Food Safety Enforcement News – India this week – April 16

GENERAL

Unmarked sweet leaves Shatabdi Express passenger sour

CHANDIGARH: The eatables served aboard the elite Shatabdi Express don’t meet the Food Safety and Standards (Packaging and Labelling) Regulations, 2011, alleges a passenger who got the taste of it on Friday (April 7) while heading in from Delhi.
The food containers, he alleges, were neither sealed nor carrying the manufacturer’s name, packagingexpiry date, and the ingredient list.”When I asked for the complaint register, the attendant failed to produce one,” claimed passenger Ajay Jagga. He then wrote to railway minister Suresh Prabhu and railway board chairman AK Mittal, besides Health and Family Welfare Ministry secretary CK Mishra.
Jagga was aboard train 12045 on PNR number 2810937233 in C-5 coach at seat 17 when a mystery “sweet” with syrup was put before him in an unsealed plastic container that had no label and no mandatory consumer information. Every Shatabdi ticket includes Rs 130 for the food.
Divisional railway manager (commercial) Parveen Gaur Dewedi said: “We check the food served aboard the Shatabdi Express regularly but if some passengers have is sues, we will look into those, once I receive the complaint through proper channel.”
Under clause 2.2.1of the Food Safety and Standards (Packaging and Labelling) Regulations, 2011, it is mandatory for packed food to carry a label mentioning in clear print the name, trade name, description, ingredients, batch number or code of the eatable inside.

Indian food regulator, FSSAI looks at America for global standards

Food regulator FSSAI today said it has entered into an agreement with US-based Decernis Ltd which will enable it to access various international regulations.
With this tie up, the Food Safety and Standard Authority of India (FSSAI) would get access to database of over 70,000 standards for food additives, food standards, food contact and contaminants from over 170 countries.
“Under this agreement, Decernis would facilitate access to various international regulations through a user-friendly online platform,” the regulator said in a statement.
It would also enable the scientific panels of the regulator in understanding the global standards and bench marking Indian regulation to those norms.
The database will also be of immense help in the risk assessment.
Under the pact, FSSAI will share with the American company its notices of new draft and final regulations.
FSSAI CEO Pawan Agarwal said, “As per the good regulatory practices, international practices are required to be taken into account while framing the national standards or guidelines.”

Substandard Food to Jawans Deployed at Borders

As per information received from Forces, mechanism to check quality of food being served to jawans is in place. Forces (CAPFs) while deployed under Ops Control of Army procure ration as per defence food specification/Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI). Also, some Forces like Assam Rifles is reported to have engaged nutritionist to prepare a standard menu based on calorific requirements of troops. In Forces, Unit Medical Officer/Duty officer/Senior officers check food for its nutritious value and quality during their visits. Monthly mess meeting is carried out to look into grievances and further improvements in the quality of food. In addition, this Ministry has also advised the forces that the senior officers may also partake the food prepared for jawans and endorse a note on the quality/quantity of food in inspection register. 
This was stated by the Minister of State for Home Affairs, Shri Kiren Rijiju in a written reply to question by Shri Lal Sinh Vadodia in the Rajya Sabha today.
AP / TELENGANA

TTD kitchen must get licence: FSSAI


Direction to licensing body comes after RTI plea on laddu

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has written to the Central Licensing Authority in Chennai to inspect the ‘pottu’ in the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD) in Andhra Pradesh where the laddu is prepared, and directed it to obtain a central licence to run the kitchen.
Last October, following an RTI application by Bengaluru-based activist T. Narasimhamurthy, the director of the food safety management system had insisted that the TTD obtain a food safety licence like any other Food Business Operator for the famed Tirupati laddu. But there was no response, said Mr. Narasimhamurthy.
In December 2016, he sent a letter to the Director, Institute of Preventive Medicine, Andhra Pradesh, seeking the prosecution of TTD officials under Section 62 (obstructing food safety officer) and 63 (punishment for carrying out business without a licence). “As there was no proper response, I sent a legal notice to the institute of Preventive Medicine on March 18, 2017. In response to this, the FSSAI sent me a letter updating me on the action taken,” he said.
In the FSSAI letter, dated March 29, 2017 Prabhat Kumar Mishra, assistant director (regulatory compliance), FSSAI, has directed its central licensing wing to carry out inspection and direct the temple administration to obtain the license under the provision of Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006. Speaking toThe Hindu , M. Kannan, deputy director, central licensing authority, Chennai, said he had already sent a letter to the TTD ten days ago asking them time to inspect the kitchen. “They haven’t replied till date. We will wait for five more days or will inspect the premises as per law,” he said.
Legal notice
“As there was no proper response, I sent a legal notice to the institute of Preventive Medicine on March 18, 2017. In response, the FSSAI sent me a letter updating me on the action taken,” he said.
KERALA

Arabian food joints in city under the scanner again

 
The Food Safety Department has stepped up vigil over Arabian food joints in the city. The move comes in the wake of an incident reported last week in which eight persons fell sick and were admitted to various hospitals after they consumed an Arabian dish from an outlet near Edappally junction.
“We have slapped a fine of ₹10,000 on the food joint. Samples collected from the outlet have been sent to the Regional Laboratory at Kakkanad for further examination. The Department will initiate criminal proceedings based on the Food Safety Act if the tests reveal that the food was unsafe for consumption,” said K.V. Shibu, Assistant Commissioner of Food Safety, Ernakulam.
A similar incident was reported from an Arabic food joint along the Kaloor-Kathrikadavu stretch in October last year, found operating in unhygienic surroundings. Stale food items were found inside the refrigerator. The Food Safety officials said the stale dishes would either have been sold or removed from the outlets by the time the customers started experiencing health problems including vomiting and diarrhoea. Such complaints were reported mostly from outlets selling non-vegetarian dishes as chances of traders storing meat in refrigerator for a long period were high.
Surprise checks
Food Safety officers under the Assistant Commissioner of Food Safety in Ernakulam are expected to hold surprise checks at food outlets to check violations under the Food Safety Act. Random sampling of food items will also be carried out as part of the drive.

Misbranding a major concern

Food Safety officers in Ernakulam find dates, raisins unsafe for consumption
‘Misbranding’ of products topped the list of complaints filed by the Ernakulam wing of the Food Safety Department before the adjudicating authorities in the previous fiscal.
Sixteen complaints related to misbranding were filed before the District Revenue Officer as per the provisions of the Food Safety and Standards Act.
The collected samples were found to have not included details regarding ingredients, nutritious content, batch number, lot number, date of manufacturing and date of expiry.
“The complaints about misbranding were found in packets of toor dal, drinking water, cake, rusks, double-toned milk, cashew nut, blended vegetable oil, etc.,” said K.V. Shibu, Assistant Commissioner, Food Safety, Ernakulam.
Tea powder
Among the 45 complaints in which prosecution steps were initiated in the last fiscal, seven cases referred to the contamination of tea powder with iron filings. The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has capped the limit of iron filings in tea powder at 250 mg/kg.
Stating that iron filings enter tea owing to either wear and tear of the processing machinery or deliberately, Mr. Shibu said tea powder having iron filings above the prescribed limit was unsafe for consumption owing to the health hazards it could trigger in human beings. Iron filings above the limits could lead to diseases such as cirrhosis, osteoporosis and heart failure.
The FSSAI has found that tea leaves could be contaminated with iron filings owing to processing methods such as sieving and crushing. In Ernakulam, samples of tea powder with iron filings were picked up from wholesale units, retailers and street vendors.
The inspections carried out by 14 food safety officers in Ernakulam found items such as dates and raisins unsafe for consumption. Dead insects were found in packets of dates and raisins. The teams also seized ice creams, curry powder and chilli powder under the category of “sub-standard” food items. The ice cream samples tested had very low quantity of milk fat revealing that it contained agents or flavours beyond the permissible limits.
The Ernakulam wing of the Food Safety Department also slapped a penalty of about ₹9 lakh on various hotels and restaurants for preparing and storing food in unhygienic conditions in the last fiscal.
 

MAHARASHTRA

“I am keenly involved in the food safety drive at FDA”

Talking to Restaurant India, Shri Shivaji Desai, Joint Commissioner, Food & Drug Administration- Pune shares about the food safety programs at FDA.
Food safety has become a major issue in the last two years. Talking to Restaurant India, Shri Shivaji Desai, Joint Commissioner, Food & Drug Administration- Pune shares about the food safety programs at FDA.
What is your view on food safety in India?
The food safety and standards act, 2006, has been implemented since 2011. In Maharashtra, FDA has taken responsibility to implement this act. The restaurant factor is there. We have to follow norms mentioned in the schedule 4 i.e. part 5 that is for restaurant, hotel and catering facilities. It should be followed by these entrepreneurs. We have to inspect and take programs and inspect many times so that they should comply by the industries. If schedule 4 is complied you have achieve goals that is required by the act for safety management system.
Restaurants are following the norms but the unorganised sector is not. What do you have to say about it?
We are giving street vendors registrations and about 12 lacs vendors have been educated and provided license on it. Though, it is a very difficult task but people will have to come together to follow these regulations.
What is your view on growing culture of and restaurant as industry?
With growth of smart cities and IT industries there is a sudden push in the eating out trend. And, seeing the opportunity it provides, we have to support the food culture of India which is as diverse as its culture.
What is your role at FDA?
I am keenly involved in the food safety drive at FDA. We have done a special drive and we found majority is not complying with the law and we have issued notices as warnings. They have to comply in 14 days and if they do not we have to cancel their licenses.
Many a times restaurants have applied for licenses but it takes time to get the revert. What are you doing for it?
It is not at all difficult these days. It is an online process and FDA has launched a website and you have to make an online request and your license will be issued in 8-10 days.
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