Product Recall : The big challenge for food business

As one of the largest producers of food in the world, India faces several challenges in ensuring the availability of safe and quality food for its millions of domestic and global consumers. Global food production, distribution and retailing have never been under greater scrutiny by consumers and regulators than today, especially following several high-profile cases of food contamination and outbreak of food-borne diseases.

Consumer safety, in particular, has become a major concern worldwide leading to an increased number of product withdrawals and recall. The problem is accentuated since food production is now highly globalised with multiple and geographically spread suppliers of raw materials, ingredients, food, additives/ preservatives, distributed processing units, multiple stakeholders and emergence of online and omni-channel food retailing.
With ambitious targets set by the Ministry of Food Processing Industries, Govt. of India, to increase processing of perishables from six to 20 per cent, value addition from 20 to 35 per cent and India’s share in global food trade from 1.5 to 3 per cent in the short term, food safety becomes of paramount importance, resulting in consumer safety and increased brand equity for India, as a supplier of safe and quality foods.
The primary reason behind the distribution of unsafe food is the lack of visibility and information sharing among various supply chain partners. This has become more of a challenge in recent years as the path from food production to consumption has become increasingly complicated with globalisation.
Today, a food product may contain ingredients sourced from multiple locations, passed through different processing facilities, and may have been handled by wholesalers, retailers, and multiple logistics partners before reaching the consumer’s shelf or refrigerator.
A number of regulations, both national and international, mandate food business operators to comply with stringent statutory requirements from a consumer protection and traceability perspective.
The list of such regulations are only growing with increasing consumer awareness and the consequent demand for reliable, trustworthy and full disclosure of information on food products. The gamut of information demanded includes verifying the accuracy of data on the product label, such as its ingredients, nutritional value, etc., all the way to the source of the ingredients, sustainability, assurance of fair trade practices in its production process, etc.
In particular, the EU 1169/2011 Regulation, which is already in force, mandates a digital imprint of product information for retail as well as online selling of food items. The new law combines two directives – 2000/13/EC (labelling, presentation and advertising of foodstuffs) and 90/496/EEC (nutrition labelling for foodstuffs) – into one legislation.
Further, the US Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) enables FDA to better protect public health by strengthening the food safety system. It permits FDA to focus more on preventing food safety problems rather than relying primarily on reacting to them after they occur. The law mandates food firms to employ traceability to achieve higher rates of compliance with prevention and risk-based food safety standards, and to better respond to and contain problems when they do occur.
The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has notified several Rules/Regulations governing food safety, which require food operators to have in place a process/system to efficiently and speedily handle food withdrawals/recalls when required, while keeping the Regulator informed during the process. The proposed amendments to the Consumer Protection Act, 2015, and BIS Act, 1986, will stipulate requirements for putting in place systems to handle product recalls for consumer items.
The Big Challenge – Lack of Visibility
The lack of visibility and an absence of structured information sharing among the various supply chain partners is the root cause of letting unsafe food go unchecked, besides impeding recalls.
In recent instances of food recall, companies were seen contending with some crucial questions – How many batches or lots are affected? What will be the scope of recall? Where are these specific lots in the supply chain?
One of the prime reasons behind these uncertainties is the lack of visibility and information. Despite food products being withdrawn or recalled on a regular basis, manufacturers at best have in place processes only to recall products till their first distribution level. Beyond this, other points of distribution and trading partners are unlikely to have any kind of structured track & trace system in place that could seamlessly receive, exchange and share information on product movement in the supply chain and correlate that with the physical consignments.
This makes recalls ineffective as access and information is available only for a fraction of the contaminated batches in the marketplace, which can seriously damage the brand image of the company.
What authorities, suppliers, buyers as well as end users/ consumers need is fast, accurate and complete traceability information and full chain visibility.
To execute effective recalls, manufacturers require a recall solution overlaid on a robust track & trace system, encompassing the full supply chain regardless of state or country. This requires defining a shared minimum set of requirements and clear accountability on what action is required from each trading partner across the chain.
Another risk food processing companies in India face while sourcing raw food items is the uncertainty over the quality of raw material/ ingredients because of the lack of reliable information on the agricultural process, quality of seeds, pesticides, etc.
This gives us reason to believe that in the absence of reliable product information, food processing companies are themselves becoming victims of low quality raw material that are high on pesticides and other harmful substances.
Need for a Common Traceability Solution Using Global Standards
A common traceability standard is essential to make the product (food item) visible at all levels in the supply chain. Traceability is a key element to improve security, control quality, combat fraud and manage complex logistical chains. Public and private traceability systems are implemented by using automated data capture, electronic data processing and electronic communications. They reduce the risk and uncertainty across both the supply chain and between trading partners.
An effective traceability solution involves associating flow of information with the physical flow of traceable items in order to ensure product authenticity and information sharing among supply chain partners. Companies can achieve ‘accurate and speedy information’, food product/ consignment visibility, and execute accurate product recalls and withdrawals by implementing bottom-up and top-down traceability systems.
Food safety is all about prevention — recall prevention, protecting brand reputation etc. — as well as response. Beyond prevention and simply having the ability to effectively track recalled products, traceability solutions also play a key role in data collection, thus affecting the overall timeliness of your response. If your company is recording all of its production information manually and keying it into a system, there is the obvious chance for human error. Data collection with bar code scanning within the traceability solution increases the accuracy and timeliness of transactions.
A traceability system can help certify a food product is fit for consumption when its unique identity is authenticated at every step of the supply chain and no error or discrepancy is reported against it. Besides,it also helps locate defective or unsafe foods in order to remove them promptly from anywhere in the distribution chain including retailer shelves. In the event of any discrepancy, the unique identification system of the implicated product helps firms to identify the source(s) and the extent of the problem across the supply chain.
Empowering Consumers Through Additional Information
Traceability is an indispensable tool to fulfil the consumers’ need for additional information on a product than what is printed on the label. It is an excellent way to ensure that a food product conforms to the requirements of people’s religious beliefs or respects their lifestyle choices. As a result, various bodies around the world have been created to certify that food and food premises are halal, kosher, organic or eco-friendly.
Traceability systems can make the work of these certification bodies easier by sharing trustable information. Different labelling options, available under traceability solutions, can guarantee that the food items bearing them conform to ethical and/or religious values. Firms can, thus, build a relationship of trust with their consumers through their capability to provide information related to any item, whenever required.
Global Traceability Standard (GTS) is the key to finding the most efficient ways to produce, assemble, warehouse, and distribute products. These systems monitor internal supply as well as link suppliers with their buyers, allowing automated stock management, product master data management, end-to-end product and consignment visibility and other supply-related activities. It leads to a more efficient supply chain and, therefore, reduced costs of operation.
The ability to reduce costs often marks the difference between success and failure. This is more significant for the food industry, where margins are thin and hence supply management, including traceability, turns out to be an increasingly important area to enhance competitiveness.
Besides, brands realise that being good is not good enough anymore. They want to create consumer experiences that are exceptional—even memorable. That’s why companies are literally rethinking how they do business, re-examining every aspect of their supply and demand chains.
In this new holistic retail environment, ‘Data Quality’ is a key step to create memorable experiences. It offers retailers and brand owners a chance to communicate the value of their products more completely in the eyes of consumers. As the velocity of commerce escalates (more products to sell and more channels to sell them through), the quality of the information about those products becomes extremely important—perhaps more important to the purchase journey than the actual quality of the product itself. If the product information doesn’t provide the consumer with what (s)he needs when shopping online or offline, (s)he may not even consider it. So information has truly become ‘part’ of the product.
Using GS1 Global Traceability Standards
GS1, a not-for-profit, industry-led global standards body headquartered at Brussels, Belgium, with a global network of over 110 member organisations around the world, has been dedicated to the design and implementation of global standards and solutions to improve the efficiency and visibility of supply and demand chains for more than 40 years. Their widely implemented standards enable unique and universal identification of products, assets, services, entities/locations, data capture and seamless sharing of information between supply chain stakeholders, including manufacturers /suppliers, retailers, logistics providers and also consumers enabling safety, security and sustainability in global supply chains.
The organisation, in close collaboration with key industry stakeholders across the world, has over the years built a set of effective traceability standards.
These traceability standards have been successfully implemented and used in several developed western economies. GS1 India leads the local implementation and has immense expertise and knowledge on how to implement traceability and recall systems in the country.
According to the organisation, unlike proprietary solutions for internal traceability developed by solution providers, the key differentiator of a traceability solution built and based on the GS1 Global Traceability Standards (GTS) is its interoperability and scalability feature. This provides exceptional reliability especially when identifying and locating products during a food safety problem across the entire supply chain.
By being interoperable and standards-based, the traceability solution can be flexible and vendor independent. This helps in reducing costs of the end-product to businesses and consumers. It enables automated capture and exchange of information (identify, capture and share), ensuring seamless information flow and faster data sharing/ querying between stakeholders, providing the much-needed upstream and downstream visibility in the food value chain. The GTS also enables going beyond just the ‘one step up, one step down’ approach, and can perform event-based tracking across the chain.
Using universally accepted GS1 standards help overcome barriers to commerce that can be created by using company-specific standards. Trading, tracking and tracing goods becomes less expensive as the need to fulfil different identification and communication requirements of each importing country or company can be eliminated.
The GS1 system enables efficient supply chain management and international trade by providing standard tools that allow all supply chain participants to communicate in one global language of business. Key concepts driving GS1 system application can be summed-up as:
Automation of business processes by means of automated data capture (ADC) and electronic data processing (EDP).
Communication of information in the fastest and most accurate manner by means of standard electronic messages that automatically update computer applications with data from trading partners.
Time compression, which offers strategic opportunities to improve customer satisfaction, not just by efficient produce traceability, but also by reengineering business processes across the supply chain.
Facilitating Compliance with Regulatory Requirements
The GTS includes a Compliance Criteria developed for proactive monitoring of manufacturers’ products and processes. The compliance process helps manufacturers in safeguarding product security, quality, certification, origin and content while ensuring compliance with current national and international traceability and recall regulations. The use of the GTS can help manufacturers better prepare for and meet several regulatory requirements such as:
ISO 22005:2005
ISO 9001:2008
BRC (British Retail Consortium) Standards
IFS (International Featured Standard)
SQF (Safe Quality Food) SQF 2000 CODE
Global Gap
GS1’s GTS also helps exporters meet the EU Regulation 1169/2011, which requires manufacturers to make food labelling easier to understand and display the same information which is on the product packaging (label) digitally (online) as well. It is aimed at empowering consumers by providing greater clarity on ingredients, nutrition and allergens by standardizing food labelling.
How GS1 Global Traceability Standards Work?
GS1 standards provide the framework required to support the traceability (business) process. GS1 GTS, developed in 2005 with active participation of food industry across the world, defines the globallyaccepted method for uniquely identifying:
Trading partners
Trading locations
Trading items involved
Logistics units involved
Inbound and outbound shipments
It also defines the essential pieces of information that have to be collected, recorded and shared when designing and implementing a traceability system. A robust traceability solution can help companies answer questions like:
Where are my products?
Where, when, and in what quantities were my products produced?
What quality-assurance data is available for each of my products?
Where, when, and in what quantities were the products shipped to and from?
Who supplied the raw ingredients and when?
Were the raw ingredients used in any other products?
Because of its ability to provide globally unique identification of trade items, assets, logistic units, parties and locations, the GS1 System is particularly well suited to be used for traceability purposes.
This meets the core need to be able to trace back and track forward (one step up, one step down and beyond) at any point along the entire supply chain, no matter how many trading partners and business process steps are involved.
GS1 Traceability Standards in Action
Leading business organisations around the world have endorsed the use of the GS1 traceability solution.
A. Chipotle Mexican Grill
Chipotle Mexican Grill, a US restaurant chain, adopted a traceability solution to advance its commitment to food safety. To deliver on its Food with Integrity mission and serve food made from the very best ingredients, the company needed to effectively engage with a large network of supplier partners to establish a company-wide traceability process.
It implemented a traceability programme leveraging GS1 Standards for sharing standardised product information at every step along the supply chain – applying proven best practices developed by various industry segments. The benefits accrued by the company are:
Increased efficiencies in quality assurance and logistics and real-time visibility of food and other products at each point in the supply chain.
Improved stock recovery process.
Ability to capture and share quality attributes throughout the supply chain and enhance reporting at the restaurant level.
More direct access to supplier-provided information on sustainability efforts.
Chipotle’s Food with Integrity mission is strengthened by the traceability programme it launched with Chipotle growers and suppliers, to attain the company’s goal of end-to-end supply chain traceability. This enables the company not only to ensure the safety and quality of the food it serves, but also that its suppliers are adhering to environmentally and socially sound practices.
B. Deploying traceability for native producers in Peru
About 300 tonnes of herbs, such as thyme, rosemary, mint, oregano and others, are produced by small and midsized herb producers in Peru for export to Europe.
To become more competitive in the export market, an association called BioAquipa (previously Ecolife) that groups 615 aromatic herb producers in the region of Arequipa adopted the GS1 traceability standards. The group established a traceability process map for the aromatic herbs supply chain, including points of control, registries of information and responsibilities, as well as a set of traceability templates and guidelines for each point in their supply chain.
The benefit came in the form of 80% time savings while retrieving upstream batch information. Furthermore, in 2008, the system passed a critical test when a European client’s quality control laboratory identified a problem that caused the export process to be halted. Immediately, teams in Peru carried out their own analyses, testing all the processes along the exact path that the flagged batch had travelled. Using the standardised traceability registries filled in at each point of the supply chain, they quickly ruled out the possibility of any local contamination. With this information, the client investigated further at their end and found that the source of contamination was caused by their own quality control laboratory.
Besides, a recall case of oregano export in 2011 also demonstrated the benefits of GS1 traceability standards for BioAquipa. In this incident, the produce was found to be contaminated by mould in a container received by a client. Such contamination is uncommon but could sometimes happen due to changes in humidity and long distance transportation. However, with the right traceability process in place, the team identified the exact contaminated batch of 36kg, saving the rest of the container – which was 5.4 tons worth of herbs.
C. Traceability for Exported Indian Grapes
Export of grapes from India to the European Union was adversely impacted after higher amounts of pesticide residue than the permissible limit was reported. The highly fragmented grape industry, with manual supply chain processes lacked visibility in the movement of grapes. The industry didn’t have the infrastructure to support sharing of information among concerned authorities and stakeholders.
The Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) built an internet based, traceability system using GS1 Standards to integrate the grape export industry stakeholders on a single platform for full chain visibility.
With the implementation of the traceability solution, which brought all the stakeholders on a single platform, the organisation reported a rise in farmers’ earnings by 40%, FOB increased from 6 euro to 9.5 euro per carton of 5 kg. Further,the solution today benefits 40,000 farmers and 100+ exporters. The traceability solution enhanced the brand equity of India in the export of grapes, and APEDA won the National Award for this implementation.
In Conclusion
The Indian food industry presents a very large opportunity to every stakeholder. This is primarily driven by the changing nature of the Indian consumer, who is more informed and willing to try new products; and the strong production base of the country. he industry-wide adoption of global traceability standards and guidelines is critical for companies seeking to improve collaboration and coordination to ensure food safety.
GS1 Global Traceability Standards provides the ability to verify a product’s history, location or application, which is critical to manage the product quality. Once a problem is detected, traceability allows a manufacturer to identify which batch or lotthe item came from, and from there, where those potentially off-quality items went to.
GTS would enable food companies in India involved in both domestic supply and exports to comply with different Regulatory requirements as well as buyer (retailer) requirements in India or worldwide, in a single, consistent, interoperable and structured manner. It would also facilitate technology/vendor neutral solutions which are affordable for both SMEs and large food companies. Having an effective traceability solution in place enables businesses to better understand, prepare for, and exceed both regulatory compliance and customer satisfaction.

World Food India attracts Rs.68000 Cr investments

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with (from left) Union Minister for Food Processing Industries Harsimrat Kaur Badal and Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan at the World Food India 2017 inaugural session in New Delhi on Friday. Photo: PTI
Prime Minister Narendra Modi with (from left) Union Minister for Food Processing Industries Harsimrat Kaur Badal and Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan at the World Food India 2017 inaugural session in New Delhi on Friday. Photo: PTI
World Food India, spread across India Gate and Vigyan Bhawan, turning Lutyens’ Delhi into a traffic nightmare, started Friday morning with Prime Minister inviting investors to tap the “unlimited opportunities’’ in India’s  Soon after, top executives of global food and retail majors from to Coca-Cola and Amazon to Metro, along with domestic biggies such as and Patanjali, lined up to ink investment MoUs, totalling Rs 68,000 crore over multiple years.  

The MoUs, 13 of them, formalised the investments promised earlier by these companies. Others such as Nestle offered to help the government in food safety, while making a reference to the Maggi ban debacle in India two years ago.    
In investments, led the pack with a commitment worth Rs 13,340 crore, followed by rival Coca-Cola (Rs 11,000 crore). had earlier announced its plan to invest Rs 35,000 crore in India and the latest commitment is part of the total pie. Coca-Cola had in July announced an investment of Rs 11,000 crore, along with its partners, to boost its local agri ecosystem. Friday’s commitment is a reiteration of the same.

The Rs 10,000-crore investment that CEO Sanjiv Puri committed on Friday will be allocated towards setting up 20 integrated consumer goods manufacturing & logistics facilities in 12 states across India.

FMCG major too has promised to invest Rs 10,000 crore investment in its upcoming food parks, managing director Acharya Bal Krishna said.

 The UAE-based Sharaf Group signed an MoU for its committed Rs 5,000-crore investment to augment farm produce, collection, processing and export.

Multinational retail firms Amazon and Metro were next on the list with commitments worth Rs 3,450 crore and Rs 1,690 crore in retail and wholesale trade, respectively. Companies like Janani Foods, Cargill, Britannia, Hains Celestial, CP Wholesale and RP Sanjeev Goenka Group too have expressed interest to invest more than Rs 1,000 crore each.

Food Processing Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal, who spearheaded the initiative of World Food India, on the lines of international events, said, “These investments will help us realise the goal of doubling farmers’ income as well as generating massive employment in the food processing sector.”

Earlier in the day, the PM emphasised the need for private investments in the area to transform India into a global food-processing hub. “Come, invest in India, the place with unlimited opportunities to deliver food — from farm to the fork”. He drew multinationals’ attention to the country’s “delightful cuisine’’. Christopher Columbus was attracted to Indian spices and reached America in search of those, the PM said. ‘’Food processing is a way of life in India,’’ the PM added while referring to papads, chatnis, and murabbas as exciting creations of India. 

Among other food majors, Nestle’s global chairman Paul Bulcke said, “We had some challenging times not so long ago, when our heritage of food safety was questioned. But we have overcome these. No individual entity has answers to all food-related problems but we have to overcome them together. Food safety is non-negotiable for us and we can definitely offer our expertise.”

Amanda Sourry, president of foods, Unilever, said, “With a population of 1.3 billion, a burgeoning middle class, a youth segment larger than the entire population of the United States  and the increasing rate of urbanisation, the opportunity of providing nutritious, safe and tasty food to more than one billion people must be addressed.”

The three-day event is targeting to turn the country into a hub of processed food. According to estimates from ministry of food processing industries, demand for food will increase by 50 per cent and the world population will swell by a fifth by 2040.


FSSAI asks corporates to spread message of food safety


Food regulator FSSAI today asked corporates to actively involved in the efforts to spread the message of food safety and nutrition in the country.

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) organised a workshop on social mobilisation for ‘Safe and Nutritious Food: A way of life’. Broad theme was ‘Corporates for Safe and Nutritious Food’, focused on building a coalition of corporates and design specific interventions that companies can take up.

Over 100 participants from the corporate sector, mainly food businesses came out in full support of FSSAI in its efforts to provide safe and nutritious food to the citizens, FSSAI said in a statement.

Speaking at the event, FSSAI Chairperson Ashish Bahuguna urged corporates to “get actively involved in the efforts to spread the message of food safety and nutrition”.

He hoped that this is just the beginning of long-term engagement between FSSAI and food businesses for social mobilisation.

FSSAI CEO Pawan Agarwal elaborated on various initiatives by the regulator for spreading the message of food safety and nutrition at different places like home, schools, work places and eating places etc.

Among corporates that included both Indian food companies like Dabur and Britannia to multinationals such as Nestle, Mondelez, Pepsi, there was a general consensus that investing in food safety and nutrition is smart, right and sustainable thing to do.

In his keynote address, Dr Lawrence Haddad, Executive Director, Global Alliance for Improvement of Nutrition (GAIN) pointed out that it is in the interest of businesses to invest in food safety and nutrition.

Santosh Desai, Managing Director, Future Brands, described how there has been a fundamental shift in the thinking of corporates about Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).

On this occasion, FSSAI also launched its new website, a water portal and food safety connect for an integrated complaint redressal system.

Unsealed or Unlabelled ? Your bubbletop may contain unsafe tap water

CHENNAI: If the 20-litre water container you buy does not have a seal and a label with details of the manufacturer, you may be just paying for tap water.

From a shopkeeper selling water in dented, dirty cans in Arumbakkam to a ‘ghost’ packaged water unit in Red Hills, TOI tracked the journey of a set of bubble top containers — a source of drinking water for nearly one-third of the city’s population.

The shop on Tiruveedhi Amman Koil street in Arumbakkam sells at least seven cans a day. The containers, which have no labels, in violation of the rules set down by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) and food safety department, are sold for Rs10. The shopkeeper said he bought the water from a dealer in Gandhi Nagar, two streets away. When TOI contacted the dealer, who identified himself as Srinivasan, he said he hadn’t sold water to the shop for almost a year. When questioned where he sourced his water from, he was jittery. “I own a unit in Red Hills called Saipriya. I have the required licences,” he said. But Saipriya is not among the 450-odd packaged water units registered under BIS and the state food safety department in Chennai, Kancheepuram and Tiruvallur.

Although only 17 packaged units have the licence to operate in Chennai, an online search reveals many more. Based on tip-offs, the food safety department raided and sealed three packaged water units in Kodambakkam, Saidapet and Perambur. None of them had licences. As a crisis looms large, more such units are likely to crop up, say officials. “We step up our vigilance from April to June. But this year, we’ve had to start early,” said R Kathiravan, designated food safety officer, Chennai. Last year, of the 12 samples collected, five were found to be unsafe, substandard or misbranded.

Packaged water units, most of which are located in Kancheepuram and Tiruvallur, require a groundwater clearance certificate and approval from Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board before getting a BIS tag. They require a licence from the food safety department. Officials say while contamination of water sold by licenced manufacturers occurs at the filling and packaging level, misbranding, reusing containers above limit, happen at the distribution point. “Many bubble tops are filled by ill-trained workers,” said a food safety officer in Kancheepuram, where 10 units were sealed in November.

However, manufacturers say most violations happen at distribution points. “Only 10% of manufacturers market the water. Most engage middlemen,” said N Murali, patron, Tamil Nadu Packaged Drinking Water Association.

Officials say some neighbourhoods have small units that filter water only through RO, which may not remove all microorganism and then sell. Some work independently, while others are dealers for licenced manufacturers. They refill cans a few times before sending them back to the manufacturers. Sometimes, manufacturers cooperate as it saves transportation costs.

Public health officials say mushrooming of such units is dangerous as just one filtration may not be enough to purify water. “Besides, in reverse osmosis, the membrane may not be frequently cleaned. There should be better awareness among the public to ask for labels before they buy the water,” said director of public health K Kolandaswamy.

Big food companies keen on food fortification – FSSAI


Big food companies keen on food fortification: FSSAI

Big food companies like Cargill, Future group and Tata Global Beverage

 have shown interest in launching fortified food items to fight malnutrition, a top official of food safety regulator FSSAI today said.

Fortification means deliberately increasing the content of essential micronutrients in food to improve its quality.

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), which has released standards for fortification of milk, salt, edible oil, wheat flour and rice as well as logo to be used by the food companies, is now making draft standards for packaged food items and the same will be released in the next two months.

Briefing media about the steps taken to promote food fortification, FSSAI CEO Pankaj Kumar Agarwal said a special meeting on large scale food fortification was held here today.

The meeting was attended by Bill Gates, Co-chair and Trustee of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and eight secretaries from various ministries, including health, food, HRD, food processing and women and child development.

The Gates Foundation and the Tata Trusts have jointly committed their support to this programme, Agarwal said, adding that a new website was launched today.

“I am encouraged by the government’s new initiatives to advance India’s nutrition goals… The foundation is committed to working with the government and other partners to help scale nutrition interventions that advance India’s nutrition goals,” Gates was quoted as saying in an FSSAI release.

Stating that the Ministry of Women and Child Development is considering making food fortification mandatory, Agarwal said this would “accelerate the process” but should be done in a phased manner with different timeline for each products.

However, he emphasised that supply side needs to be strengthened, otherwise it would be difficult to enforce.

“Mother Dairy is fortifying its token milk. They are the first to use logo. Cargill will launch its fortified edible oil. Tata Beverages has shown interest in fortified tea,” he said, citing examples of growing interest from the food industry.

The Future group is setting up a food park near Bengaluru and is “very keen on fortification”, Agarwal said, adding that several states are at advanced stages of adopting fortified foods in government programmes.

FSSAI has set standards for fortification of salt with iodine and iron; of vegetable oil and milk with Vitamin A and D; wheat flour and rice with iron, folic acid, zinc, vitamin B12, vitamin A and some other micronutrients.

Agarwal said the fortification process is easier in the case of salt, edible oil and milk than wheat flour and rice.

About 70 per cent of pre-school children and over 50 per cent of women suffer from anaemia due to iron deficiency.

Food fortification is a simple, proven, cost-effective and complementary strategy that has been used across the globe to effectively prevent vitamin and mineral deficiencies.



A year later, 99.9% ‘Indian brand Maggi ‘ wins 60% of market share


Unfazed by yoga guru Ramdev-led Patanjali’s anti-MNC campaign, Nestle India on Tuesday said its commitment to India will be “unwavering” with a history of over 104 years of presence in the country and described itself as “99.9 per cent” Indian.

“We have been in India for 104 years, 99.9 per cent of my company is Indian starting with me… I am proud of this heritage that we have in this country and proud of what the company has done in this country,” Nestle India Chairman and Managing Director Suresh Narayanan told PTI.

Stating that the company’s consumers, suppliers, vendors, partners and shareholders are all Indians, he said: “My contribution to taxes and salaries are all to Indians and therefore I am at a loss to understand as what else must I be doing to be called as Indian.”

He was responding to a query on how the company views allegations by Patanjali through various advertisements that just like the way “East India Company enslaved and looted us, multinational companies are still doing the same by selling soap, shampoo, toothpaste, cream, powder and similar daily items at exorbitant price”.

Narayanan further said: “So, while the statements are read also by my board both India and globally in Switzerland, we do not change our views simply because of the rhetoric.”

Choosing not to get into a slanging match, he said: “Irrespective of what people might say, they have their points of view, I respect their point of view. Nestle’s purpose and value will be unwavering and its commitment to this country would also be unwavering.”

Reiterating that the “bond and relationship” with India built over the course of a century “are rock-solid”, he said, “The dignity and respect that we command as an entity is something we are grateful for and we would always be grateful”.

Citing the example of the Maggi crisis, Narayanan said that not even once during the entire crisis, the company had a single incident of unrest.

Even though Nestle India shut down five factories for five months due to the ban on Maggi, it did not have a single problem at any of the plants, he added.

“No distributor left us or supplier left us and no shareholder betrayed us and that tells you that they are happy dealing with us as a company and they are happy with the trust and relationship that we have established these years,” Narayanan said further.

“If all these remain with me and I do not change my behaviour, then why should I be worried what people might say or think about my antecedents.”

On whether Nestle India will foray into ayurvedic FMCG products, which is fast becoming popular, he replied in the negative.

“The difference for Nestle is Nestle looks for nutrition and does not look at the origin or the source of the nutrition. This is a company involved in science, technology and R&D in nutrition,” he explained.

According to Narayanan, image, left, Nestle India’s aim is to make efficacious products and it does extensive trials to ensure the items are sustainable and stable and give the right kind of nutrition as far as consumers are concerned.

“I do not see our strategy changing from a primacy of nutrition, science, technology and wellness to a primacy which needs to say that something from this stream of medicine simply because it’s nice one to use. That as a company, we do not have that philosophy,” Narayanan clarified.


A year after Maggi made a comeback following a ban of over five months, Nestle India is looking to consolidate its leadership position in the noodles segment, and re-grow the overall category that has shrunk due to trust issues with consumers over food safety.

Besides, the company, which launched 25 to 30 new products across categories in the last three months, is working to grow the categories in its pursuit.

“The (Maggi) brand was clinically dead in June 2015 when the crisis happened but at the same time, I am happy to say that today, it is knocking at 60 per cent market share and we are back to leadership,” Narayanan said.

Maggi was banned by the FSSAI in June 2015 citing the presence of lead beyond permissible limits and labelling regulations on taste enhancer ‘MSG’. At the time, Nestle India withdrew the product from the market.

Before the ban, Maggi commanded a market share of around 75 per cent. Following legal battles, the popular noodles brand was back in the market in November last year.

“We are not yet back to where we were but we still have a journey to traverse but we are back strongly to leadership,” Narayanan said.

According to estimates, in 2015, the overall noodles segment in India was valued at around Rs 2,300 crore.

“This is about 20-30 per cent less than what it should have been…because of the unfortunate seed of doubt that was planted on Maggi, two things happened — one was that level of trust in noodles itself became a suspect because we were the market leader by far,” he said.

“To a certain extent, the category was shrunk because the market leader was not there and the category came into question,” he added.

Some of the other categories in snacking such as biscuits and chips have been beneficiaries from the Maggi episode, he felt.

When asked by when Nestle India expects Maggi to achieve pre-ban market share, he said: “It is difficult to put a time.”

With the whole episode behind, Nestle India is now looking ahead with renewed vigour and focus on nutrition while expanding in other categories in oder to be counted among the best FMCG firm in India.

“We have in the last three months launched 25-30 new products across categories, not just in Maggi but in coffee, chocolates and confectionery, milk and nutrition, in all our portfolio. This is the single largest window of the new product launches that Nestle India has undertaken in its 104 years of history in the country,” he said.

Narayanan further said: “This came directly out of that desire to do what we do best as a company. To offer quality, safe products and nutritious products across variety of categories we operate in.”

When asked if the company planned to continue with the slew of product launches, he said: “The challenge for Nestle, which operates over 2,000 brands globally, is not what to launch but when to launch. The mandate that I have taken for myself and for my team, is to keep continuing the engine of innovation and renovation in fast changing India.”

For the next two quarters, the company will assess the performance of the new products and see which ones are to be continued and which needed a re-look, he said.

Dog meat trade in NE Region

Women and Child Welfare minister Maneka Gandhi, works on a computer before an interview with Reuters at her office in New Delhi, India, October 19, 2015. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi/Files

Women and Child Welfare minister Maneka Gandhi, works on a computer before an interview with Reuters at her office in New Delhi, India, October 19, 2015. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi/Files

NEW DELHI, OCTOBER 26 (PTI): Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi has written to DoNER Minister Jitendra Singh, requesting him to end illegal trade and consumption of dog meat in the north-east region and also sought the intervention of NIA in tracing traders indulging in drugs and arms trafficking.


The letter cites Food Safety and Standards Regulation, 2011 which doesn’t allow dogs, cats and other animals to be slaughtered for food. The letter adds that dog meat consumption, therefore, is “illegal” and “cruel”.


“I am writing to request you to please look into the blatantly illegal dog meat trade in Nagaland and Mizoram,” starts the letter which was written earlier this month.


The letter also describes the brutal treatment meted out to the dogs while they are being smuggled.
“In Nagaland alone, more than 30,000 dogs are illegally smuggled from neighbouring states in jute sacks where they have their mouth either tied our stitched shut. These animals are starved with no food or water and brutally beaten to death before they are torched and sold as meat to consumers,” the letter said.


The letter then talks about how the same set of smugglers also indulge in drugs and arms trafficking.
“There is not only illegal smuggling and slaughter of dogs but also smuggling of arms and ammunition along with narcotic drugs, blatantly carried out by the same gangs.”


“This is a serious cause for concern for the security of the region and I suggest that agencies such as the NIA (National Investigation Agency) must be asked to establish the persons involved in this thoroughly organised racket,” Maneka wrote.


Attached with the letter is a survey in Nagaland carried out by Humane Society International (HSI) which estimates that at least 40 dogs per day and 15,000 dogs per year are sold each in Kohima and Dimapur.


One kg of dog meat costs Rs 200 here and the consumption peaks during Christmas, according to HSI.
No such estimates are cited for Mizoram. However, the letter mentions how Mizoram government had issued orders in 2007 to stop illegal trade of dogs but that has not been implemented.


According to Section 428 and 429 of IPC killing or maiming of any animal is punishable with a fine or imprisonment of up to 5 years and under Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 killing an animal or offering it for sale can invite a jail term of 3 months.

Prawns injected with Jelly for higher prices


Prawns being injected with jelly-like substances so they will sell for higher prices have been filmed in this shocking video showing dodgy food practices.

The footage, taken in a Vietnam factory, shows the crustaceans being injected in the head and tail.

This will make them plumper and heavier, commanding more money in the export market.

The footage, shot by a Vietnamese TV station, shows the tiger prawns being filled with a substance known as carboxymethyl cellulose or CMC.

Although it’s not harmful to people, it is hoodwinking customers into thinking the prawns are a better product.

Dissolved in water, CMC is often used as a thickener for icing.

Facebook / garytvcom Prawns being injected with jelly to plump them up
The practice uses a thickening agent which is usually found in icing

Greenpeace released a report last year about what they called Dodgy Prawns , discussing the Australian prawn market – the bulk of which are imported from Vietnam.

The Epoch Times reported earlier this year that the gel-injected prawns were also making their way from China into the US, and food safety experts said there is reason to be concerned.

The gel, they explained, was usually extracted from animal skins and bones, and composed of collagen, but it was not always so harmless.

Wu Wenhui, a professor at Shanghai Ocean University, said in an interview in the Chinese press that customers should be wary about industrial gel ending up in shrimp, given that it’s cheaper than the edible version.

Facebook / garytvcom Prawns being injected with jelly to plump them up
Prawns are injected with jelly to plump them up for consumers

“Industrial gel is used for furniture, print, and contains many heavy metals such as lead and mercury, which harms the liver and blood, and is even carcinogenic.”

Even if the gel is the harmless kind, there’s a concern that its injection process may not be entirely without danger.

“Who can guarantee that the process is aseptic?” said Liu Huiping, a member of the executive council of the Tianjin aquatic products association, in an interview with the Beijing News

Police NOC for hotels no longer required


Those wanting to set up restaurants and hotels across the State need not seek permission from the local police as the State government has done away with this provision.

This move will benefit about 8,000 restaurants and hotels in the city, which were awaiting a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the local police.

The State government, in a government resolution (GR) dated December 22,  amended section 33 of the Bombay Police Act, under which it was mandatory to seek an NOC from the local police. The GR stated that any individual who wants to start a restaurant will not require an NOC from the local police any more.

Meanwhile, the Pune Restaurant and Hoteliers Association (PRAHA) has hailed the decision.

President of PRAHA, Ganesh Shetty said that around 8,000 hotels in Pune were functioning without permission from the police. These restaurants were so far considered illegal. “Taking a licence from the police is too complicated, which gave rise to corrupt practices. Now, this will come to an end,” said Shetty.

According to the GR, in a meeting held on September 18 this year on ‘Ease of doing business’, it was decided by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis that some rules are obsolete and should be done away with.

According to the GR, eating house registration certificates, swimming pool licences, Place of Public Entertainment Licences (PPEL-A) and Place of Public Entertainment Licences (PPEL-B) will not require police permissions. However, the GR stated that in case of dance bars, police permissions will be required.

Shetty emphasised that this positive step will encourage the young talent to start ventures in that sector. “Due to complicated procedures, a lot of people hesitated to come in this business. But this initiative will  surely attract those who are studying hotel management,” said Shetty.

According to PRAHA, the revenue to the government will also increase significantly. The owners will need permission from the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC), Food Safety and Standard Authority of India (FSSAI), Shop Act and Excise (for liquor).

Sunil Ramanand, Joint Commissioner of Police, Pune said, “If the Bombay Police Act is amended it will be a huge relief for the police department too. It will reduce the burden on the police. The municipal corporation can look into the licencing aspect

Corporate world saw both ups and downs

Maggi noodles. AP File Photo.

From bans to recalls to mergers and acquisitions, it was a year filled with events, negative as well as positive for corporates. It all started with the famous two minute snack — Maggi noodles.

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), on June 5, 2015, ordered Nestle India to withdraw and recall the nine approved variants of its Maggi instant noodles from the market for having been found unsafe and hazardous for human consumption.

Nestle was instructed to stop further production, processing, import, distribution and sale of the product with immediate effect. FSSAI had also asked Nestle to withdraw and recall its Maggi Oats Masala Noodles with Tastemaker, for which risk/safety assessment has not been undertaken and product approval has not been granted.

Legal battle

While Nestle India sought legal recourse, retailers including Kishore Biyani-owned Big Bazaar and Reliance Retail decided to take the product off their shelfs in the interest of the consumers.

HUL also decided to withdraw Knorr, its Chinese range of instant noodles, from the market following the problems surrounding Maggi.

However, after fresh testing of the newly manufactured samples, the product was brought back on the shelf early last month, nearly five months after the product was banned by the FSSAI. Another really big event from the corporate perspective was the recall made by Volkswagen Group India.

Right when the emission scandal hit the German auto major globally, it was known that the impact will be felt in India as well.

No wonder then that earlier this month, Volkswagen Group India decided to voluntarily recall nearly 3.23 lakh vehicles equipped with the infamous EA 189 diesel engines, which was found to have software that could fool emission tests in some geographies.

Volkswagen Group India was not the only one to recall their products. Honda Cars India, in statement issued on December 10, said that the company is recalling 90,2010 units of the City and Mobilio models manufactured between December 2013 and July 2015 to replace fuel return pipes.

General Motors India announced on December 15 that it will inspect and if necessary, replace the clutch pedal lever in over one lakh Chevrolet Beat Diesel cars made between December 2010 and July 2014