Consumer tweets : Labelling defects

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Food poisoning in Noon Meal Centre – 27 students fall ill in Tiruvallur

A total of 27 students of a government-aided school in Tiruvallur district were admitted to the Government Children’s Hospital in Egmore when they fell ill after consuming noon-meal provided by the school on Monday.

They had consumed vegetable rice and eggs in the afternoon and, soon after, all of them fell ill.

“They were rushed to a private hospital and from there to the Government Children’s Hospital in Egmore. On Tuesday, 25 of them were discharged. Two of them are undergoing treatment,” said a government official. Two staff members have been suspended.

Color Coding To Help Buyers Differentiate Between Healthy & Unhealthy Foods

Health conscious eaters or people who are looking for foods that are devoid of harmful chemicals and GMO often have a tough time at markets because it’s not exactly easy to distinguish GMO and chemical-free goods from the entire lot. However, a new regulation introduced by India’s apex food safety regulator, Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), may soon change that.
FSSAI has made it compulsory for all food manufacturers to display a red color coding on front-of-the-pack labels borne by packaged food products that are high in fat, sugar or salt levels. Currently food packets – or boxes – carry a general table containing all the nutritional information like calories, total fat, trans-fat, total sugar and salt per serving, but with the new regulation in effect, for products that will contain high levels of fat, salt and sugar, the percentages of dietary energy values will be highlighted in red on the labels. Though a first for India, this is a common practice in many countries.
Additionally, the food safety and standards controller has also suggested that all food products that have 5 percent or more of ingredients that are genetically engineered or modified (GMO) should carry a clear declaration stating the same.
The proposed draft Food Safety and Standards (Labelling and Display) Regulations, 2018 are now in the public domain for suggestions and feedback before they are notified, reports The New Indian Express. What do you think, will this move make selecting foods at markets easier for us or will it have no major effect? Let us know what you think in the comments below.
 

Watch out: The milk you drink is tainted

Representational Image

NEW DELHI: The milk that you and your household consume might be unfit for consumption.  
Random checking by government agencies has revealed that about 30 per cent of milk sold in the country is adulterated. This is significant given that India is one of the world’s largest producers of milk, estimated at 165.40 million metric tonnes in 2016-17. The annual demand for milk by 2022 is estimated to be  210-220 million metric tonnes. 

The state food safety department analysed a total 7717 samples, of which 2307 were found to be ‘non-conforming,’ or adulterated. Officials said mixing water is most common, which dilutes the  nutritional value of milk. Contaminated water can cause additional problems. Other, even more deadly methods include adding adulterants like detergent, foreign fat, starch, sodium hydroxide (caustic soda), sugar, colour and urea. 

Experts say the number of samples collected is minuscule when compared with the actual use of milk in every household. Naresh Kadyan, a consumer rights activist who has been campaigning for tighter quality controls on milk, says a larger sample would probably reveal much higher levels of adulteration. 

“Food safety departments in most states are short-staffed. There are only about 30-40 or 50 food inspectors in each state that is too little given the demand. There are thousands of dairies and groceries in any big city selling dairy products,” he says.  

Concerned over the increasingly rampant cases of adulteration, the government launched an initiative for supply of pure milk, and the national dairy development board (NDDB) was tasked with standardizing, examining and awarding certifications to milk manufacturing units. Ministry of agriculture officials said the ‘Quality Mark’ initiative is aimed to enhance consumer confidence in milk and milk products. Last week, Mother Dairy was conferred with “Quality Mark” for all its polypack milk variants.

The officials also noted that the milk produced is almost entirely consumed domestically and demand is by and large equal to the production. To increase the production of milk further, the ministry is implementing dairy development schemes to strengthen milk cooperatives in the country. This include National Dairy Plan- Phase-I (NDP-I), National Programme for Dairy Development (NPDD) and Dairy Processing Infrastructure Development Fund.

Under NDP-I, 468 sub-projects in 18 States have been approved, with a total outlay of Rs 1,719.70 crore till February 2018. Under the NPDD programme, 66 projects in 24 states with total outlay of Rs 626.697 lakh were approved till February 2018. The Dairy processing and Infrastructure Development Fund (DIDF) was launched in 2017-18 with a total outlay of Rs 10,881 crore. Legal experts say that along with these initiatives, the government should also focus on stricter enforcement in the cases of adulteration. 

“We can’t rule out the nexus among the stakeholders. The issue is directly related to the public health and government should take some serious initiatives to implement the food safety rules,” said advocate Umesh Sharma. “(Food adulteration) is a bailable offence and the accused have never got arrested. Basically, the food safety department is like a toothless tiger,” concurred  Naresh Kadyan.
 
A Law Commission panel has recommended that sections 272 and 273 of the IPC be amended to make adulteration a serious crime, and depending on the gravity of the offence.

Milk adulteration (data 2016-17)

  • 7,717 no. of samples analysed by food safety departments
  • 2,307 samples found non-conforming
  • 30% percentage of samples (non-conforming)
  • Mixing water is most common and it reduces its nutritional value
  • Contaminated water can also cause additional health problems
  • Other adulterants like detergent, foreign fat, starch, sodium hydroxide (caustic soda), sugar, colour and urea are also used 

Demand and Supply   

Annual production during 2016-17: 165.40 million metric tons 
Expected demand by 2022: 210-220 million metric tons

 

Food Safety Enforcement News – India updates – April -15-2018

GENERAL

No junk food ads aimed at kids : FSSAI

 

junk food
 
New Delhi: India’s food regulator has proposed a ban on all forms of advertising of products with high fat, sugar and salt (HFSS) aimed at children, a move that could affect companies making chips, burgers, pizzas and other junk food. 
“HFSS food products shall not be advertised to children in any form,” the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India said in a notice inviting comments, views and suggestions to its draft regulations. However, the draft Food Safety and Standards (Labelling and Display) Regulations, 2018, did not spell out how the advertising curbs would be enforced. An expert panel set up by the authority earlier had recommended a ban on advertising of junk foods on children’s channels or during kids’ shows on TV. “Potato chips, colas, ready-to-eat food and pickle are hugely advertised products which fall in the category of high fat, sugar and salt. However, these are items of general consumption, so how do we ensure that children are excluded from viewing those ads?” asked Sagar Kurade, a representative of the All India Food Processors’ Association. The Food and Beverage Alliance of India, which includes companies such as Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Nestle, Kellogg, Mars Chocolate, Hindustan Unilever and Mondelez, has already decided to voluntarily restrict food and beverage advertisements aimed at children. “The revenue of kids’ channels has already suffered due to responsible advertising policy of most multi-national companies. 
Going forward, there could be some more dent, however, it may not be so much,” said Basabdatta Chowdhuri, chief operating officer of media-buying agency Publicis Media. The draft policy suggests that food companies declare the quantity of total fat, added sugar, salt, trans fat and energy in each serving with the recommended dietary allowance. 

Healthy foods may be colour coded: Food Safety and Standards Authority of India

File Image for Representational Purposes. | Reuters

NEW DELHI: In a move aimed at helping consumers make informed choices, India’s apex food safety regulator has proposed making it mandatory to display red colour coding on front-of-the-pack labels on packaged food products with high fat, sugar or salt levels.

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India has also proposed that a declaration be made on the label if the food product has five per cent or more of ingredients that are genetically engineered or modified.

The proposed draft Food Safety and Standards (Labelling and Display) Regulations, 2018 are now in the public domain for suggestions and feedback before they are notified.

The regulations say that food company will need to declare nutritional information such as calories, total fat, trans-fat, total sugar and salt per serving on the front of the pack.

However, FSSAI has suggested that in case of packaged food products containing high levels of fat, salt and sugar, the percentages of dietary energy values be highlighted in red colour on the labels.  

In some developed countries, colour coding is used to let consumers decide if they want to have potentially unhealthy food.

FSSAI launches initiative to address Vitamin D deficiency

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) on Monday launched ‘Project Dhoop’, an initiative aimed at shifting the school assembly time to noon to ensure maximum absorption of Vitamin D in students through natural sunlight.
The project was launched at National Bal Bhavan here, and saw participation of around 600 students from NCERT, NDMC and North MCD Schools.
FSSAI CEO Pawan Agarwal said the schools across the country have been sent two advisories aking them to hold daily assembly between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m..
Project Dhoop’s Noon Assembly is an innovative and effective concept to ensure that school students get adequate Vitamin D through sunlight, while also opting to choose food products like milk and edible oils that are fortified with Vitamins A and D,” he said.
The concerns among parents about assembly at noon would be addressed properly, he added.
Agarwal also said that opting for fortified foods (with +F symbol) was a simple and inexpensive way to address micronutrient deficiencies “without any radical change in behaviour or eating patterns”.
Both fortified milk and fortified edible oil are now readily available across the country, he added.
The initiative has been conceptualised by McCannHealth and supported by Kwality (Ltd).
Studies have shown that over 90 per cent of boys and girls across the country were deficient in Vitamin D while the number ranged between 90-97 per cent for school children in Delhi, said Kabir Basu Roy, Chief Marketing Officer of Kwality.
“It was this knowledge that led us to fortify many of our products with Vitamin D and other essential nutrients,” a release quoted him as saying.

CHANDIGARH

No check on artificial ripening of fruits at Sec 26 market in city

No check on artificial ripening of fruits at Sec 26 market in city
Artificially ripened mangoes at the Sector 26 market in Chandigarh. Tribune photo: Pradeep Tewari

 

Despite a raid by officials of the Heath Department at the fruit market in Sector 26 on Thursday, artificial ripening of fruits by using calcium carbide continues.Shockingly, the chemical was easily available in the market and nearby Ram Darbar.A traders said increasing competition and customers’ choice forced them to use the chemical. “If I won’t sell artificially ripened fruits, then my competitor will do. Even customers prefer ripened fruits,” said the trader.He added, “There is another problem with ripened fruits. These rot during transportation. In order to prevent losses, we take unripe fruits and use calcium carbide to ripen these.”Speaking on the issue, Harpreet Kaur, a homemaker, said she was sceptical about buying fruits.“Nothing is pure these days. While adulteration of milk continues, there is overuse of pesticides on wheat and vegetables. Now fruits, which were stated to be the healthiest, are being artificially ripened.”Ritu, who was accompanying Harpreet to the market, said many of her friends were nowadays ordering fruits on food delivery apps. “But those fruits were also being purchased from here. So, what is the difference,” said Ritu.The crackdown

On Thursday, a team of the Heath Department team had conducted a raid and seized artificially ripened bananas from the Sector 26 fruit market. According to Sukhwinder Singh, designated officer-cum- licensing authority, food safety, said the department received an input that artificially ripened fruits including, mango, papaya and banana, were being sold in the market. They seized 3.5 quintals of banana.Traders shift to Chinese ethylene powderWith the Heath Department going tough on the use of calcium carbide, the market is full of sachets of the Chinese ethylene powder. Shockingly, it is being sold as a legal fruit ripening agent. Health Department official Sukhwinder Singh said they were waiting for a report of the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India on it. Talking about its effects, he said artificially ripened fruits could cause nausea and stomach infection.   Precautions needed

Sukhwinder Singh, a health department official, said, “While buying bananas, one can spot dark patches. Such bananas could have come in touch with calcium carbide. Similarly, artificially ripened fruits lack consistency. An artificially ripened papaya and mango will remain raw on one side. How chemical works

When calcium carbide comes into contact with moisture, it produces acetylene gas, which is quite similar in its effect to the natural ripening agent, ethylene. Acetylene acts like ethylene and accelerates fruit ripening. Calcium carbide is rolled in a newspaper and kept in a box of bananas.

CHATTISGARH

KORBA:

ALL such people who are fond of eating in hotels can heave a sigh of relief, as they now need not to worry about health damage due to unsafe food. Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has recently implemented a new system in order to ensure that the food served to people is free from any infection. It also includes a provision of imprisonment up to 6 months or fine of Rs 5 lakh to the hotel proprietors who fail to abide by its rules.

As per the new circular issued by Food Safety and Standards Authority of India, the hotel proprietors must prepare the food only by using RO water or filtered water. At the same time, the staff must also be given proper vaccinations at regular intervals to save them from catching any infectious diseases. At the same time, it will be mandatory for the staff to get their health check-up done by a competent doctor twice per year. If any worker is suffering from any serious or infectious disease, then he will have to change his work field.These rules have been implemented for both hotels and restaurants. So far, as district Korba is concerned, maximum hotels currently prepare food without filtered water. The proprietors neither take care of proper checking of the water, nor of the health check-up of their employees.

As a result, the people who consume food are constantly in danger of catching illness. Now Food Safety and Standards Authority of Indiahas implemented this new system in order to make the food safe for consumption. Instructions have been issued for the Food Safety officers of the related areas for conducting regular inspection of the hotels. Till date, these inspections took place only at the time of issuing new license or renewing an old one, but now the visits by food safety officers will become more frequent at the hotels. The new circular also makes a mention about the updating of all the documents and the officers will check these documents at every inspectional visit.CMHO Dr P S Sisodia said that information has been received about the new circular and all the instructions will be strictly abided by.

DELHI

Health dept asked to inspect milk products

Move follows claims of adulteration
Health Minister Satyendar Jain on Monday ordered his department to inspect milk products on a daily basis and submit reports after several MLAs raised the issue of adulteration in the Delhi Assembly.
‘Synthetic milk’
AAP MLA Rajesh Rishi from Jankapuri claimed that synthetic milk is being supplied in the city, which is allegedly “damaging kidneys and liver” of people.
Other AAP MLAs also raised the issue, seeking strict action against those involved in food adulteration.
“I am issuing an order today to my department to conduct inspections of milk products on daily basis and submit reports to my office,” Mr. Jain told the House.
Panel formed
Speaker Ram Niwas Goel also formed a seven-member committee to suggest amendments in the existing laws to ensure stern action against the culprits.
MLAs Mandan Lal, Manjinder Singh Sirsa, Nitin Tyagi, Alka Lamba, Anil Vaipayee, Adarsh Shastri and S.K. Bagga have been appointed as panel members.
Mr. Goel said that the government will incorporate suggestions made by the committee, which will work in coordination with the House panel on health.
The health minister said that the government will table a draft bill in the House and send the same to the Centre for its nod.
GOA

FDA finds unhygenic canteens at GMC, Kala Academy

Panaji: The Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) on Monday ordered the canteens at Goa Medical College and Hospital (GMC) to halt operations immediately after it was found to be hygienic. The Kala Academy canteen was also directed to suspend activities following an inspection.
After seeing no improvement in the conditions of the outpatient department (OPD), college and ground floor canteens at GMC, despite being served notices in the past, the food safety authority on Monday issued spot inspection reports. The FDA also issued a similar notice to the Kala Academy canteen.
At Kala Academy, the kitchen flooring was dirty, greasy and in a soiled condition. The exhaust fan was non-functional, while the gas stove and working platform were greasy. Loose wiring and broken switches in the kitchen were soiled, and utensils were broken. Water leakage was also observed during the inspection.
During the inspections at GMC, sources said the FDA discovered ants, lizards and cockroaches in the kitchen, while the refrigerator smelled foul with food items not covered. Non-permissible food colours were being used. Windows in the kitchen premises were not fitted with fly-proof netting. Food meant for preparing samosas were stored in garbage bags that were swarming with ants. Cut vegetables were stored in the open, while water filters were not in working condition. The exhaust fan was covered with dust, while flaking of paint was observed in the kitchen.
Raw materials, including cornflower and biryani masala were stored in the open, as well as iron knives and wooden boards used for chopping.
Similar unhygienic conditions and practices were observed in the past during FDA inspections and notices were served. The food and business operators were directed to improve conditions. While temporary improvement was noticed, the FDA noted that operators later reverted to their unhygienic practices and conditions.
GUJARAT
 
Vadodara: Food safety officers of the Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) continued their crackdown on vendors selling mango or sugarcane juice and other food items consumed widely during summer.
Teams of the civic body checked seven vendors in the Parshuram Bhattha, Akota, Harinagar and Gotri areas of the city. These included three selling mango juice and four selling sugarcane juice.
The teams destroyed 62kg material including 40kg mango juice, two kilogram fruits and 20kg ice. Officials said that these were not found fit for consumption or were in an unhygienic condition. The teams also collected one food sample from these establishments. The sample will be analysed at VMC’s public health laboratory.
Officials added that two vendors did not have food licences and were issued notices in this regard.
J & K

Implement food safety standards: DB

JAMMU: A Division Bench (DB) of State High Court comprising Chief Justice (A) Ramalingam Sudhakar and Justice Sanjeev Kumar on Tuesday directed State to take all possible steps to ensure that the provisions of the Food, Safety and Standards Act, 2006 and the Regulations framed there under are implemented in letter and spirit.
The significant order came in a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by Voice for Rights, an NGO working for human rights, seeking a direction to the respondents to ban the use of toxic chemicals like Calcium Carbide for ripening of fruits in Jammu and Kashmir and to implement the provisions of Food, Safety and Standards Act, 2006.
The DB observed that this Court vide its order dated June 9, 2017, took cognisance of the grievance projected by the petitioner and put State and other official respondents to notice and directed them to submit a report with regard to the action, if any, taken by them to prevent the use of toxic chemicals by the fruit vendors.
It was observed that compliance to the aforesaid order, the Divisional Commissioner, Jammu has submitted an action taken report indicating therein that the Controller, Drugs and Food Control Organisation, J&K had been taking requisite action under law.
The DB also observed that this Court vide order dated September 20, 2017, while taking note of the aforesaid action taken report submitted by the Divisional Commissioner, Jammu passed some directions to ensure that the provisions of the Act and regulations framed thereunder are strictly implemented. The Controller, Drugs and Food Control Organisation has also filed compliance report in terms of aforesaid order indicating the steps taken by the organisation to address the issues raised in the petition.
The DB after going through aforesaid action taken reports filed from time to time and the compliance reports in terms of aforesaid orders by Divisional Commissioner, Jammu and Controller, Drugs and Food Control Organisation expressed satisfaction that the respondents have taken and are taking adequate measures to redress the grievance projected by the petitioner in the PIL. “Nothing more is required to be done in the matter except directing the respondents to continue their drive and curb the menace of artificial ripening of fruits by the use of Calcium Carbide and other toxic substances. This action will also include milk adulteration”, the court observed.
With these observations, the DB closed this petition, however, giving liberty to the petitioner to approach this Court again, in case the respondents fail to perform their duties to implement food safety standards.
KARNATAKA

Food Safety Commissionerate marred by under-qualified officers

BENGALURU: The Food Safety Commissionerate has requested for an inquiry committee to be set up to check the qualifications of 55 Food Safety Officers. The Food Safety Officer, one per every taluk, has a modest target of sending only five food samples a month to the four food testing labs in the state. Since there are 197 FSOs working, the labs should receive at least 985 food samples, but they aren’t receiving them

“Unless they send samples, there’s no proof that they do field work. Also, the recruitment of 210 regular food safety officers is pending with the secretariat since July last year,” said Dr Harshvardan B, Deputy Commissioner (squad) of Food Safety. The Food Safety Commissionerate, that comes under the state Health Department, is flooded with officers who aren’t qualified to hold these posts. Former health commissioner Subodh Yadav had come to this conclusion after an inquiry before he had left the post. But till today, new recruitments have not been made.

According to the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India Act, Food Safety Officer shall be a full-time officer and shall possess a degree in Food Technology/ Dairy Technology/Biotechnology/Oil Technology/Agricultural Science/Veterinary Sciences/Bio-Chemistry/Microbiology/Masters Degree in Chemistry/degree in medicine or must have successfully completed training as specified by the Food Authority.

In cases where a medical officer of health administration of local area has been performing the function of food inspector, the State government employs them as food inspectors. “There are 210 sanctioned posts, but only 197 are working, out of which 110 are medical doctors. We have no idea about the qualifications that the other 87 hold. They may be office superintendents, block health education officers, entomologists or Class XII passouts. We have requested for setting up an inquiry committee that is pending with the Health Commissioner,” Harshvardan said.

KERALA

Food safety in the Kerala takes a back seat

The food safety department officials have been on their toes for the last few months because of a spurt in cases related to violation of the food safety rules. With social media also working overtime, officials say that it has become difficult for them to keep up with the pace as they are acutely short of staff.
If it were the Lassi shops in Kochi last month, this week, it was repackaging of food items past their expiry date. Senior officials with the department, who didn’t want to be named, said that they don’t even have half the staff or infrastructure that the excise department enjoys and yet they have a large work portfolio. “Everybody wants to ensure safety of food. It is high time that the government gives us the adequate staff and infrastructure to handle the challenges.”
According to the food safety rules, an assembly constituency should have a food safety officer. However, there is a shortage in many districts. Officials said that in districts which have corporations and municipalities, there is a need for at least two assistant commissioners – one to handle the licences and another for monitoring and surveillance. “We need at least two vehicles – one for the squad and one for department officials. Now there is a Quick Response Team which often hires vehicles when it goes for conducting checks,” a senior official said. There are only three squads in the state – one in each region as of now.
The department gets side-lined as it comes under the health department and is not considered an independent vertical.
“We also have a shortage of testing labs. As of now, there are only three laboratories in the state. Every district should have one lab, so that the samples are checked fast. Speedy disposal of cases is yet another issue as RDO, burdened with revenue complaints, is the appellate authority,” said a senior official. 
The Panangad police team headed by sub-inspector Rejin M Thomas has intensified the search for Siva Subrahmanyam, suspected to be the master brain behind this repackaging of food items past their shelf life at a warehouse in Nettoor.
“The well-equipped unit has all modern equipment to repack food items manufactured by major brands. We also suspect they were engaged in manufacturing duplicates of brands with high market demand,” he said.
The police have registered a case against Karwar Alliance Pvt Ltd over the incident. The samples have been sent for detailed lab tests. “We have registered a case against the firm for forgery and cheating,” said Rejin M Thomas, Panangad sub-inspector.
Food inspector Zakkeer Husain said the firm was repacking products with fancy names like choco-vita, malto-vita etc and selling it under the offer ‘buy one, get one free’. “There were also free gifts bundled with the products which are aimed at enticing the customer,” he said.
 

Kerala Food Safety Commissonerate warns stern action on sale of bottled water violationg law

 
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Packaged drinking water should not be sold in the state without the relevant food safety licence or BIS certification, the Food Safety Commissonerate said on Thursday. Violations will be dealt with sternly under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006, the commissionerate said. The commissionerate has issued the warning following complaints of several brands selling packaged drinking water engaging in the in violation of the law and the provisions of the BIS. 
Rule 2.1.2 of the Food Safety and Standards Act makes a food safety licence mandatory for the production of packaged drinking water. The quality of the product is governed by rule 2.10.8 of the Food Safety and Standards (Food Products Standards and Food Additives) Regulation. The Kerala High Court also had ordered stern action against companies engaged in the sale of water in violation of these rules and regulations. 
The Food Safety Commissionerate has urged the public to pass on information regarding such violations to the assistant commissioners (Food Safety) in the districts, the food safety mobile vigilance squad or on toll-free number 1800 425 1125.Mobile vigilance squad numbers: Thiruvananthapuram – 8943346195; Ernakulam – 8943346196; Kozhikode – 8943346197
 

Unsafe Food Products of FMCG Brands Repacked and Sold in Kerala

Recently, parents of a play school going girl in Trivandrum, found to their horror that the Hide and Seek biscuits they purchased from a local super market had live worms in it. This was first detected by the play school staff when they opened the biscuit cover during snacks break. Hide and Seek is a brand owned by leading biscuit and confectionery company, Parle Products Ltd with an annual turnover of Rs 10,000 cr.
On Saturday in Ernakulam, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) and local corporation officials were shocked to find fungus infested biscuits, chocolates and energy drinks of leading food brands beyond use by date repacked in a godown of a distribution agency near Maradu. Apart from old food products, soap and soap powders were also repacked in this manner.
New dates were stamped and distributed to supermarkets and hypermarkets for sale possibly on special discounts. The Food Safety Officers sealed the premises and is likely to cancel the license for functioning of the agency. The agency is a state-wide distributor of leading consumer brands in Kerala and the old food products were brought from Tamilnadu, according to investigating officials.
Among the major brands whose products were repacked by the distribution agency include of Nestle India, Elite Food Products, some brands of palmolein oil and Japanese brand Hello Panda biscuits. At the time of the raid, six packing staff and three office staff were only present in the premises while the promoter of the enterprise, Shiva, a native of Tamilnadu was not present.
Consumer organisations pointed out that sale of out of expiry products poses a great health risk to people and stringent action must be taken by the companies and food safety officials to ensure the culprits are brought to book. The officials said that it was not yet clear whether the repacking was done with the knowledge and approval of the leading brands.

MAHARASHTRA

Month into special drive, FDA’s case backlog 10% lighter

 
Mango Samples

 FDA officials check mango samples

With an aim to dispose of pending court cases related to food safety, which are more than 20 years old, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) department had requested the Bombay High Court to order the lower courts to hear them. Of the 3,000 pending cases, 10 per cent have been disposed of while the other cases are still going on.

The FDA’s special drive initiative was to clear off the cases under the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act 1954 which have been pending for over a decade. The cases are heard in the local courts of various districts in the state.

As per the law, Prevention of Food Adulteration Act 1954 was replaced by the Food Safety and Standard Act 2006 which was implemented in 2011.

CD Salunke, FDA Joint Commissioner (food) explained, “Over 300 cases were disposed of in February. We are yet to get the files on the cases which were disposed of in March. So far, at least 10 to 20 per cent of the cases have been disposed of since the special drive began in February. This fast-track initiative has helped to decrease the number of pending cases. A majority of the cases disposed of are from Nashik district.”

The cases under Prevention of Food Adulteration Act 1954 are mostly related to section 16 of the Act which deals with misbranding and substandard issues to name a few.

PUNJAB

20 samples of food found substandard

Food Safety on Wheels, a van to provide quality testing facility to residents at their doorsteps, has tested 55 food samples in different parts of the city in the last one week. As many as 20 samples were found of substandard quality.District Health Officer Dr Lakhbir Singh Bhagowalia said samples of milk, ghee, cheese and sweets were tested. People can get any sample test by paying a fee of Rs 50 per sample. He said samples of water supplied to residents were also checked and total dissolved solids (TDS) content in some of the samples was found higher than 500, which is not fit for human consumption.The health officer stated quality certificates were issued to shopkeepers whose food products were found as per quality parameters. Dr Bhagowalia said that a detailed report of all the samples would be sent to the higher officials and action would be taken against the shopkeepers selling poor quality foods.The van was flagged off by Health Minister Brahm Mohinda during a ceremony in the city last week.

Health dept raids dairy, collects 9 milk samples, destroys 20 kg cream

 
Ludhiana: The district health department conducted a raid at a dairy on Rahon Road and collected nine milk samples from there on Thursday. The team of health officials also destroyed 20 kgs of unhealthy cream found in the dairy. The department has launched a special drive to check adulteration of food items in the district.
They found 120 kgs of skimmed milk, 16 kgs of palm oil and 2 tins of refined oil from the dairy. Officials filled the samples of skimmed milk, palm oil, cheese, ghee, milk and colouring agent from the dairy for testing. Samples of namkeen and ice cream were also collected from a bakery on Rahon Road.
Meanwhile, a team of health officials collected 23 samples from dairies, grocery shops, restaurants and wholesale traders in Jagraon and Mullanpur. Officials collected milk, cheese, curd, butter, ghee, ice-cream, green chutney, tea, tomato sauce paneer tikka and red chili sauce from a restaurant on GT Road, Jagraon. All the samples collected from various shops and dairies were sent to the state laboratory and the department is expected to receive the report in the next few days.
Food safety officer Yogesh Kumar said they have served a notice to the dairy owner on Rahon Road for not maintaining hygiene at the shop and he has been asked to submit a report for cleanliness certificate within a week.
TAMILNADU

Collector warns sellers against adulteration of drinks this summer

 
Trichy: Collector K Rajamani on Wednesday warned manufactures and shop owners selling fruits, fruit juices and bottled/ packaged drinks of any kind of adulteration in their products this summer.
He asked them to obtain the necessary certificates as per Food, Safety and Standards Act, 2006 from the food safety and drug administration department in Trichy. He also said that before purchasing taste and colour enhancers, they should check its Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) number, expiry date and the manufacturer’s address.
The collector urged them to keep their shops/ stalls in a hygienic manner. He mentioned that the shops/ stalls serving puree and buttermilk should make sure the cup in which they serve is not rusted. He also emphasised juice shops to keep the ice trays clean and not expose fruits to sunlight and store them only in refrigerators.
Rajamani also instructed them to keep the sugar away from water and serve drinks and juice items in stainless steel or glass tumbler.
The collector also came up with a list of advisories for the general public too. He asked people to bring their own vessel to get juice items packed. He also instructed them to not drink sarbath if it is found to be blue in colour. The public were also advised against buying juice served in recycled poor quality plastic cups.
In case of any queries, people could call the district food safety department (0431-2333330) or send their complaint over WhatsApp to the number 94440 42322.
UTTAR PRADESH

Step by Step effect: DM asks all school canteens to be inspected

NOIDA: The district magistrate of Gautam Budh Nagar has ordered the inspection of all school canteens in the wake of around 200 students falling ill after having food and water served at Step by Step school.
BN Singh, the DM, said he had instructed the chief medical officer and the basic education officer to ensure canteens and eateries in schools followed guidelines laid down in the Food Safety Standards Act, 2006. Officials have been instructed to check for batch numbers, manufacturing date and nutrition value on packets of spices and edible oil used to cook food for students. “Spices and edible oil should be of good quality and they must be packed tightly. Those cooking the food must wear gloves and ensure the surroundings are clean. The canteen and the school should both preserve food samples for at least 24 hours so they can be examined in case such an incident happens,” Singh said.
Officials from the food and health departments have visited Step by Step twice after the students there took ill. While the first visit last week yielded little other than ajwain and edible oil, the second inspection to collect water samples from the school’s taps on Wednesday was done after the tanks had been cleaned.
Vedpal Singh Pundir, the SHO of Expressway police station, said Step by Step had written to police naming 12 persons who managed the canteen on the campus. Sodexo, the agency that manned the kitchen, said it was yet to get any intimation from the police.
The DM said the teams would often make surprise visits to schools. If items are found to be substandard, a Rs 1 lakh fine would be levied each on the school and the agency manning the kitchen. “There is also a provision for three months’ imprisonment. The schools have been specifically told to ensure food safety standards and cooperate with the administration and police if need be,” Singh said.
CMO Anurag Bhargava said the health department would soon form teams to go on inspections. “We will soon issue an advisory for all schools about food and water served to students. The school management and the canteen operator would be asked to taste the food first before serving it,” he said.
 
UTTARKHAND

VHP threatens stir over meat shops in Haridwar

 
HARIDWAR: Following a local Vishwa Hindu Parisha (VHP) leader’s self-immolation attempt outside a police station earlier this week in protest against meat shops operating in Jwalapur locality of Haridwar, the saffron organization and Bajrang Dal on Wednesday threatened to launch an agitation in the holy city if shops are not closed immediately.
Haridwar district VHP president, Nitin Gautam, said, “We do not want anything less than closure of all meat shops running without a license. If this is not done, the administration should be prepared to face a backlash.” The administration’s assurance that action will be taken against the shops did not satisfy the Bajarang Dal leaders. They complained that the matter had been brought to the administration’s notice several times, but to no avail.
He added, “Bajrang Dal leaders met the district magistrate, senior superintendent of police and municipal commissioner for action in the matter on Tuesday, but they only assured action and did nothing.”
Referring to a resolution adopted by the then nagar palika parishad (NPP) Haridwar on March 27, 2003 to close the shops, he said that the civic body failed to implement it.
“Subsequent resolutions passed by it also met the same fate,” he said, adding that the nagar nigam had a few years ago decided to shift the shops to Sarai village on the city’s outskirts, but the plan is yet to be executed.
According to sources, while sale of liquor, egg, meat and fish had been prohibited in the holy city since long, a law for it was enacted in 1916 by the NPP which was established in 1868. According to the NPP bylaws, there can be no liquor shop within 7 km of municipal limits. It allowed only four meat shops to be opened at Jwalapur. The VHP has been since decades demanding ban on the shops which number about 150 today, Gautam said.
Haridwar tehsildar, Sunaina Rana, raided the meat market on Wednesday and pasted notices outside the shops warning “a penalty of Rs 1 lakh if the shops are not registered with the food safety department.” Rana told TOI, “Dozens of shops were found operating illegally. They have been given a week’s time to get themselves registered. Otherwise, they will have to face action as per rules.”
Meanwhile, Charanjit Pahwa, the VHP leader who had reportedly suffered around 40% burns is undergoing treatment at the ICU of a Dehradun hospital.
Police have registered a case of attempted suicide against Pahwa and they were trying to identify those who allegedly instigated him for self-immolation.
 
 
 

ASCI upholds misleading advertisements – Jan 2018

About The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI)

The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI), established in 1985, is committed to the cause of self- regulation in advertising ensuring the protection of the interest of consumers. ASCI seeks to ensure that advertisements conform to its Code for Self-Regulation, which requires advertisements to be legal, decent, honest and truthful and not hazardous or harmful while observing fairness in competition. ASCI looks into complaints across ALL MEDIA such as Print, TV, Radio, hoardings, SMS, Emailers, Internet / web-site, product packaging, brochures, promotional material and point of sale material etc. ASCI’s role has been acclaimed by various Government bodies including The Department of Consumer Affairs (DoCA), Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), Ministry of AYUSH as well as the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. The association with these Government bodies is to co-regulate and curb misleading and objectionable advertisements in the respective sectors. In January 2017, the Supreme Court of India in its judgement has also affirmed and recognized the self-regulatory mechanism as an effective pre-emptive step to statutory provisions in the sphere of advertising content regulation for TV and Radio in India. ASCI is a part of the Executive Committee of International Council on Ad Self-Regulation (ICAS). Among several awards bestowed by the European Advertising Standards Alliance (EASA), ASCI bagged two Gold Global Best Practice Awards for the Mobile App “ASCIonline” (2016) and for reducing the time taken to process complaints (2013).
(Source: http://www.ascionline.org)

FOOD AND BEVERAGES:-

1. Kamal Kant and Company Llp (Rajshree Pan Masala):

The advertisement’s claim, “India ka favourite pan masala” implies that this product is preferred over other Pan Masala products or it is the most preferred brand in the Pan Masala category for which the advertiser gave only assertions and did not provide any valid substantiation. This claim was not substantiated with verifiable comparative data / market survey data of the advertiser’s product and other competitor products among representative country wide population or through a third party validation, and is misleading by exaggeration.

2. Puro Wellness Pvt Ltd (Puro Healthy Salt):

The advertisement’s claim, “Yeh safed kapde bleach kiye hue haii ….Aur yeh apka khane ka safed namak yeh bhi bleach kiya hua hai… chemical factory mein.. tabhi toh safed hai” is likely to mislead consumers by causing fear in their minds by showing comparison of chemical bleach used for clothes implying that other salts are unfit for human consumption, are of inferior quality, and are tampered with, by using chemicals. The reference to “bleach” in the TVC is misleading by ambiguity and implication that refined salt may be harmful due to bleaching it undergoes.

3. Puro Wellness Pvt Ltd (Puro Healthy Salt):

The advertisement’s claim, “Yeh paint chemical factory mein banta hai, aur yeh aapka safed namak, yeh bhi chemical factory mein banta hai, bleach kiya jaata hai” is unfairly denigrating other salt brands and is likely to mislead consumers by causing fear in their minds implying that other salts are unfit for human consumption, are of inferior quality, and are tampered with, by using chemicals. The subject matter of comparison confers an artificial advantage upon the advertiser or so as to suggest that better bargain is offered than is truly the case. The comparison shown in the advertisement is not factual and the consumer is likely to be misled as a result of comparison whether about the product advertised or that with which it is compared.

4. Puro Wellness Pvt Ltd (Puro Healthy Salt):

The advertisement’s claim, “Chemical factory mein banta hai, bleach hota hai,” is misleading by ambiguity and implication that the refined salt may be harmful due to processing it undergoes. Also the disclaimers in the advertisement were not legible and not in the same language as the voice over of the TVC (Hindi).

Press Release

5. Rasna International Pvt Ltd (Rasna Native Haat Honey):

The advertisement’s claim, “From the forests of Sunderbans to your Home”, was inadequately substantiated and is misleading by exaggeration.

6. GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare Ltd (Horlicks):

The advertisement’s claim, “In a study, 9 out of 10 children’s diet was at risk of being deficient in essential nutrients”, was not substantiated and is misleading by implication and exaggeration.

7. GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare Ltd (Horlicks Growth Plus):

The advertisement’s claim, “Naturally enhances growth,” implies natural growth without any artificial inputs. The use of the word “naturally” for an artificially composed drink supplemented in overall food intake is likely to mislead the consumers by ambiguity.

8. Cipla Health Ltd (Choco-bite):

The advertisement’s claim, “Upto 100% immunity nutrients” is misleading by ambiguity, implication and omission to mention that it could be helpful only as a supplement to normal diet.

9. INVENTZ Lifesciences Pvt Ltd (Headz Up tablets):

The advertisement’s claim, “avoid further hair fall and greying,” was not substantiated and was misleading by gross exaggeration.

Suo motu surveillance by ASCI

FOOD & BEVERAGE:-

1. Ruchi Soya Industries (Sunrich Sunflower Oil):

The advertisement’s claims, “Absorbs 15% less oil”, and “Helps in reducing family intake of nine litres Oil” were inadequately substantiated. It was concluded that these claims are misleading by exaggeration.

Currency contamination