Food Safety Enforcement News – India updates-July 02-2017

J & K 

Central team finds J&K food labs ‘partially’ fit

The inspection happened after the High Court directed the government to ascertain whether food safety measures were being taken in the state.
A two-member team of experts from the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) inspected the two Food Testing Laboratories in Jammu and Kashmir on Thursday for assessing their facilities and the quality of food testing.
The inspection happened after the High Court directed the government to ascertain whether food safety measures were being taken in the state.
An official, who witnessed the inspection at the Srinagar lab, told Greater Kashmir on the condition of anonymity that food safety standards were being met partially in the state because the labs lacked microbiological testing facilities.
“The team also pointed out shortcomings in sample storage and the legal issues involved,” he said.
The team comprised Lalitha R Gowda, member scientific committee FSSAI, and Shailendra Kumar, assistant director Quality Assurance at FSSAI’s central division, who also is in charge of empanelment and accreditation of food testing laboratories.
Controller Food and Drugs (J&K) Lotika Khajuria said the inspection report will be submitted by the team to the High Court soon. 
“The team will share a sealed report with the High Court only. We do not know the results of inspection ourselves,” she said.
Hearing a Public Interest Litigation, the High Court had directed the chief executive officer of the FSSAI to depute a qualified team for inspecting the two food labs in J&K and whether they met the criteria laid out in the Food Safety and Standard Act 2006.
In March last year, after Greater Kashmir published a series of reports about food safety in Kashmir, the High Court took suo moto cognisance of the issue.
 

CMO Dimapur issues caution to tobacco and pan masala traders

DIMAPUR, : The Chief Medical Officer, Dimapur today informed tobacco and pan masala dealers (wholesale or retail) in Dimapur district to immediately adhere to the Supreme Court order dated September 23, 2016. The order prohibits distribution and sale of guthka or pan masala (containing tobacco or nicotine) and any other product marketed separately having nicotine or tobacco in the final products by whatever name called, whether packaged or unpackaged, or sold as one product or through packaged as separate products in such a manner so as to easily facilitate mixing by the consumers. The CMO informed that the Food Safety Commissioner, Government of Nagaland had issued a notification dated May 16, 2017 in compliance of this order. A press release from the CMO, Dimapur cautioned that non compliance of this notification will be an offence punishable under Section 59 of the Food Safety and Standards Act 2006.

PUNJAB

Punjab gears up for Food Safety Training

The Punjab government will organise special training programme regarding Food Safety Standards and Regulation Act, 2006 next month.

The training programme will be organised for assistant food commissioners, food inspectors, and designated officers of the health department.

Giving details, Health and Family Welfare Minister Brahm Mohindra said today the training intends to provide the relevant and practical insights about food safety, standards, food safety management systems and related legal provisions under the Act.

He said the training would also impart a complete understanding of Schedule 4 of FSSR Act 2006 besides an overview of Rules & Regulations, 2011.

Mohindra said it has been brought to his notice that the health department had never imparted any such vocational training to the officers of food safety department.

After the training, the officers would attain a uniform pattern of effective compliance of Food Safety and Standards Act across the state.

He said it is the prime duty of the department to ensure health and hygiene of the citizens, which could be ensured through supply of nutritious and unadulterated food items.

The training programme would also cover food operations and control, management and supervision, food testing, prevention of cross contamination besides consumer information.

As many as 30 officers of health department would be provided training in first phase, he said.

TAMILNADU

With lax enforcement, gutkha sale continues silently

Despite prompt bans and reports of seizures, banned tobacco and other addictive products continue to be widely available
The Tamil Nadu government banned the sale of gutkha and pan masala as early as in 2001, but the measure was bogged down in litigation.
Then invoking the provisions of the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006, the Commissioner of Food Safety of the State of Tamil Nadu issued orders prohibiting the manufacture, storage, distribution or sale of gutkha and and pan masala and any other food products containing tobacco or nicotine as ingredients, by whatsoever name it is available in the market, in the whole of the State of Tamil Nadu for one year.
Since then, the ban has been extended through notifications time and again.
Even as enforcement agencies have been cracking down on hubs in the city, the sale is continuing without any interruption.
Here, there, everywhere
A quick survey by The Hindu showed that the banned tobacco products are available across the counter in petty shops all over Chennai.
Gutkha sachets can be bought like candy from shops just outside the Police Commissioner’s office, the Madras High Court, the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Court in Egmore and campuses of government offices.
From Neelangarai up to Tiruvanmiyur, street vendors and petty shops proudly display the array of sachets selling banned tobacco products. A shopkeeper in Tiruvallur Salai, Tiruvanmiyur, said, “There is a huge demand for these products because of the increase in migrant labourers. We receive supply from north Chennai and are getting substantial profits from the sale.”
Near educational institutions
Things are not different near educational institutions. For instance, tobacco products are on sale near the entrance of the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras. Multiple raids have not deterred traders from stocking such banned tobacco products in the city.
Reports of arrests
On Thursday, a police press release, listing that day’s developments, said a special team under Pallikaranai Inspector arrested Neeraj Shukla, 21, of Nanmangalam for possessing banned products — ‘mava’ weighing 2kg. Vepery police nabbed a person who was selling Hans near a school on Bricklin Road, besides seizing banned products. Vignesh was caught with ‘mava’ in Koyambedu and Madhan Kumar of Jafferkhanpet was arrested with 20 packs of Hans. T.P. Chatram police held three persons who were in possession of 10 kg of mava.
A senior police officer on condition of anonymity said in most cases, manufacturers and stockists were let off with a fine and a few days in jail. The banned products are either locally produced or transported from other States. Sowcarpet and other adjoining areas are the hubs for the products. Police also received information some time ago that products were being smuggled into the city through container lorries and then distributed.
 

Food Safety department cracks whip on edible oil sellers

The Food Safety department has confiscated 4030 litres of oil, supposed to be food grade, after detecting shortcomings in details furnished on labels.
In raids conducted across the district, the department took 298 edible oil samples from manufacturers and traders in re-packaging business and, after finding 121 to be defective, registered 24 cases against offenders.
At a recent review meeting chaired by District Collector S.Prabakar in the wake of the raids by Food Safety officials and follow-up action, edible oil manufacturers and traders in re-packaging business in the district were warned of stringent action if they were caught conducting business without obtaining license under Food Safety and Standards Act 2006.
Printed labels on the oil packets must contain complete details of brand, oil type, vegetarian symbol, address of manufacturer, batch number, quantity, price, use by date, and break up of nutrition, Dr. Prabakar said, adding that two types of oil could be blended and sold only with Agmark certification.
Designated Officer for Food Safety and Drug Administration T.Kalaivani and subordinate officials took stock of the extent of conformity of manufacturers and traders to the requirement of prominently displaying the inscription on packets containing lamp oil that it is not fit for consumption.
There was no need to mention the FSSAI license number for lamp oil, the officials explained.
In the event of detection of malpractices, the department has invited the public to pass on information over Whatsapp (9444042322) and landline 0424 2223545.
UTTAR PRADESH

2 months after crackdown, very few licences for meat shops issued in UP

 
Agra: Two months after crackdown on illegal slaughterhouses and meat shops in UP soon after chief minister Yogi Adityanath took over the reins of the state, opening a meat shop is still proving to be an uphill task in the state. Of 562 applications received in the past two months in Agra, only 26 have been granted licences so far. Officials said over 250 applications had been rejected outright given the strict rules required for setting shops.
“We cannot take risk of granting licence to shops even if there are minor glitches and invite the wrath of the government later,” said a municipal corporation official.
“In many cases, there is a religious place within the 50-metre radius of the shop for which the permission is being sought, in other cases, shop owners are not able to procure deep-freezers, geysers and knives and choppers made of steel. The NOC can be granted only after all the parameters laid in the rules are met,” said Yogesh Sharma, chief veterinary officer of Agra municipal corporation.
On April 24, the administration had introduced a single-window system at the office of food safety and drug administration (FSDA) to reduce delay and assist applicants in getting the approval in a hassle-free manner, but that has not fetched the desired results. On the other hand, applicants are now alleging harassments at the hand of officials.
Sarvadaliya Muslim Sangharsh Samiti (SMSS) national president Haji Jaleemuddin Qureshi said, “The agencies involved in granting NOCs and licences are raising objections on flimsy grounds. The Allahabad high court in an order has fixed July 17 as the deadline to grant licences to deserving shops and slaughterhouses, but going by the pace of the work, it will take many months before licences would be issued.”
“We have been demanding that people should be allowed to open shops near mosques, as we do not have any objections. This rule of not opening shops with 50 metre of religious places should be applicable for temples and other religious places which have objections,” he added.
FSDA-designated officer Devashish Upadhayay told TOI, “A month’s time is required to grant licence which involve no-objection certificate from the civic body and police. A spot visit by the FSDA is also required to check whether shops are adhering to the prescribed rules or not. For some time in past, the drive slowed down due to other departmental work, but now the work is going on at the required pace.”
The system had raised hopes of meat sellers as they were no longer required to make rounds of different offices to obtain no-objection certificates. The administration mandated that instead of applicants visiting offices of circle officers and the municipal corporation to get requisite NOCs, the FSDA officials would internally conduct this process on their behalf after receiving the applications.
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