FSSAI nod to e – inspect businesses for food permits

After lockdown, food inspectors can schedule physical inspection of units
The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has decided to allow State licensing authorities to conduct e-inspections to avoid any delay in grant of licences and registrations to certain food business operators (FBOs) during the ongoing lockdown to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic.
This applies to licence and registrations applications where licensing authorities need to conduct inspection of food units before granting permits. These FBOs will be now be allowed to submit photos/videos or do live-streaming of their units or premises to the licensing authorities for the purpose of e-inspection.
In a letter sent to all State Food Safety Commissioners, the food safety authority stated: “FSSAI has, from time to time, issued directions emphasising post-license inspection instead of pre-licence/registration inspection due to limited manpower and to avoid undue delay in sanctioning licenses. However, the licensing/registration authorities may, in certain cases, particularly high-risk food categories, decide to have pre-licence inspection.”
“Since during the lockdown period this would not be possible, it has been decided to consider e-inspections in place of physical inspections,” FSSAI stated, adding that this is being done to avoid undue delay in granting licenses and registrations during the period.
It said that the licensing authorities can do e-inspection by recording their observations on the basis of videos and images submitted by the concerned FBOs.
“The mode of submission of videos or image related to inspection during the lockdown situation may be through any media available possible, including livestreaming. Upon receiving satisfactory video or images, the licensing/registering authority shall further process the applications without any delay,” FSSAI said in the order.
Once normalcy is restored, the food inspectors can then schedule physical inspections of such units. The regulator emphasised that e-inspection is being allowed only during the current lockdown period.
The food safety authority also reiterated that since food is an essential commodity, the authorities involved in licensing and registration should make all efforts to process such applications without delay.

Food Safety Enforcement News – India updates – March 22-2020

PUNJAB

Process to register under Food Safety Act is all Greek to vendors

LUDHIANA: Vendors are finding it difficult to get themselves registered under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006.
It is mandatory for all those who are in food business, including owners of canteens and hotels, to obtain a licence under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006. 
Ludhiana, March 21
Vendors are finding it difficult to get themselves registered under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006. The Suvidha Centre, which was to facilitate the vendors, has left them disappointed.
It is mandatory for all those who are in food business, including owners of canteens and hotels, to obtain a licence under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006.
Parkash, a migrant from Bihar and a roadside vendor, who has a tikki rehri at Chaura Bazar, said:
“I went to the office and they gave me a form, but I was unable to fill it. The form is lying with me. I will ask somebody to help me fill in the form and then submit it,” he said.
Roshan, who runs a juice corner near the bus stand, said: “I know getting registered is mandatory, but the government should simplify things for those who are unable to understand the complexities of paper work. I only know how to write my name and operating computer is beyond my ability. Nobody at the window is ready to fill in my form and I did not want to waste money on agents. A help desk should be set up at such centres to facilitate people like us,” he lamented.
District Health Officer Dr Abnash Kumar said the facility to help people fill in forms for getting registered under the Act was yet to start at the Suvidha Centre.
About registration
Petty retailers and hawkers with an annual turnover of Rs 12 lakh should get registered by paying the annual fee of Rs 100. Large scale units involved in dairy, vegetable oil processing, meat processing, food processing and exports whose turnover is above Rs 12 lakh should obtain licences. The registration is renewed every year.

Coronavirus : How safe is your food ?

01/ 5​Can coronavirus spread through food

With the outbreak of the COVID19, strict instructions of staying quarantined have been passed in most countries around the world. The toll of confirmed cases is rising every minute in affected countries and at this rate, it can also go out of control if proper measures are not taken in time. The situation is becoming severe as we see it and if anything that has become more important than eating is staying clean and washing your hands and face as much as possible throughout the day. Coronavirus is declared a pandemic by the WHO and this has given rise to the pre-existent agitation among people all over the world. For the very same reason, it is important to keep the right information in hand and not let hoax news create any more panic than what already exists. 
02/5 ​False news
One most common false information that is being spread on a large scale is that the virus is capable of spreading through food. The researchers at European Centre for Disease prevention and Control (ECDC) said that even though the virus is likely to have spread from an animal source, it is now spreading through human contact by respiratory droplets that are either sneezed, coughed or exhaled by people. 
03/5 ​Food is safe
So, unless someone who has been infected by the virus, sneezes, exhales or has any form of droplet transmission through food or otherwise within one-metre distance, both you and your food are safe. Droplet transmission can also take place by sharing the infected person’s used cutlery like spoons, cups, plates, etc. The most common gateway for these droplets to enter your body is through your eyes, mouth and nose which is why the hygiene instructions mark as washing hands regularly and keeping hands off your face are prioritized by the World Health Organisation. 
04/5 ​Is meat safe?
Being around the person who is infected with COVID19 can potentially increase your chances of getting the virus. But any information that claims that the virus can be spread through any food items, especially poultry, stand false at this moment. The director of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) has also talked about the consumption of poultry and has made it clear that if made under clean and hygienic conditions, poultry has no harm in the ongoing coronavirus. “As a common healthcare precaution, all kinds of meat should be thoroughly washed and properly cooked,” he added. Many organisations and research centres such as the European Food Safety Authority have been working closely on this matter and have also claimed that currently there is no evidence that food is one of the likely sources of transmitting the coronavirus. 
05/5 ​Important measures to stay safer
It is advised by experts to not eat food from outside and cook at home as much as possible because, at the end of the day, you do not know by whom your food is prepared and under which circumstances. It is also advised to avoid going out to parties, playdates, sleepovers, coffee shops, etc. Staying indoors is one of the easiest ways we can prevent ourselves from getting the virus and spreading it.

Food Safety Enforcement News – India updates – March -15-2020

GENERAL

Can you get the coronavirus by eating food prepared outside? Here’s what food safety experts say

While some of us would want to stick to our home and not dine at restaurants, it may not be possible for some to give up eating out right now. But, is it safe to dine out in the event of a coronavirus pandemic?
Can you get the coronavirus by eating food prepared outside? Here’s what food safety experts say
KEY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The COVID-19, which has killed at least 4,923 lives across 116 countries and territories
  • Dining out may not be on the menu for many as the fears of contracting the novel coronavirus continue to grow
  • Yet, not everyone is ready to give up or avoid eating out just yet. But, is it safe to dine out in the event of a pandemic?
New Delhi: For many people, dining out may not be on the menu for now as the fears of contracting the novel coronavirus continue to grow. Perhaps, now that the COVID-19, which has killed at least 4,923 lives across 116 countries and territories, has been officially classified as a global pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO), a lot of people would be hesitant to venture out of their homes.
While some of us would want to stick to our home-cooked meals and not dine at restaurants, it may not be possible for some to give up eating out right now. In fact, not everyone is ready to give up or avoid eating out just yet. But, is it safe to dine out in the event of a pandemic?
Can you get the COVID-19 through food?
Some health experts said that dining out should not be a cause for concern as long as you take precautions and practice good hygiene such as keeping your hands clean with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub, not coming into contact with those who are unwell, etc.
“As things stand today, based on the information we have from the Centers for Disease Control (and Prevention) and information from local and state public health officials, I don’t see any basis for recommendations that people not dine out,” Benjamin Chapman, food safety expert and a professor at North Carolina State University, told the USA Today.
According to the Food Safety Authority of Ireland, experience with SARS and MERS suggests that people are not infected with the virus through food. So, it is unlikely the virus is passed on through food, and there is no evidence yet of this happening with the COVID-19 to date.
Craig Hedberg, a University of Minnesota professor and an expert on food-borne illness, added that there’s no evidence that the illness is transmitted through food.
That said, let us be absolutely clear about one thing – the novel coronavirus is a newly identified virus and scientists are still learning about the nature of this virus, including its transmission. The virus is known to spread via respiratory droplets from coughs and sneezes of an infected person. Also, the SARS-CoV-2 virus has been detected in the stool of certain patients, noted a report in the Harvard Health Publishing.
So, it would be difficult to rule out the possibility of the infection being spread through food by an infected person who has not washed hands thoroughly or followed hygiene guidelines. And if you’re not sure whether it’s safe to dine out at this point of time, you would want to stick to your homemade food. Also, keep yourself updated with the latest information on coronavirus disease from your local or state health authorities. With the virus spreading rapidly across the globe, citizens have been asked to take precautions, including good hygiene and self-quarantining – if you think you may have been exposed to the virus.
BIHAR

4k kg adulterated paneer seized from Bihar buses

RANCHI: The district administration seized around 4,000kg of adulterated paneer along with 15kg of spurious ghee from five buses coming from Bihar in the early hours of Sunday. 
Ranchi’s food safety officer S S Kullu said, “We had inputs from various shopkeepers that adulterated food items were being brought to Ranchi in buses, hence we carried out inspections at Booty More. While checking, we found around 4,000 kg of adulterated paneer from five buses coming from Hajipur, Bakhtiyarpur and Patna.”
Interestingly, those working in the buses had no idea of the people involved in the scam. They said that they were told to unload the packages at certain locations, Kullu said. “We are trying to trace the culprits. We will take action as per the Food Safety & Standards Act and direction from the administration,” Kullu added.
A spike in adulterated food items has been observed during festivals, therefore, the district administration formed a team and carried out inspection at various shops. Under the special drive being carried out from March 4 to 9, the team has visited more than 60 shops in the city and took 16 samples of food items, which have been sent to the state’s food testing laboratory in Namkum.
The sub-divisional magistrate of Ranchi, Lokesh Mishra, said, “We are carrying out special drives at bus stops, sweet shops and railways stations to seize adulterated food items.”

GUJARAT

Holi festival: VMC sends food samples for testing

Vadodara: Officials of the food safety department of Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) conducted extensive checking of shops selling food items for Holi festivities and collected samples to be sent for examination to the laboratory.
The areas that food safety checking was carried out include Makarpura, Manjalpur, Chhani, Panigate, Khanderao Market, RC Dutt Road, Chokhandi, Gotri Road, Ellora Park, Hathikhana among many other areas of the city.
Items like dates, ‘dhaani’ or popped jowar, ‘sev’, roasted grams and other items were checked during the drive. In all 44 samples were collected by officials who checked 28 shops. Some shops found to be lacking in hygiene were reprimanded by the officials.
MADHYA PRADESH

Food dept team attacked by bakery owner

Jhansi: A team of officials of the food department which had gone to collect samples of eatables from a bakery in the city on Sunday afternoon were allegedly attacked by the bakery owner and his employees. The bakery was later sealed and the officials are in process of lodging a case in this connection.
According to reports, a team of officials of the food safety department had gone to collect samples from a bakery but the the owner resisted.
Following heated arguments between the officials and the bakery owner, the latter along with his workers, allegedly attacked one of the officials. The team immediately informed the police following which city magistrate Salil Kumar Patel and CO (city), Sangram Singh arrived with the force. After hearing both the sides, the police took the CCTV footage for the purpose of investigation.
The city magistrate said, “The officials of the food department have sealed the bakery and are in the process of lodging an FIR”.
TAMILNADU

Stale fish destroyed during raids at Pollachi

Officials of Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) on Sunday inspected fish stalls at Pollachi in Coimbatore district to check the use of preservatives like formalin in fish and also sale of stale fish.
They seized 20 kg of stale fish from four fish stalls that were later destroyed.
K. Tamilselvan, Designated Officer of FSSAI in Coimbatore, said that the raids were held as part of instructions from the Commissioner of Food Safety and Coimbatore District Collector.
He said that one fish stall was found using banned plastic carry bag for packing. Officials slapped a fine of ₹2,000 on the stall owner.
Dr. Tamilselvan added that stern action will be taken against stalls if they were found selling fish laced with preservatives and stale fish. On March 5, FSSAI and Fisheries Department had seized 430 kg of stale fish and 70 kg of fish found with traces of formalin from the wholesale and retail fish markets at Ukkadam in Coimbatore.

Collector instructs hoteliers to closely watch foreign guests

Collector Shilpa Prabhakar Satish on Monday instructed hoteliers to keep a close watch on foreign visitors in the wake of spread of COVID-19 in India.
Chairing a second meeting here to review measures being taken by the Department of Public Health, Tirunelveli Corporation and other allied departments to combat the virus in the district, Ms. Shilpa said the infection spread through sneezing and coughing. Hence, the public were being requested to wash their hands with soap at least 15 times a day.
The hoteliers should keep their premises clean as guests from various parts of the world with different travel history, including visits to countries where COVID–19 infection were reported, might come for stay. Besides cleaning the walls, curtains, furniture, doors, windows, door knobs and water taps, they should spray disinfectants on the premises.
Those who visited China and other countries where the viral infection had been reported should go to the nearest government hospital to get appropriate treatment. Moreover, those who had cough, cold, fever and breathing problems should also get proper medical advice, Ms. Shilpa said.
Deputy Director of Public Health Varadharajan, City Health Officer Sathish Kumar, District Food Safety Designated Officer Jegadish and owners of hotels participated in the meeting.
Since the Collectorate attracted a large crowd on Mondays, as the public from various parts of the district came to submit their petitions, the entire premises was disinfected by sanitary workers.

Consumer Ill After Eating Fungus Infected Ferrero Rocher Chocolates

Consumer complaint as posted by Radhika Singla, Phul, Punjab  on March 09-2020, in Indian Consumer Complaints Forum with photos

I bought a pack of ferrero rocher chocolate pack of 16 chocolate
When I opened the pack I was surprised, the whole lot of chocolates was spoiled, all chocolates were covered with white spots which we also call fungus, I didn’t knew they were spoiled until I searched online,
I even fell ill after eating it, thankfully I only ate 2 though eating 2 is also bad but at least I didn’t ate the whole.
Seriously I didn’t expect something like this to happen
I will complaint about it in consumer court
And guys there who love ferrero plz don’t ever buy ferrero they are not at all trustworthy

ferrero rocher chocolate

Food Safety Enforcement News – India updates – March – 08 -2020

Coronovirus outbreak : Imported food safe says FSSAI Chief

FSSAI had constituted a committee of experts to examine the possibilities of the presence of coronavirus in imported food items.
The country’s apex food regulator, Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), on Thursday said that the food imported into India is safe from the novel coronavirus.
“…the food imported into India including from the novel coronavirus affected countries is safe for human consumption,” a statement from the food regulator said.
FSSAI had constituted a committee of experts to examine the possibilities of the presence of coronavirus in imported food items.
“The committee in its report opined that as of now there is no conclusive evidence for the food borne transmission of the virus. Coronavirus predominately affects the respiratory system and is spread from human to human via droplets while sneezing, coughing, contaminated hands and surfaces. The committee agreed with the advisories of global organizations that the predominant routes of transmission of coronavirus appear to be human to human,” the statement read.
The food regulator also clarified that cooked meat, including poultry, was safe to eat.
“As a precautionary measure, the committee has advised to avoid consumption of raw or undercooked meat as well as unprocessed food products. Frozen food items must be consumed only after cooking them properly. Good hygienic practices must be followed before consuming raw fruits and,” it said.
Since the outbreak was reported on December 31, 2019, in China, a total of 80,270 confirmed cases and 2,981 deaths have been reported in China. Outside of China, 12,857 confirmed cases and 220 deaths have been reported in 78 countries including Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan. India has reported 30 positive cases so far, with no deaths.

FSSAI Chief : Coronovirus does not spreat through Chiken, Mutton and Sea foods

Mar 5 There is no scientific evidence to show that coronavirus spreads through eating chicken, mutton and seafood, FSSAI chief G S G Ayyangar said on Thursday and asserted that the virus would not survive in higher temperature. “It is basically an animal virus. Let us leave it to scientists to figure out how it has been transmitted…however, ours is a tropical country and once the temperature crosses 35-36 degrees celsius, no virus will survive. 

“Let us pray to God that winter ends and temperature rises,” he said. There are at least 29 confirmed cases of coronavirus infection in India. Amid apprehensions that the infection could spread through eating chicken, mutton and seafood, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) CEO said there is a misconception about it. “There is a misconception that coronavirus will spread through chicken, mutton and seafood. There is nothing like that. It is scientifically not proven. “I am a scientist, I will not buy this argument,” Ayyangar told reporters here. 
Ayyangar, who was earlier with Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), said it is a matter of time that vaccine for coronavirus will be developed as India has a good track of handling viruses. “Whether it is Ebola virus or Avian flu, we have handled them very well. It is a matter of time. We have to take precaution. We have to be on our toes,” he said. Urging people to take precautions, he said coronavirus is like many other viruses and developing a vaccine will depend on the complexity of the virus. The government is making all efforts to isolate the virus. 
“Once we are able to isolate the virus, then it takes sometime to find a vaccine to counter the virus,” he said at an event organised by industry body Assocham. Addressing the event on nutrition and functional foods, Hexagon Nutrition Managing Director Vikram Kelkar said prices of vitamin supplements have been volatile recently and spread of coronavirus has affected the supply across the world. 
On March 2, poultry breeders demanded a relief package from the government claiming that the sector has incurred heavy losses of around Rs 1,750 crore in a month due to fake news that eating chicken could spread coronavirus. Poultry bird prices have plunged to Rs 10-30 per kg at farm gate level due to a slump in chicken demand while the average cost of production is Rs 80 per kg, the All India Poultry Breeders Association had said in a representation to the Ministry of Animal Husbandry.

Food Safety Enforcement News – India updates – March -01-2020

GENERAL

FSSAI mapping food classifications under FSS Act with those of HS Code

The Food Safety Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is working on mapping the food classification under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006, with that of the HS Code to ensure uniform enforcement activity for the domestic and imported food products.
 
Rita Teaotia, chairperson of the country’s apex food regulator, said that the mapping would ensure uniform testing protocols for the imported as well as domestic products, thereby creating harmony between the enforcement activity for the two sectors and strengthening of the food safety ecosystem in a holistic manner.
 
“We are ensuring that nothing slips under our hand without proper checking. So what we are doing is mapping our own classification of the products to the custom codes, which are called the HS Codes. So once there is the common codification, the process of testing and sampling become absolutely standardised for both imported and domestic products,” she said.
 
Teaotia was speaking to the press here on the occasion of inauguration of the North India Regional Office of the FSSAI in Ghaziabad.
 
She added, “Under our FSS Act, we have certain classification of the food products, which is part of the existing regulations. Globally, the trade is governed by classification of the products under what is called HS Code, product by product, which is a universal nomenclature and classified by the International Customs Union.”
 
“So, we are mapping our product classification to HS Codes for the domestic market. It was always there for the imports. This will help in making testing methodology and protocols uniform for both imported and domestic products,” Teaotia said.
 
She added,” Also, as part of our commitment as WTO (World Trade Organization) members, we need to have an identical regime for domestic products as we have for imported ones.

AP / TELENGANA

Food safety sleuths raid general stores in Vijayawada

During the inspection, the officials reportedly found that some traders were selling products with expiry dates and were charging more for purchases. 
VIJAYAWADA: Sleuths of Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) on Wednesday carried out raids at wholesale and general stores in one town here. The raids were conducted on the basis of complaints filed against a few traders for poor quality products.
During the inspection, the officials reportedly found that some traders were selling products with expiry dates and were charging more for purchases. 
Addressing media persons, regional assistant food controller N Purnachandra Rao said one dry fruit trader violated FSSAI rules by indulging in sale of misbranded products and not giving bills to the customers. He also said some other traders were found using artificial colours to enhance the appearance of food grains. 
Rao requested the public to demand bill for every purchase. He said samples collected from the stores will be sent to laboratory for testing.
KERALA

Food safety dept raids eateries ahead of Attukal Pongala

The raids which started on Thursday will continue till March 10.
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM : The Food Safety Department served closure notice on three eateries during a special drive launched on Thursday in the wake of the Attukal Pongala festival. The Porotta Centre and Zamzam Bakery at Manacaud were served closure notices for serious violations which would risk the health of customers. Closure notice was also served on ‘One Take Away’ at Karamana for offering stale food items for sale. 
The raids which started on Thursday will continue till March 10. A total of 14 squads comprising 54 food safety officers are participating in the drive. Close to 97 shops were raided on Thursday. Of them, improvement notices were served on 47 establishments, a fine has been imposed on 10 establishments for serious lapses. The department has asked the public to raise complaints and suggestions over the toll-free number 1800 425 1125 or 8943346181, 8943346195, 7593862806.
PUNJAB

Sampling drive: Notice served to trader in city

Jalandhar, February 26
A sampling and checking drive was carried out at Nadala, Begowal in Kapurthala today. A total of 14 samples of desi ghee (manufactured in another state), mustard oil, flavoured milk, besan, chana dal, Dalia, Biscuit bakery, Rusk, tea leaves 2, rajmah, fruit juice and rice puff etc were seized for analysis. During the course of inspection, a dealer of soft drinks was found storing expired food products along with fresh ones. A notice also served to him in this regard.
All food business operators dealing in sweets were asked to comply with the directions issued by FSSAI. Checking was carried out under Assistant Commissioner, Food and Drug Administration, Kapurthala.
Implementing a new order issued by FSSAI (Food Safety and Standards Authority of India) directing display of ‘Manufacturing’ and ‘Best Before’ date in case of sweets, the Food and Drug Administration also directed implementation of the order.
FSSAI Joint Director (RCD – Regulatory Compliance Division) had issued this order after reported instances of stale/expired sweets being sold to consumers, posing potential health hazards.
An indicative list of shelf life of various types of sweets is given in the Guidance Note on Safety and Quality of Traditional Milk Products which is available on FSSAI website.

TAMILNADU

WEST BENGAL

City sweet makers to meet FSSAI over ‘best-before’ rule

The recent order from the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), asking all sweet manufacturers to print the manufacturing date of their sweets and “best before” declarations, has put city sweet manufacturers in a fix. They will now be going to meet the FSSAI bosses in Delhi on March 4 and 5 to look for a solution to the problem. It is likely that the state will support the Paschim Banga Mistanna Byabasayee Samiti in this and send a representative to attend the meeting.
Most of the big sweet makers in Kolkata, however, said they understand the intent of the FSSAI and support the move because this will stop “smaller” manufacturers from trying to sell stale sweets, which are often “covered in thick sugar syrup to hide their staleness”. The declaration of manufacturing and best-before dates will definitely put a stop to this, they felt. However, they agreed there were some logistical issues that need to be sorted out as well.
The meeting will be part of Ahara, a national food festival, to which city sweet manufacturers have been invited. “It is known that Bengal sweets are made of chhana, unlike mawa that is used by sweet makers of other provinces. Chhana as a raw material is extremely fragile and decays after 24 hours so we do not sell sweets that are beyond a day old. We are already writing “to be consumed within 24 hours” on our products,” said Dhiman Das, spokesperson for K C Das.
Most bigger brands said some sweets and their manufacturing processes are so delicate that they spoil within hours. In peak summer, rosomalai and rosogolla, if left unrefrigerated, can spoil in eight hours. “We mentally keep tabs on this. Now we will have to declare it. However, writing them on shelves and on boxes are two different ball games and involve additional hassles,” said Subhojit Ghosh of Banchharam. He insisted that because of the short shelf life of Bengal sweets, it is still considered a cottage industry that needs all the support it can get to survive.
Most sweet manufacturers said the inclusion of Bengal sweets within the GST net has already affected the industry because of the huge cost involved in upgrading accounts. But if the FSSAI declaration involves a complicated process, it will further affect business.
“We want the process to be uncomplicated. At the time of manufacture, we keep back-end records of each batch and we know when to stop selling which tray. We don’t mind declaring it, but we are a bit confused about the process,” Ghosh added.
A spokesperson for the 200-year-old brand Nalin Chandra Das echoed the thought. “We have received the circular to give these declarations by June 1. We don’t mind and we agree that customers have a right to know how healthy the sweet is. However, if we are once again channelled into complications, we will suffer,” said proprietor Tapan Kumar Das.

Kolkata’s street food still unhealthy for consumption

The civic body, in association with the WHO, Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) and two other agencies, conducted a survey and research on Kolkata’s street food with an objective to find easy and implementable methods to make street food safe in a sustained manner.
Acomprehensive survey on Kolkata street food, carried out jointly by the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) with World Health Organisation (WHO), and other agencies, revealed that poor disposal of garbage, lack of hygiene by vendors and re-use of oil, are still some of the major issues that continue to make the city’s street food unhealthy for consumption.
The civic body, in association with the WHO, Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) and two other agencies, conducted a survey and research on Kolkata’s street food with an objective to find easy and implementable methods to make street food safe in a sustained manner. The study is based on a total of 42 indicators and covered 10 zones as identified by KMC.
It covered 104 areas in two detailed surveys and 54 areas in the sample survey. Speaking on the results of the study, Mr Atin Ghosh, deputy mayor and member, mayor-in-council, health, said “The survey report has revealed that most of the street food items are largely safe. However, we cannot say it is 100 per cent safe since the minimum standard of food safety is still not maintained by all vendors due to socio-economic problems.
An NGO survey earlier had revealed Kolkata has the safest street food in India. Consumers and street food vendors have become more conscious about food safety than before.” He added, “KMC had begun full scale food safety drives from 2015 and in the following years, we have also take stern action against food vendors who were found violating food safety norms. We have 16 food safety officer teams for all the16 boroughs of KMC who carry out inspection drives from Monday to Saturday and compile a ward wise report.”
Commenting on the study, Dr. Indira Chakraborty, who was involved with the project, pointed out, “We used 42 indicators for the study which included water, vendor hygiene, raw materials and several other factors. A total of 10 critical issues were observed which continues to make Kolkata street food unhealthy. Firstly, garbage removal is still a huge issue and cooking near it is extremely unhygienic.
The vendors need to dispose organic waste properly. Secondly, lack of personal hygiene while cooking, continues to be a major problem since vendors don’t wash their hands. Many have been observed scratching or fixing their hair while cooking. The hand gloves remain unchanged and are reused for days. Thirdly, use of unclean water for cooking is rampant” “Another worrying factor is frequent reuse of cooking oil. Oil should not be reheated and used for cooking but it is apparent among the city’s street food vendors. Our survey covered all parts of Kolkata” said Dr Chakraborty.
Among the overall inferences derived from the study, one is that maximum number of vendors (74-76 per cent) prepare and sell food at the place of sale and hence onthe- spot awareness generation is possible. Most vendors were found more aware about basic issues than they were earlier.
It was learnt that future steps include conducting nationwide pilot assessments and sharing results with city authorities; creation of safe street food zones in identified areas in Kolkata which will include awareness generation, monitoring, provision of simple amenities etc. Conducting water quality monitoring in different food establishments was also recognised as vital.

Rajasthan – Food Poisoning In Mid Day Meals Centre – 18 Students Hospitalised

Around 50 students were taken to the nearby community health centre. From there, 18 students were referred to Jawaharlal Nehru hospital in Ajmer town

On Saturday, 18 students studying at a government school in Ajmer district of Rajasthan were rushed to hospital after consuming their midday meal. The incident took place at Arjun Pura Khalsa School, a government school in Arjun Pura village.
Rajasthan: 17 students of a government school in Ajmer’s Arjanpura fell ill after consuming mid-day meal. KK Seni, CMHO says, “Children were rushed to hospital and are stable now. Food Safety officer was sent to take the food samples of the meal. We are looking further into it”.
The children had, reportedly, consumed vegetables, roti, and milk as their midday meal. After taking the milk, the students complained of vomiting, nausea, and diarrhoea. The school administration then contacted the health officials, following which the children were admitted to the hospital.
Chief Medical Health Officer (Ajmer) KK Soni said, “Children were rushed to the hospital and are stable now. The food safety officer was sent to take the food samples of the meal. We are looking further into it.”
Around 50 students were taken to the nearby community health centre. From there, 18 students were referred to Jawaharlal Nehru hospital in Ajmer town. The condition of the children, aged between and 11 years, is said to be out of danger now.
He added that around 80 children have been kept under observation. The district collector, Vishwa Mohan Sharma, also informed that the headmaster Khoob Chand Maghani and midday meal in-charge Meena Sharma have been suspended. He had earlier directed the Education Department to initiate disciplinary action against the school authorities.