Food Safety Enforcement News – India updates – July 16

ANDHRA PRADESH / TELENGANA

 

JAMMU & KASHMIR

DB directs Health Secy to appear in person

JAMMU : In a suo-moto PIL, Division Bench of State High Court comprising Chief Justice Badar Durrez Ahmed and Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey today directed Commissioner-Secretary, Health to remain present in the court on the next date of hearing to explain as to why no steps have been taken for creation of post of Commissioner Food Safety and for appointing a person to that post in spite of clear directions given in previous order.
When the PIL was taken-up for hearing, Division Bench impleaded Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) as respondent. The DB also took on record report of Dr Lalitha R Gowda and Shailender Kumar dated July 3, 2017 submitted on behalf of FSSAI.
After going through the report, Division Bench observed, “there are various deficiencies which need to be addressed immediately. The State shall provide adequate answers to the deficiencies pointed out in the report before the next date of hearing”.
“One of the major concerns in PIL is that there is no Commissioner of Food Safety, which is the requirement under Section 30 of the Food Safety and Standard Act, 2006”, the DB said and directed Commissioner-Secretary, Health, to remain present in the court on the next date of hearing to explain as to why no steps have been taken for creation of post of Commissioner, Food Safety and for appointing a person to that post in spite of clear directions given in previous order.

30 quintals of milk destroyed, 4 restaurants fined in Srinagar

About 30 quinatlas of adulterated milk was destroyed and four restaurants were fined today in Srinagar, an official spokesperson said here this evening. He said in order to curb the menace of milk adulteration, the department of Food Safety Srinagar today put in service the mobile Food testing van to check the quality parameters of milk. 
A team of Food Safety Officers headed by Assistant Commissioner Food Safety Srinagar laid Naka at Parimpora Srinagar. He said on the spot testing of milk and milk products was carried and around 30 quintals of milk not confirming to the legal standards were destroyed on spot. Some bakery products, Juices were also tested at Bemina and Qamarwari where some bakery products failed in testing were destroyed on spot. 
He said the Department of Legal Metrology received complaints against four restaurants operating in the City for overcharging on packaged drinking water and soft drinks. Under Legal Metrology laws, no restaurant and hotel can charge more than MRP on the bottle water and soft drinks or other packaged products. The Legal Metrology officer booked all the four restaurants for overcharging. A penal sum of Rs 6500 was collected from the offenders for violation.

JK Food Testing Labs substandard – Experts 

Hearing a Public Interest Litigation on food adulteration, a division bench of Chief Justice Baddar Durrez Ahmad and Justice Ali Muhammad Magrey took the report on record.
An expert two-member panel from Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has informed the High Court that state’s food testing laboratories are not functioning to provide desired results. 
In compliance to court directions, a team of FSSAI comprising Dr Lalith R Gowda, former chief Scientist and Director Referral Food Lab, Mysore and Shailender Kumar, Assistant, director, quality Assurance, FSSAI, New Delhi visited the two state labs and filed its report in High Court. 
Hearing a Public Interest Litigation on food adulteration, a division bench of Chief Justice Baddar Durrez Ahmad and Justice Ali Muhammad Magrey took the report on record. 
The report divulges that in both labs– Public Health Lab Patoli, Jammu and Public Health lab, Dalgate here— do not carry out any tests for contaminant such pesticide residues, heavy metals, veterinary drug residues, crop contaminants and naturally occurring toxic substances.
The report unveils that a wide spectrum of food categories listed in the Food Safety and Standard Rules( FSS) and regulations, are tested, but the testing parameters are limited.
The two labs, the report indicates, are with minor equipment which includes electronic balance, muffle furnace, butyro-refractometer and tintometer. “The current analytical facilities and chemical testing capabilities of the labs do not fulfill the requirements of the FSS act and rules”. 
The court was informed that currently both the labs have no state-of-the –art equipment necessary for pesticide, heavy metals and drug residues analysis in place nor a competent trained manpower to operate the equipment.
The court was apprised that a major limiting factor towards fulfilling the requirements of testing of food samples is the non-availability of sophisticated instruments. 
While the report indicated that a major constraint observed by the team is the space required for installing high-end equipment at Srinagar lab, it added the required space is available in the adjacent Forensic Science Laboratory that now belongs to Drugs and Food Control Organization. 
“However, the lab is constrained from using this space owing to the unauthorized occupation by the belt forces,” the report said. 
The report indicates that neither of the labs carries out Microbiology testing of foods for any of the hygiene and safety parameters listed by FSSAI. 
It says “there exists neither a functional microbiology lab nor a qualified microbiologist to carry out the microbiology testing”. 
Another major constraint, the report said, is the lack of a qualified food microbiologist. The FSSAI recommends qualified food microbiologists to be appointed for both the labs at the earliest. 
The report, however, indicates that with the available instruments, the labs undertake preliminary food analysis such as moisture, crude fiber, ash, milk analysis and qualitative tests for added color, sweeteners and adulterants of milk and spices and BRR of oils and fats.
At Srinagar lab five Food Safety Officers (FSOs) have been inducted into the lab and there are two certified Food analysts. Both labs have technically competent analysts but insufficient in number to meet the quantum of samples received for analysis.
While the court made FSSAI as party in the PIL, it directed Commissioner Secretary Health and Medical Education to file compliance on the steps taken for appointment of Food Safety Commissioner FSC on next date of hearing , seeking his personal appearance also.
KERALA

Food safety department bans use of newspaper for wrapping food items

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Food safety department has come up with an order that will make all wayside eateries change the way they serve food. In a latest order, Food safety commissioner Navjot Khosa has imposed a one-year ban on using newspapers and other printed material for wrapping, packing and serving of food.
The Food safety and standard authority had in December last year issued an advisory to food safety commissioners in all states to restrict use of newspaper as food packaging material. The advisory was issued after conducting a risk analysis study.
The Food safety department has invoked section 18 (1)(a), section 26(2)(i), section 29(3), section 30(2)(d) and section 30(1) of the food safety and standards act to impose a ban on use of newspapers or other printed materials for storage, distribution or sale of food.

Minister calls for thrust on food safety

Minister for Agriculture V.S. Sunil Kumar has stressed the need to ensure food safety while striving to achieve food security.
Speaking after inaugurating a function at the College of Agriculture, Vellayani, to honour the winners of the awards instituted by the Kerala Agricultural University, he told researchers to aim higher. VC P. Rajendran presided. Dean A. Anil Kumar, Associate Director K. Umamaheswaran, Kalliyur grama panchayat president R. Jayalakshmi, block panchayat member J.Girija, and panchayat member Pravinakumari spoke. While Himaparvathi and Deepa R. Chandran won the best student award, P. Aparna and Allen Thomas received the best teacher award.
The prize for the best department went to the Soil Science and Agricultural Chemistry department. The awards have been instituted in memory of former professor N.P. Kumari Sushama.

MAHARASHTRA

Money pumped into food testing and standardisation for State

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has agreed to give special assistance of Rs 8.50 crore to the Food and Drugs Administration, Maharashtra to its existing laboratories by procuring new equipment to test food samples as per the FSSAI norms.
The above assurance was given by FSSAI CEO Pawan Kumar Agarwal to Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr.Pallavi Darade in a recent meeting of high powered committee held in New Delhi. The FDA has sought an assistance of Rs 10 crore, including Rs 8.2 crore to procure new equipments and Rs. 1.8 crore to strengthen infrastructure. Eventually the FISSI agreed to give Rs 8.50 crore and also permitted the FDA to open separate ban account since this is a special central assistance.
The assistance will be used for procuring three ultra equipments to test the food as per the standards. They will be used to check the metal content in food, component of pesticides, organic content in non-vegetarian food etc. The pesticides are widely used in producing food to control pests such as insects, rodents, weeds, bacteria and fungus.
For testing of Drugs & Cosmetics as stated under section 20 and 33 F of Drugs & Cosmetics Act 1940 & Rules there under, Maharashtra State has established Drugs Control Laboratory at Bandra(Mumbai) and at Aurangabad, under the Administrative control of the Commissioner, Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Maharashtra State. The existing capacity of testing food samples is 1200 at Mumbai and 720 in Aurangabad. Both the Laboratories are well equipped with sophisticated instruments.
In addition to FDA’s laboratories in Mumbai and Aurangabad, The food analytical laboratories are in existence also under department of public health, at different places. They include: 1. State Public Health Laboratory, Pune( this is the apex Laboratory of the state & is also declared as Central Food laboratory for state), 2. Regional Public Health Laboratories are at Aurangabad, Nagpur and Amaravati, 3. District Public Health Laboratories at: New Mumbai, Satara, Sangli, Kolhapur, Solapur, Beed, Nanded, Jalgaon, Ahmednagar, Nashik and Akola. In addition to the BMC also has laboratory in Mumbai.
Public Analysts have been appointed in above laboratories¸ who analyses the samples and deliver report¸within 40 days from date of receipt. The Public analysts are required to verify sealed portion and analyze the food article, keeping in mind that the analysis has been done as per the methodologies laid down by Director General of Health Services.
FSSAI has been established under Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 which consolidates various acts & orders that have hitherto handled food related issues in various Ministries and Departments. FSSAI has been created for laying down science based standards for articles of food and to regulate their manufacture, storage, distribution, sale and import to ensure availability of safe and wholesome food for human consumption.
FSSAI has been mandated by the FSS Act, 2006 to frame regulations to lay down the standards and guidelines in relation to articles of food and specifying appropriate system of enforcing various standards thus notified, to lay down mechanisms and guidelines for accreditation of certification bodies engaged in certification of food safety management system for food businesses, to lay down procedure and guidelines for accreditation of laboratories and notification of the accredited laboratories, to provide scientific advice and technical support to Central Government and State Governments in the matters of framing the policy and rules in areas which have a direct or indirect bearing of food safety and nutrition, to collect and collate data regarding food consumption, incidence and prevalence of biological risk, contaminants in food, residues of various, contaminants in foods products, identification of emerging risks and introduction of rapid alert system and to create an information network across the country so that the public, consumers, Panchayats etc receive reliable and objective information about food safety and food standards.
MANIPUR

Test on 20 eggs to find ‘plastic eggs’ yields negative result

 
IMPHAL
In light of the recent report in this paper regarding fake eggs entering the market, the state public health food testing laboratory conducted tests on egg samples procured from whole-sellers.
The report given by the state food analyst, Ch. Sanajaoba Meitei deemed that all necessary tests have been conducted on the samples and it has been deemed safe for human consumption. The lab tested 20 eggs only.
According to the report, the samples were received on July 6 and the physical, chemical and structural tests were conducted. As per the National Egg Co-ordination Committee (NECC) recommendation, the shelf life of a normal egg is 17 days in winter and 7 days in summer.
During transportation, the ideal temperature of transporting eggs is at 20 degree celsius but the temperature during transportation is at 32 to 34 degrees. It said that higher temperature is observed during transportation and may cause a structural change in the albumin from liquid to slightly rubbery but doesn’t mean that it is a ‘fake’ egg.
The analyst recommended that a manufacturing date/packaging/collection of the egg should be given for public awareness and a storage temperature should be maintained. It may be mentioned that the Kolkota Municipal Council in May last had seized 97,000 eggs for testing of artificial eggs.
Analyst speaks
Regarding the tests of plastic eggs and plastic rice and other adulteration reports , the state food testing lab is currently conducting tests and there is no sign of any plastic rice or eggs found as of yet, Dr S Bimalkumari, food safety consultant of the Food Safety Administration told Imphal Free Press.
She, however, did not rule out the possibility of plastic eggs and rice entering the market. She said that the easiest way to test an egg is to feel the surface of the egg, it is slightly rough and this cannot be replicated in an artificial egg.
For testing rice, a small amount can be put in a transparent glass with water and plastic rice will float up.
“If there is doubt, don’t eat it,” Bimalkumari stated, adding that there is serious adulteration going on in various edible food products. She said that if the public eat adulterated foodstuff for a long time, it becomes a form of slow poisoning.
She warned that most of the processed food coming from Myanmar is unsafe as it has no Food Safety and Standard Authority of India licensing.
She mentioned further that there may be adulteration and preservatives may be added in meat and fish items. The use of pesticides in vegetables, using carbide to ripen bananas is a major health hazard. Spoiled bananas are sometimes used in making banana cake, rotten eggs used to make cake etc.
Formaldehyde in fish
On May 5 last, samples of sareng, pengba, rohu, ngahei, ahila and mackerel from seventeen different retailers were collected for testing to check if any preservative has been added. The samples have been handed over to the state public health laboratory located at Lamphelpat, MACS complex.
The fish are being brought mainly from Andhra Pradesh. The report from the lab is still pending whereas under section 46 of the Food Safety and Standard Act, 2006, the results should be given within 14 days.
The problem of the state food lab not being able to conduct the test is due to lack of a particular scientific apparatus (a condenser) which costs approximately Rs. 5000. The matter of the unavailability of the lab equipment was put up to the chief minister during a press meet held recently.
Designated officer of Imphal West, Y. Satyajeet said that there is high suspicion that preservatives like formaldehyde may be present but the test results are yet to arrive. He added that all samples of rice, noodles, salt and sugar are being tested for adulteration presently.
MANIPUR

Seized

Chandel : A combined team of Chandel district police and Food Safety and Administration Department under the supervision of SP, Chandel Angam Kamei Romanus carried out a special drive against tobacco and banned food items at the district headquarters today .

The team seized a huge quantity of tobacco items along with many banned food items imported from Myanmar which was later handed to Food Safety officer .

Meanwhile, Chandel district police personnel pulled up four persons and seized 60 litres of local made liquor and two bottles of Indian Made Foreign Liquor during a drive conducted at the DHQs yesterday

PUNJAB

Punjab govt announces Rs 5 crore for modernisation of food safety department

Chandigarh :
The Punjab Government today announced Rs five crore for modernisation of the food safety department and also launched its first mobile testing lab facility to check adulterated food products in the state.
“By ensuring the supply of nutritious and unadulterated food products, many deadly diseases such as cancer, Hepatitis and gastric disorders could be curbed,” Punjab Health and Family Welfare Minister Brahm Mohindra said in a statement.
The state government has also decided to organise capability building programme-cum-special training for assistant food commissioners, food safety officers and designated officers of the health department to provide them with relevant and practical insights into food safety standards, and related legal provisions under the Food Safety Standards and Regulations Act 2006 and 2011.
Mohindra said the state government will also recruit 20 food safety officers for the smooth functioning of food safety branch.
He said the drive has already been intensified in the state with “zero tolerance” against adulteration of food articles.
He said 1,458 samples of food items were found unsafe and adulterated in the state during 2016, and alleged in the past 10 years, the quality of food had deteriorated
 

FSDA brings food in kanwar camps under scanner

Meerut: To keep an eye on the food being prepared at the camps, hotels and dhabas in the city for kanwar yatra, the Food Safety and Drugs Administration (FSDA) has brought the food being served to the devotees under the scanner.
Concerned about the food being prepared and served to the pilgrims, the FSDA authorities have issued a set of guidelines to the kanwar camp owners and divided the district into 15 zones so as to keep a tab on the food quality being served.
“A huge number of kanwariyas will be passing through the city till Shivratri on July 21. Various city-based NGOs and religious groups have set up camps and temporary food stalls in the city to provide food to the kanwariyas. Considering the huge number of people who will be eating this food, we are keeping a scanner on the food being prepared at these camps,” said Archana Deeran, designated food officer, FSDA, Meerut district.
“The district has been divided into 15 zones and duties of various food safety officers finalised for each zone. They will keep a check on the food being sold.
“Also, instructions have been given to send the rate list of food items being sold at these food outlets and also to ensure that only branded spices are used for preparation of food,” said Sarvesh Mishra, chief food safety officer.
The samples will be sent to the food testing laboratory in Lucknow and their results will arrive in a month’s period. The samples will be sent to the state capital to avoid any tampering at the lab in Meerut.
“We have also issued instructions to the kanwar camp owners to ensure that no guideline is flouted and no stale food is provided at this time, especially because the speed of food deterioration increases in monsoon season,” said Deeran.
Meanwhile, the authorities of drug administration, a wing of FSDA, have set up a 24-hour service van, which will remain on wheels and will provide free medicines to the kanwariyas.
 

TAMILNADU

Chamber plea to clear the air on milk controversy

COIMBATORE : 
The Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Coimbatore, has appealed to the TN government to put an end to the controversy over milk adulteration.
The farmers, milk industry and consumers are all under great pressure, said Vanitha Mohan, President, ICCIC.
“It is time to put an end to this controversy which has been going on for weeks now in the interest of all. The Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 gives enough powers to the state government to set standards for various varieties of milk. It also has the machinery to enforce these standards and issue certificates of compliance,” she said and pointed out that the recent videos on milk adulteration coupled with the Dairy Development Minister’s statement on the issue had increased the apprehensions in the minds of the public.
UTTAR PRADESH

FSDA finds various pan masala brands substandard

Bareilly: Food safety and drug administration (FSDA) officials on Thursday claimed that several food samples, including chewing tobacco, turmeric and snack items, sold in the city were found sub-standard and unsafe for human health. They said samples of these items were collected over the past four months and were sent to the lab for testing. FSDA officer Mamta Kumari said that the lab reports confirmed that these samples were substandard and that they would submit their report to the city magistrate to initiate lodging of FIRs against shopkeepers selling substandard edible items.
Chief food safety officer Akshay Pradhan said various samples of pan masala, gutkha, cigarette, etc were collected from the various shops. Besides these, turmeric powder and snack samples (fryums) were also collected from shops located in Meerganj and Navabganj areas.
“Samples of tobacco products have been found substandard by the lab. The lab reports also indicate that several samples of turmeric powder and fryums were found unsafe for human health. We will submit our report to the city magistrate. A case will also be lodged against some shopkeepers at Navabganj and Meerganj in the court of additional chief judicial magistrate. In the matter of substandard tobacco products, we will file a case in the court of additional district magistrate,” Pradhan said.
FSDA officials said that samples various pan masala brands were collected from Kutubkhana, Chaupala and Kudeshia Fatak. The officials also said that such items had been seized and licence of the accused traders would be cancelled.

No momos, burgers, patties for kanwar yatris

BAREILLY: The district administration has issued instructions to the owners of eateries on the kanwar yatra route not to sell junk food to devotees in the Shravan month. Some of the food items that have been specifically mentioned include burgers, noodles, patties, pastries, momos and manchurian.
Food safety and drug administration (FSDA) officials said that sale of junk food, eggs and meat has been prohibited even on highways covered by the kanwar yatris.
District magistrates of Bareilly and Muzaffarnagar have issued directions to administrative officials to ensure that sale of food items that can cause health-related problems to the yatris must be curbed immediately.
Officials said that during the Shravan month, over four crore devotees are likely to pass through Muzaffarnagar on their way to Haridwar. “The district has been divided into 16 zones, 47 sub zones and 83 sectors. FSDA officials have been told to carry out inspections to check the quality of food being sold in eateries along the yatra route,” Muzaffarnagar DM GS Priyadarshi said.
Chief food safety officer Akshay Pradhan said, “Since most junk food items have a small shelf life, often, owners of eateries sell them even after their expiry date. Besides, due to the current weather conditions, it is not safe to have spicy and oily food. We have been regularly collecting food samples from eateries to ensure that substandard items are not being sold to the devotees. Restaurants, dhabas and roadside eateries are being covered in the exercise.”
 
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