food safety official. A majority of the new appointments are veterinary doctors, agriculture degree holders, biotechnologists, biochemists, chemistry post-graduates and even homeopathy doctors. Currently, NABL labs are functional only in Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and New Delhi having one each whereas Kerala has one each in Thiruvananthapuram, Ernakulam and Kozhikode. The food safety department has generated Rs 20 crore per year to the Government from licensing and registration alone. However, Chennithala alleged that the mechanism to check food items at check posts had come to a standstill. According to him, earlier all restaurants were clearly monitored and erring enterprises booked, but now food safety officials were lax in their duty.
TAMILNADU

Adulterated tea, soft drinks seized

Food safety officials on Tuesday seized adulterated tea, expired soft drinks, and putrefying corn cobs during a raid in shops and commercial establishments in Udhagamandalam town.
P. Kalaivani, Designated Officer, Food Safety, the Nilgiris district, along with food safety officers B. Sivakumar, S. Selvaraj, Adhi Gopalakrishnan, and Arun Kumar conducted the raids on shops along the Botanical Garden Road, near the Collectorate, Commercial Road, and Ooty Boat House.
Sources said that more than 10 kg of adulterated tea, 20 kg of putrefying corn, and 30 bottles worth of expired soft drinks were seized and were destroyed.
All the store owners were warned of action.
Officials said that the raids were launched before the start of the summer festival to ensure that tourists were protected from unscrupulous store owners. More raids would be conducted in the coming days, they said

Plastic egg’ scare: samples lifted

Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) officials have lifted 161 samples of eggs sold in the markets here on Monday and Tuesday.
The action follows reports of ‘plastic eggs’ seized in West Bengal.
The samples will be sent for examination to a government certified laboratory.
“Egg samples were collected in the wake of rumours on artificial eggs detected in some parts of the country. While 94 samples were collected on Monday, 67 were lifted on Tuesday. The samples were taken from retailers and wholesale traders in the district,” said O.L.S. Vijay, designated officer of FSSAI in Coimbatore.
The lifted samples include various types of eggs available in the market including the popular White Leghorn and eggs of desi birds.
Officials here had received two complaints from consumers who alleged that artificial egg with plastic presence were being sold in market.
One complaint was from a resident of Saravanampatti in March, the other was from a resident of Masakalipalayam near Singanallur in April.
Officials said that fake alerts being spread on social media could have triggered such complaints.
Egg price was very much lower than the possible cost of producing artificial eggs which will require highly sophisticated technology.
Production of eggs in the State was much higher than the total requirement, they added.
UTTARKHAND

Not a single abattoir in Uttarakhand is legal, says state food safety dept

DEHRADUN: Officials of the state food safety department (FSD) have claimed that none of the 14 government slaughterhouses in Uttarakhand have got food safety licences from the Food Safety & Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) and that all of them have been running illegally. “Meat samples from these abattoirs have never been checked by us, and therefore the safety of the meat is not certified,” said an official of FSD. The claim puts into question the standard of meat supplied in the state, one of the country’s richest in terms of per capita income, where almost 75% of the population (over 15 yrs old) is non-vegetarian as per the sample registration system baseline survey 2014.
Uttarakhand has 14 slaughter houses which are run under the aegis of urban and rural local bodies. Veterinary doctors from the state animal husbandry department are meant to ensure that animals being slaughtered are infection-free and the meat is fit for consumption before it is supplied in the market. However, citing shortage of staff and resources, the meat quality is hardly checked by the department, FSD officials said. They added that they have sent notices to these abattoirs periodically regarding their non-compliance of rules and have also filed a case against the health officers of urban local bodies in Dehradun and Mussoorie.
“None of the abattoirs in the state are adhering to the provisions of the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 and hence, we haven’t given them a license. Although notices have been sent, the concerned people have been ignoring them repeatedly,” said a senior official of FSD, Dehradun who did not wish to be named. SS Bisht, director, Uttarakhand animal husbandry department, when queried, said that the department “provides veterinary doctors to abattoirs as per the request of local bodies.” “Till now, we have provided permanent doctor to just one slaughter house based in Doon while for the rest, doctors go when called.” Dr Kailash Gunjyal, health officer, municipal corporation, Dehradun, had this take on the matter: “As per the previous arrangements, the local body had authority to give NOC as well as licence to the abattoirs. But since FSD gives licence now, the department is working at resolving the matter accordingly.”
Incidentally, taking a cue from the UP government, the Uttarakhand government had last week started clamping down on illegal abattoirs located at Haridwar. But the allegation of the government’s own abattoirs not adhering to norms, has put a question mark over the future of these slaughter houses. Reacting to the issue, Dehradun district food safety officer Anuj Thapliyal told TOI, “We have sent notices to the abattoirs in Dehradun and Mussoorie. Since the matter is currently sub-judice, these slaughter houses cannot be shut as of now.”
Meanwhile, meat traders and retailers in Dehradun said that they will protest if they incurred financial losses in the event of the slaughter houses being closed. “The abattoirs are being run by the government. Why should we suffer if the government has not followed norms,” said Naeem Quereshi, owner of a restaurant on Gandhi road.

Give us space to slaughter chicken, fish: Gautam Budh Nagar food dept

NOIDA: In a fix over the issue of licenses to chicken and fish shops, Gautam Budh Nagar food safety and drug administration (FSDA) has written to the state government to clarify its stance on the slaughtering of chicken/fish and issuance of license to the sellers.
Ever since the Yogi-Adityanath led government came to power, authorities have become active in closing operation of many road-side vendors or meat, chicken and fish shops which were operating without a license, along with the illegal abattoirs as promised by the BJP in its manifesto.
According to the rules of the Food Safety Act, 2006, slaughtering of animal is not allowed in any meat/chicken/fish shop and can only be done in a slaughter house.
There is only one government-approved slaughterhouse cum meat processing unit Surajpur area of Greater Noida apart from the ones in Dasna in neighbouring Ghaziabad district and the Ghazipur mandi where goats and sheep can be slaughtered.
However, there are practical problems in executing the ban on slaughter of chicken or fish in the shops.
“There is a problem of demand and supply when it comes to chicken or fish. If a person buys 50 kilogrammes of slaughtered chicken from a slaughter house and is only able to sell 40 kilogrammes, what will he do with the rest of the chicken? Secondly, there is no slaughter house for chicken or fish in Gautam Budh Nagardespite being significant demand from the residents. We have asked the government to provide us spots where the chicken or fish can be slaughtered,” Mahendra Srivastava, designated officer, FSDA department, Gautam Budh Nagar told TOI.
A letter to this regard was sent to the FSDA headquarters in Lucknow on April 1.
Meat,chicken and fish sellers too rue that while the government suddenly wants them to comply with all the rules, it has to provide space for the same.
“If we cannot slaughter chicken in our shop, we have to be provided with a designated space for the same,” said a meat shop owner in Sector 22.
Awaiting instructions, the department has issued licenses only to 26 meat sellers in Sector 62.
 
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