43 McDonald’s outlets ran without valid license since April

 Last month, McDonald's had decided to shut down 43 of the total 55 outlets here due to failure to renew eating house licences. pti file photoMcDonald’s had decided to shut down 43 of the total 55 outlets here due to failure to renew eating house licences. pti file photo

US fast food chain McDonald’s 43 outlets in the national capital operated without valid ‘health licences’ for nearly three months from April 1, its estranged India partner Vikram Bakshi has alleged.

Last month, McDonald’s had decided to shut down 43 of the total 55 outlets here due to failure to renew eating house licences.

Bakshi, an equal joint venture partner of McDonald’s India Pvt Ltd (MIPL) in Connaught Plaza Restaurants Ltd (CPRL), the licensee for North and East India regions, said licences had expired on March 31.

“From April 1 to June 27, 2017, we did not have any health licence, it’s absolutely correct,” Bakshi told PTI.
He has been at loggerheads with McDonald’s since 2013 when he was removed as the managing director of CPRL and is contesting it at legal forums, including the London Court of Arbitration.

Bakshi said the health licence was necessary from local municipal bodies to run the restaurants for water hygiene and proper maintenance of food, among others.

When contacted to confirm if the company operated those 43 outlets without valid health licences, Barry Sum, Director – Corporate Relations, Asia Foundational Markets, McDonald’s, declined to comment.
“We want to focus our efforts on resolving the issues as soon as possible at this moment,” he said.

The closed outlets are unlikely to open any time soon as Bakshi has refused to sign the licensing documents. To renew it, the JV partner and an MIPL-nominated director have to co- sign licence renewal applications.

Bakshi said: “In early March before the licences were to go for renewal, I have clearly stated that because of issues of food safety and because of us not actually providing quality and safe food to customers, I no longer intend to sign (to apply for renewal of) the licences.”

Sum blamed Bakshi for the closing of the outlets.

“The current situation is the result of our former JV partner’s refusal to co-sign the licence renewal applications with an MIPL-nominated director, which were the protocols previously approved by the CPRL board,” he said.

The restaurants will reopen when the required licences have been obtained, Sum said.

MIPL still intends to look for a constructive resolution to the situation so that the impact on stakeholders will be mitigated. This will require the appointment of someone from CPRL other than the directors, he added.

Bakshi defended his decision, saying once he was removed from the post of managing director in 2013, he no longer had the authority.

Even under a new structure when he co-signed with MIPL nominated director Ayesel Melbye, Bakshi claimed that it was him who had to face the issue on the ground and only he was called whenever there was a challan or a police case as his name was in the licence.

“Ayesel Melbye doesn’t live here and continues to live outside India and she is beyond the laws of India,” he said.

Alleging deterioration in quality of food served, Bakshi said: “I have been constantly writing to McDonald’s board and the CEO of the company since 2014 about various issues right up to having served a fried lizard in Kolkata.”

FSSAI aims to regulate distribution of surplus food from restaurants

Aiming to regulate the collection and distribution of surplus food from hotels and restaurants, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has issued a notice calling for suggestions, views and comments from the World Trade Organisation’s sanitary and phytosanitary (WTO-SPS) committee members on the draft regulations.

The draft notice also put out the definition, responsibilities of food business operators (FBOs) and surplus food distribution organisations and labelling regulations. Besides, it also talked about punishment for non-adherence of the regulations.

Surplus food has been described as any leftover, unused portions of safe food that have not been served to the customers.

Explaining the handling of surplus food by the FBOs, the notice stated, “Surplus food handed over to food distribution organisations should be safe and segregated in to perishable and non-perishable items and be packed properly to avoid contamination during handling and storage.”

“Both the perishable and non-perishable surplus food be stored in hygienic condition at optimum temperature to ensure their safety, and the food donor should give an advance notice to food distribution organisations to ensure the timely distribution and consumption of food within its shelf life,” it added.

Commenting on the importance of handling surplus food properly, an official from FSSAI informed, “Food wastage is taken very seriously in developed countries. Food wastage and starvation in India is a problem, and has become important issue in recent times. To curb the wastage this move has been taken.”

“Surplus food provided to the needy by the distribution organisation is required to follow the hygiene and food safety regulations mentioned in the draft, and any complaint received regarding its enforcement will be taken seriously,” he added.

Giving more information about handling and distribution of surplus food by the food distribution organisation, the notice stated, “Surplus food picked up from the FBO’s facility should be packed in clean and covered containers, and it shall have the required date markings, namely the pick-up date and the use-by date of the food.”

“It shall be stored and transported in the appropriate hygienic conditions and at the appropriate optimum temperature. Insulated containers and ice packs, if necessary, may be used to maintain the food temperature during handling and transportation. The vehicle used for transportation should be cleaned on a regular basis and shall not be used for purposes other than delivering food,” it added.

“Surplus food should be distributed and served to the needy before the expiry or until the food is fit for human consumption, and the food that is not fit for consumption should be put in a container marked food for disposal,” the notice said.

“When a refrigerator is used for storage of surplus food, it should be cleaned once a week and should be maintained below seven degree Celsius. The storage area should be well sealed to prevent the entry of pests and a pest control programme shall be followed,” it added.

“All employees or volunteers who work with distribution organisations should maintain personal hygiene and training in health and personal hygiene will be imparted to them. No person shall come into contact with food during any illness,” the notice stated.

Robin Hood Army is a volunteer-based organisation with chapters in 42 cities. It works to get surplus food from restaurants across to the less fortunate people. It has welcomed the directions issued by the apex regulator.

Sanchit Jain, the organisation’s founding member and head of expansion team, said, “ We welcome the move, as somewhere there is a lack of awareness, and with this, there is an attempt to take up the problem and find a solution.”

“Talking about Robin Hood Army, we take a lot precaution from our side to ensure the quality of the food we serve,” he added.

Speaking about the hygiene aspects, Jain said, “The packaging material or container used for the storing food is done properly, so there is no spoilage. We do not store the food and distribution is done within an hour of collection.”

“We have two core rules. Firstly, we don’t take money, and secondly, we are very conscious when it comes to the quality of the food. Even though the food is used for charity purposes, we make sure that it is not old or stale food,” he added.

Meanwhile, the draft also prescribed the labelling requirements of donated food. It stated that pre-packaged foods shall bear complete labels, containing the name of the item/food, the manufacturer information, the list of ingredients and the date of expiry.

The donated prepared food shall be labelled with the name of the food, the source of the food, the date of preparation, the last date of consumption and the nature of the food (i e vegetarian or non-vegetarian). Also, the information on the label should not be masked in any manner.

The draft also mentioned constituting a committee for the monitoring the enforcement of these regulations in the states.

It said, “The commissioner of the state/Union Territory (UT) will constitute a monitoring committee at the state/UT level. It will consist of two members from state enforcement, one representative from the department of consumer affairs of the respective state, one member from a non-governmental organisation (NGO), one representative from a food distribution organisation, one representative from an industry association and other relevant stakeholders.”

“The said committee shall monitor and make recommendations for the improvement of the operation, may issue guidelines for the collection and retrieval of food and will also specify the time before the expiry, at which food shall be segregated,” the draft added.

சென்னையில் ஒரு திகில் உணவகம் (காணொளி)

சென்னையில் ஒரு திகில் உணவகம் (காணொளி)

”பால் நினைந்தூட்டும் தாயினும் சாலப்பரிந்து” என்பார் மாணிக்கவாசகர். “பேய்கள் சாலப் பரிந்தூட்டும்” உணவகம் ஒன்று சென்னையில் அமைந்திருக்கிறது. (காணொளி சென்னைச் செய்தியாளர் ஜெயக்குமார் )

சென்னையில், குறிப்பிட்ட ஒரு கருப்பொருளை பின்னணியாக கொண்டு உருவாக்கப்படும் “தீம்” உணவகங்களில் இதுவும் ஒன்று.

உணவு பரிமாறும் முறையிலும், பரிமாறப்படும் உணவுகளின் பெயர்களிலும் கூட இங்கு ஒரு அமானுஷ்ய தன்மை இருக்கிறது.

‘பேய் விருந்து’ என பெயரிடப்பட்டுள்ள மதிய உணவு இந்த உணவகத்தில் மிக பிரபலம்.

உணவகத்திற்குள் திரும்பும் பக்கமெல்லாம் அமானுஷ்ய கதை கூறும் படங்களும், பேய் பொம்மைகளும் காணப்படுகிறது.

அந்த உணவகத்தில் ஆங்காங்கே எழுப்பப்படும் சத்தங்களும் கூட மென்மையான இதயம் கொண்டவர்களுக்கு திகிலூட்டக் கூடும்!

அனைத்திலும் வித்தியாசத்தை எதிர்பார்க்கும் சிலர், இது போன்ற விசித்திரமான உணவகங்களையும் ரசிக்கத்தான் செய்கின்றனர்.

‘பேய்ப்பசி’ எடுத்தால் இங்கு போகலாம்!

Posh restaurants serving unhygienic food

 KFC

In a shocking discovery, the Department of Food Safety (DFS) of Delhi has found that many posh restaurants and upscale brands in the Capital are serving “unsafe” and “unhygienic” food to Delhites. According to the department officials, food samples collected from restaurants in Connaught Place which included KFC, Ardor and restaurants belonging to the ITC Maurya in Pancharipuri, were found to be unsafe and not fit for consumption. As per the report prepared by the DFS, a sample of chocolate truffle cake was taken from a restaurant in the ITC Maurya, a piece of chicken stripe from KFC and a sample of aloo sabzi from Ardor restaurant in the month of March. Apart from these restaurants, samples were also lifted from other parts of Delhi and sent for testing. “These samples have been found unsafe. A notice has been sent to all the eateries for further action,” said Pawan Kamra, Deputy Commissioner, Department of Food Safety, Delhi government. Officials said that the chocolate truffle cake was contaminated with pathogenic bacteria, the aloo sabzi from Ardor was coloured with unpermitted oil soluble synthetic colouring matter and the KFC chicken stripe had the anti-caking agent — silicon dioxide. 

Image result for Ardor restaurant DelhiImage result for ITC Maurya Delhi restaurant
According to health experts, presence of pathogenic bacteria in food can lead to food poisoning and the presence of the other chemicals in the food samples are worrisome When asked to respond, most of the eateries said that they have challenged the report. “We have challenged the report of the Food Analyst and the matter is sub-judice. The food sample has also been tested by an independent National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL) accredited laboratory which has found the same to be fit for human consumption,” said a spokesperson from ITC Maurya. “We maintain utmost hygiene standards and don’t use any synthetics or artificial flavours in our food. We have sent the samples for retesting to higher authorities through the department only.

Farmers body seek ban on trade in chemically produced Sago

Sago (commonly known as sabudana) is again under the scanner after Kalkurichi Vellalapatti Vevasaikal Munnatra Sangam (KVVMS), a Tamil Nadu-based farmers’ body, sought a ban on trade in sago, which has alleged been produced using chemicals, across India.

The association wrote a letter to consumer affairs, food and public distribution minister Ram Vilas Paswan, requesting him to ban it. Letters were also sent to other authorities in this regard. These included the prime minister’s office (PMO) and the ministries of commerce and industry and finance.

The farmers also filed a petition in the Madras High Court.

KVVMS’ members alleged that the sago was adulterated with rotten and decayed tapioca starch, adding that the same was being sold to the consumers with the approval of the authorities in Tamil Nadu’s food safety department, the Salem-based starch and sago manufacturer Sago Serve and traders in Tamil Nadu.

R Chandrasekaran, the body’s secretary and petitioner, said, “The manufacturers are selling sago which was manufactured three years ago. It has now expired, and if consumed, is harmful for human health, as it contains fungus and live insects.”

“The production of sago is the highest in the state of Tamil Nadu. Ninety per cent of the sago produced in the southern state is consumed in cities across Maharashtra, including Mumbai, Pune, Nashik and Nagpur. Ten to 15 per cent of it is consumed in Madhya Pradesh,” he added.

The Food Safety and Standard Authority of India (FSSAI) came in existences in 2011. Since 2012, KVVMS has been approaching it to look into the matter, wherein chemically-processed sago is being sold to the consumers.

Chandrasekaran said, “In 2015, KVVMS approached the Madras High Court with just one question: Is the processed sago fit for human consumption?”

“The court, in its decision, stated that if any trader was found selling chemically-processed sago, strict action would be taken against him,” he added.

“It urged FSSAI to issue standards and a testing methodology for sago. The apex regulator was ordered by the court to streamline the regulations for sago within two months,” Chandrasekharan said.

He added, “As directed by the Madras High Court, FSSAI issued the draft standards for tapioca or sago. A major part, dealing with testing, was missing in the draft. The method of analysis of sago and the tests that must be conducted to check the safety parameters to ensure that it is safe are also missing.”

FSSAI prescribed new norms for tapioca (sago) in the new draft it released . The draft regulations for starchy foods under tapioca sago or palm sago stated that they should be free from insect infestation, live/dead insects, dirt, extraneous  matter, added colouring matter, visible mould growth, bleaching whitening agents or optical whiteners, sweetening agents or any other adulterant.

“In February 2017, the court ordered that the new norms of the government order be adopted. However, no action has been taken in the matter to date,” stated Chandrasekharan.

An official from Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Maharashtra said, “We haven’t received any complaint in the matter so far.”

A food safety officer (FSO) from Nagpur, Maharashtra, denied the receipt of any complaint relating to expired or chemically-processed sago in the region so far.

Fake Water packaging units

Recuse of water bottles

Vazhakkad (Malappuram): The inspection conducted by Panchayat authorities at a food and beverage manufacturing unit at Mundumuzhi has found that water bottles collected from railway stations are being refilled with water and sold. Authorities closed down the centre which was functioning in unhygienic conditions without following any guidelines.

Another establishment situated nearby was also fined. Rail Neer water bottles that are available in railway stations and trains only were found at the establishment. The firm collects and refills the water bottles that are abandoned in tracks and waste baskets at the railway stations, before selling them. The stickers of the old bottles are removed before selling them.  It is suspected that drivers are being influenced to collect the bottles that are being sent to the recycling units from railway stations. The establishment manufactures and packs Sarbath, mineral water, soda, soft drinks and essences. Each item is packed in different names.

 What is more astonishing is that the firm has not put any boards or signs outside the unit.  Ten women are working at the firm on a regular basis. Fungus-affected mango, lemon and other items are kept in various casks. It is suspected that these are cleaned and used again. None of the owners were present during the inspection.  The authorities will examine whether the food safety license of the firm is fake

Cargill Foods seizes stock of fake oil brands

Mumbai :  FMCG company Cargill Foods India today said it has seized finished and semi-finished stocks of a fake cooking oil brand with the help of police authorities.

The stocks were seized on the city’s outskirts as part of the company’s fight against counterfeiting of goods.

Cargill, with the help of court officials and police authorities, conducted a raid on MM Oil Enterprise in April at its premises at Dahiser Mori near here, the company said in a release here.

Finished goods and packing material of the fake oil product, being sold under ‘Genuine’ brand, were seized in the raid. The brand is a duplicate version of the company’s popular cooking oil label ‘Gemini’.

“Gemini cooking oil is a heritage brand, which comes with a sense of belonging and trust amongst our consumers. The initiative taken in February to introduce technology for combating counterfeit products has created a platform for this raid.

“With the help of court officials and local police authorities, we were able to seize the fake goods that are health hazards for our consumers, and which also tarnish the brand’s equity and reputation,” Cargill Foods India Managing Director Deoki Muchhal said.

The raid resulted in the seizure of finished stock of 9.5 tonnes and over 14 kgs of packaging materials, he added.

Cargill has businesses in refined oils, food ingredients, grain and oil seeds, cotton, animal feed and trade structured finance. It markets leading consumer brands of edible oils like Nature Fresh, Gemini, Sweekar, Leonardo Olive Oil, Rath and Sunflower brand of hydrogenated fats in India.

The company also markets Nature Fresh brand of packaged wheat flour.