Food Safety Enforcement News – India updates – II

JAMMU & KASHMIR

Are you drinking poison this summer?

Cold drinks in Jammu & Kashmir adulterated, misbranded
Impure samples, convictions highest yet no blanket ban
JAMMU, Apr 15: Beware! You may be at risk. Food Safety and Standards of Authority of India (FSSAI) has placed Jammu and Kashmir among top ten states in the country where highest number of aerated or carbonated cold drinks have been found adulterated and misbranded.
28 percent of total samples analyzed by FSSAI were found adulterated and misbranded. According to the annual public testing laboratory report for the year 2015-16; 1354 samples were received from Jammu and Kashmir. Of these samples, 1215 were analyzed i.e around 89 percent of the samples received by the testing laboratory of FSSAI were tested. 334 samples of the carbonated/aerated cold drinks were found adulterated and misbranded.
This has been revealed by Ministry of Food Processing in its latest data on adulterated aerated/carbonated soft drinks for the year 2015-16. The above data is 27 percent of the total samples sent to the laboratory for testing from Jammu and Kashmir, thus, clearly indicating how bleak the scenario is yet the state government has preferred not putting a blanket ban on the manufacture and sale of cold drinks in the state. 
Though the state has launched highest number of convictions in the country yet it has desisted from following several other states in the country which have put a blanket van on the carbonated/aerated cold drinks. 
Jammu and Kashmir has launched just 1 criminal case and 335 civil cases against various internationally acclaimed soft drink companies for having violated the norms, manufactured and sold adulterated and misbranded cold drinks across the state but has preferred not to take required steps for ensuring that these companies conform to the norms. 
Of 336 cases launched by the state government, convictions have taken place in 225 cases, which is highest in the country. An amount of Rs. 22.15 Lakh was realized as penalty from various companies.
The data puts a question mark on the seriousness of the government in ensuring people do not face health hazards because of the cold drinks which are both adulterated. More serious is the silence of the state government in sharing the details of the companies who are playing with the lives of the commoners. State prefers keeping the details top secret, thus allowing cold drinks manufacturers to play with the lives of the commoners across the state.
Data of J&K being 9th state in the country from where adulterated samples were received increases health risk of the people since a government study had found five different toxins-heavy metals antimony, lead, chromium and cadmium and the compound DEHP or Di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate-in cold drinks produced by two major multinational companies, PepsiCo and Coca Cola.
The study, commissioned by top Health Ministry body, the Drugs Technical Advisory Board (DTAB), had found that these toxins leached into five cold drink samples picked up for the study – Pepsi, Coca Cola, Mountain Dew, Sprite and 7Up – from the PET (polyethylene terephthalate) bottles they were in. Mountain Dew and 7Up are owned by Pepsico, while Sprite is owned by Coca Cola. Results had further shown that there was significant increase in leaching with rise in room temperature.
Under the DTAB’s instructions, the study was conducted by the Kolkata-based All India Institute of Hygiene and Public Health (AIIH&PH), which comes under the Health Ministry. AIIH&PH had picked up four bottles (600 ml size) each of the cold drink brands as samples through the “stratified random sampling method”. The institute had then handed over samples to the Kolkata-based National Test House (NTH), which falls under the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, to perform the tests.
While there are no permissible limits for heavy metals in cold drinks, the tests found 0.029 milligrams per litre (mg/L), 0.011 mg/L, 0.002 mg/L, 0.017 mg/L and 0.028 mg/L of antimony, lead, cadmium, chromium and DEHP, respectively, in Pepsi. In Coca Cola, 0.006 mg/L, 0.009 mg/L, 0.011 mg/L, 0.026 mg/L and 0.026 mg/L of the aforesaid heavy metals, respectively, were found. The results were similar for Sprite, Mountain Dew and 7Up.
The leaching of these heavy metals-from PET bottles in which the drinks were packaged-increased with the rise in room temperature. For example, at normal room temperature, the tests found 0.004 mg/L and 0.007 mg/L of lead in 7Up and Sprite, respectively. However, when it was kept at 40 degree Celsius for 10 days, the lead increased to 0.006 mg/L and 0.009 mg/L, respectively. The World Health Organisation (WHO) considers lead and cadmium two of the top ten chemicals of “major public health concern”.
According to the WHO, children are particularly vulnerable to harmful effects of lead. “Lead can have serious consequences for the health of children. At high levels of exposure, Lead attacks the brain and central nervous system to cause coma, convulsions and even death. Children who survive severe lead poisoning may be left with mental retardation and behavioural disorders,” the WHO has noted.
For cadmium, the WHO said, “Cadmium exerts toxic effects on the kidney, the skeletal system and the respiratory system and is classified as a human carcinogen.” Chromium, antimony and DEHP are also known to cause serious side effects on the body.
KERALA

Kozhikode boy dies of ‘food poisoning’

KOZHIKODE: The department of food safety department on Saturday banned the sale of Cuckoo-brand pudding in the district after a four-year-old boy from Kappad died of suspected food poisoning.
Yusufali, son of Palodayil Basheer and Surabhi, died on Friday night a day after he had consumed jelly-candies and the pudding bought from a bakery at the Moffusil bus stand.
The boy’s mother has been undergoing treatment at the Medical College Hospital. They had bought the candy and pudding from Royal Bakery before boarding a bus on Thursday. The child later complained that the candy was bitter, and the mother, after tasting it, threw away the packet, police said. The boy and the mother complained of uneasiness and nausea on Friday morning, and the child was taken to a private hospital in Kappad, before he was referred to the medical college. Police said the boy died while being shifted to the medical college.
Police registered a case of unnatural death, and along with the food safety officials, inspected the bakery from where the candy was purchased. Samples collected would be sent for chemical analysis. Food safety officials said they had sealed the Royal Bakery which sold the candy. “We banned the Cuckoo-brand pudding in the district after it was found that the packet did not mention the manufacturing or expiry dates,” O Shankaran Unni, assistant commissioner of the food safety department said.
The city corporation, meanwhile, banned the sale of Tiger Highcount jelly-candies in its area. A team led by corporation health standing committee chairman K V Baburaj also visited the bakery.
Health inspector P Abdhul Khader said both the mother and child had the candies and pudding from the bakery. The food safety department said it was not sure now if food poisoning had caused the boy’s death. Police said they were waiting for the postmortem report.

TAMILNADU

500 kg of beef seized, destroyed

Raid to continue to ensure quality
In a joint operation conducted by officials from three departments, over 500 kg beef, which was reportedly not fit for human consumption, was seized and destroyed on Saturday.
Following information that huge quantity of beef had been stored for Easter sale in a shop near Poobalarayarpuram fish market and a few more places, a team of officials from Thoothukudi Corporation, Department of Animal Husbandry and the Department of Food Safety raided the shop on Saturday. “Over 500 kg beef, which is not fit for human consumption, had been stored in the freezer of the shop. Hence, it was seized and destroyed,” the officials said.
They said the Corporation had made it clear that roadside slaughtering of goat, bull and pig would not be allowed as it should be done in the permitted slaughter house in the presence of Corporation officials. The raid will continue in the days to come to ensure quality of meat being sold to the public, particularly during festival seasons,” the officials said.
Sanitary Inspectors Rajasekar, Hari Ganesh, Rajapandian and Kannan, Food Safety Officers V. Sivabalan, T. Ramakrishnan and Shanmugasundaram and veterinarian of Department of Animal Husbandry A. Joseph Raj organized the raid.

Eggs feel like plastic after cooking, sent for testing

CUDDALORE: The residents of Kattumannarkoil in Cuddalore district have expressed apprehension over the sales of `plastic eggs’ in their locality. They claimed that a resident identified as Vidhya from Sarvarajanpet near Kattumannarkoil bought eggs from a grocery shop in the village on Friday . When she attempted to make an omelette she noticed that the egg white looked abnormal and resembled plastic.
She brought the issue to the notice of her family members and neighbours. They tested the other eggs and also found that the white material in other eggs too looked like plastic. They alerted the district officials. A team led by district food safety officer Ravi reached the village and collected the egg samples. The officials sent the samples for testing to a government laboratory at Coimbatore.
“It is highly impossible (to manufacture plastic eggs). There is no need for such eggs as there is good supply of eggs in the state. However we have collected samples of the eggs and have sent it for analysis to a government laboratory in Coimbatore,” said Ravi.
Eggs containing plastic-like material have been reported in a few places in the state and neighbouring Kerala. However, food safety officials dismissed it as rumours. They said the transparent protein member between the egg shell and egg white might have thickened due to prolonged refrigeration making it look like plastic when cooked.

UTTAR PRADESH

2 held, food insp suspended following raids on spurious milk

Two persons were arrested and a Food Inspector was suspended today after a spurious milk manufacturing unit was unearthed by the Food Safety Department officials at Shikarpur town here.
About 2,500 litre of spurious milk, ready to sell, huge quantity of milk powder and other materials used in making spurious milk were also seized by the police during the raid, a senior district administration official said.
“The owner of the unit and his son were arrested and booked under relevant sections of the IPC,” District Magistrate A K Singh said, they were carrying on the business for a long time.
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