Food Safety Enforcement News – India updates – Nov – 19 -2017

GENERAL

Use of vegetable oil for repeated frying to be monitored by FSSAI soon

Use of vegetable oil for repeated frying, a common practice across the county in spite of the health hazards, will soon be monitored as FSSAI, in its recent gazette notification, has ruled the standards relating to total polar compound (TPC) in cooking oil. Called the Food Safety and Standards (Licensing and Registration of Food Businesses) First Amendment Regulations, 2017, they will come into force from July 1, 2018
The said standards have been finalised after taking into consideration the comments of stakeholders. FSSAI (Food Safety and Standards Authority of India) has noted that the repeated use of the same oil for frying leads to changes in the physiochemical, nutritional and sensory properties of edible oil. Keeping this in view, the quality of the oil must be monitored to avoid the use of degraded oil for cooking purposes. 
At present, the regulations consist of only general provisions to avoid the reheating and reusing of cooking oil, which should be avoided. According to the notification, under the Food Safety and Standards (Licensing and Registration of Food Businesses) Regulations, 2011, in  Schedule 4, in Part-V, under the clause relating to fried foods, a regulation stating that vegetable oil having developed TPC in excess of 25 per cent shall not be used will be added. 
Expressing his view on FSSAI’s move, Umesh Verma, spokesperson, Puri Oil Mills Limited, promoter of P Mark mustard oil, said, “With this move, the apex regulator will be able to monitor the oil quality as it wants to ensure that a quality experience is provided to the consumers at large and maintain international-level quality standards.” 
Commenting on the benefits of using various edible oils, he added, “Each edible oil has some particular fatty acids which are beneficial to human beings. Trying different edible oils will introduce us to a variety of beneficial fatty acids. As a result, doctors recommend rotating edible oils at regular intervals at home.” 
“For instance, Omega 3 fatty acid is only found in mustard, rapeseed, flaxseed oil and soybean oil. So if a person consumes only olive oil, he/she is devoid of the benefits of Omega 3 with his/her edible oil intake,” Verma said. 
The problem with reusing edible oil is that it can create free radicals which cause health problems in the long run. 
According to an expert, “Free radicals attach themselves to healthy cells and lead to diseases. These free radicals can be carcinogenic (I. e., they can cause cancer) and lead to increase in bad cholesterol levels, blocking the arteries. That is why doctors advise to avoid eating roadside snacks.” 
“One of the biggest functions of cooking oil is to fry food. As cooking oil degrades, it affects the texture, taste and overall flavour experience of the food,” Verma said. 
“Because of this, the draft released by FSSAI will be quite helpful in implementing and monitoring the edible oil quality. so that the consumers get the best-quality fried foods,” he added. 
Verma stated, “Measuring total polar materials (TPM) is the most predominant indicator and scientific measurement for oil quality. They are widely used in many international markets, where the oil quality is strictly regulated.”

FSSAI to propose rating restaurants and eateries to ensure quality of food

 
The food safety regulator has now turned its attention to restaurants, eating joints and hotels to enforce safety standards.
Food and Safety Standards Authority of India, the country’s top food regulator, has put forth a proposal that businesses which deal with food should be rated on factors such as hygiene and safety to make sure they are trusted by consumers.
Pawan Agarwal, the regulator’s chief executive, in a statement to the Hindustan Times, said that the apex body is now particularly keen on rating food businesses through several “hygiene variety factors”. The regulator is looking to assign star ratings to restaurants and eating places out of six, taking into account factors like hygiene awareness, safety processes, etc.
A sub-group was formed following a meet last week in New Delhi among the FSSAI, National Restaurant Association of India and the Federation of Hotel and Restaurant Associations of India (FHRAI) to amend rules that govern safety standards at eating establishments.
Display of food licenses will be made a necessary factor in rating food businesses with consumer trust seemingly being the biggest driving factor behind the move. The businesses that will be rated will include manufacturers of food items, sellers of food items and other business operators in the sector.
Last year, reports went viral about a couple in Mangalore who found worms in their meal at a KFC outlet. A similar instance was recorded a few months ago at a Domino’s Pizza outlet in New Delhi when a customer who had ordered a pizza found an oregano seasoning sachet infested with insects, which led to a subsequent drop in shares of Jubilant Food Works Ltd, the company operating the Domino’s brand in India.
The food regulator recently started the concept of ‘food safety supervisors’ in all food businesses to ensure quality items reach consumers. The supervisor should be trained under the Food Safety Training and Certification Programme (FoSTaC) designed by FSSAI and would be responsible for ensuring that the quality of food is maintained.
These happen to include shops, stalls, hotel, restaurants airline services and food canteens, places or vehicles where any article of food is sold or manufactured or stored for sale.The FSSAI license is already compulsory for ensuring food safety and quality of food products.
 

FSSAI tightens the noose around eateries without food licence

 
Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) CEO Pawan Kumar Agarwal said it will first ask states to run a special drive to create awareness among food business operators about the compulsory requirement of licences.
Food safety regulator FSSAI today warned that hotels and restaurants operating without its licence will be sealed and closed if they fail to take permits in the next 3 months.
The rule for licence also applies to those establishments, including religious places, where food is not charged. However, petty manufacturers, retailers and hawkers, among others, are exempt from this.
Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) CEO Pawan Kumar Agarwal said it will first ask states to run a special drive to create awareness among food business operators about the compulsory requirement of licences.
“I am told that 30-40 per cent of our restaurants and hotels do not have FSSAI licences. If this is the law of the land, is it acceptable?” he asked at a FICCIconference on food service retail ‘Foodzania 2017’ here.
Stating that there is some confusion in businesses on whether the FSSAI licence is mandatory, Agarwal made it clear that it is compulsory for all food businesses and non- compliance is not justified.
“Since there is still some confusion, we are asking state governments to take up a special drive. After the time period for that is over, we are advising them to seal and close all such units across the country if they fail to take FSSAI licences,” he said.
FSSAI Enforcement Director, Agarwal said, has been tasked with ensuring 100 per cent licensing of restaurants and hotels in the next three months. He made it clear that there will be “no comprise at all”.
Stating that FSSAI licence is needed for food business even if the food is not charged, he said that “even in temples, they are supposed to have FSSAI licences or registration, depending on the size of the business. Therefore, there is no option”.
He further said that after taking the licence, food businesses also need to comply with all the regulations such as submission of food safety management plan.
As per the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006, no person shall commence or carry out any food business except under a licence.
Under the law, food business means any undertaking, whether for profit or not and whether public or private, carrying out activities related to any stage of manufacturing, processing, packaging, storage, transportation, distribution of food, import and includes catering services, sale of food or ingredients.
According to the FSSAI CEO, the regulator will soon make it mandatory for all food businesses to have at least one person as food safety supervisor who has to be trained and certified as per its curriculum.
Agarwal stressed that food operators should display their licence at prominent points on their premises. The display board at any restaurant should also have contact details of customer care as well as food inspector of that location.
The FSSAI is working on developing rating for “hygiene and hygiene plus” and the same will be out soon.The food watchdog has been in operation for the last six years and by now, all hotels and restaurants should have secured the licence, Agarwal added.
JAMMU & KASHMIR

13 food outlets found selling substandard, unhygienic food in Srinagar

Rs 1.4 lakh fine imposed on operators
Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir government on Monday imposed a fine of Rs 1.4 lakh on 13 food outlets in summer capital for selling sub-standard food articles and processing of food items under unsanitary conditions.
Officials said the Additional Deputy Commissioner, Srinagar has imposed a fine of Rs 1,40,000 on 13 food business operators including restaurants owners, traditional bakers, milk vendors and butchers for violating various provisions of Food Safety and Standards Act.
“The offenses include selling/ manufacturing sub-standard food articles and processing of food items in unsanitary conditions,” they said.
“Each baker and milk vendor was imposed a fine of Rs 10000, butcher Rs 50,000 and restaurant owner has been slapped with a fine of Rs 50,000,” officials said.
The food safety wing of drugs and food control organization has warned food operators of strict action under food safety act in case they fail to maintain the high level of hygiene.
The team of Food Safety Officers, headed by Assistant Commissioner, Food Safety Srinagar, Hilal Ahmad Mir also inspected various markets in Chanapora, Nishat, Lal Chowk and Dalgate areas.
“During the inspection, many restaurants, bakery shops, and butchers were found processing food in total unsanitary conditions. Some of them have been using synthetic colours in many popular food items,” Mir told Kashmir Reader.
He said the substandard and unhygienic preparations were destroyed on spot and the owners were warned to desist from such kind of malpractices in future.
“If we found them indulging in any such activity we will take strict action against them under relevant provisions of food safety and standards act,” he said.
However, the officer was reluctant to share the details: “It doesn’t look good. Their offense is not so grave that we will publicize their names in the media.”
Food Safety Officers also expressed the similar reservation saying that they couldn’t name the business operators.
“We are not authorized to speak on the issue,” they said.
ODISHA

Profiteers fined Rs 32000 in Ganderbal

GANDERBAL: The Court of Additional Deputy Commissioner-cum- Adjudicating Officer Syed Shahnawaz Bukhari under the Food Safety Act on Wednesday imposed a fine of Rs 32,000 on a number of traders for violating the Food Safety and Standards Act-2006. 
The ADC warned all the stakeholders who are involved with food business to desist such practices in future and directed the concerned authorities to conduct market checking on a daily basis to monitor whether hygienic and quality food is made available to the general public.
PUNJAB

Ahead of CM’s visit, administration tightens noose around Meerut meat shops

Meerut: After a gap of almost three months, the Meerut district administration has again tightened its noose on the city’s meat trade. On Wednesday, Food Safety and Drugs Administration (FSDA) officials led by city magistrate MP Singh raided several meat shops in the Ghantaghar area of the city.
Backed by a heavy police force, FSDA officials sealed four shops for allegedly flouting norms related to hygiene and mandated equipment. Chief food safety officer, FSDA, Sarvesh Mishra told TOI, “The raid was conducted to ensure that all mandatory provisions for licences to run meat shops were being observed. During the raid, four shops selling chicken and other kinds of meat were sealed because they were found flouting these provisions. Owners of all four have been booked under relevant sections of Food Safety & Standards Act, 2006. We even destroyed 20 kg of chicken meat in the process.”
Following an initial crackdown soon after Yogi government in March 2017 took charge in UP, police had eventually adopted a soft approach to enforcing the norms for the meat trade around Eid.
Haji Raees (name changed), who sells buffalo meat said, “The sudden arrival of a huge police force with officials reminded us of the ugly period in April when not only were the shops forcibly shut by the police, but supply of meat had also been curbed after orders from the administration. All this is again happening ahead of the chief minister’s visit on November 18. This indicates that the difficult days are back for us, particularly with the civic body elections about to take place.”
CM Yogi is slated to visit Meerut on Saturday to attend a rally for civic polls.
City superintendent of police Maan Singh Chauhan, however, refuted the charges and said, “The CM’s visit has nothing to do with the raid. All the four shops sealed did not have licences to run their establishments. They were flouting all the norms like not cutting meat in the open. They did not have glass doors, and had flouted other requirements.”
The team also raided a restaurant in the area, Al Kareem. “We found 53 cooking gas cylinders stocked there, and have seized them,” Chauhan added.
City magistrate MP Singh said, “The drive will be conducted every week to ensure there is no flouting of the law.
UTTAR PRADESH

FSDA seized two quintals of chemical-laced peas

Agra: A day after a video of chemically coloured peas being sold in the Agra vegetable market went viral, food safety and drug administration (FSDA) officials on Thursday seized two quintals of adulterated peas from Bodla market here. The contaminated peas could cause diseases such as cancer if consumed in large portions, said officials.
The team, led by assistant commissioner of FSDA Vineet Kumar, conducted raids at several street vendor units and found traders mixing vegetables with harmful chemicals.
Kumar said, “During a surprise raid at Bodla market, we found some vendors mixing rotten peas in a chemical solution. Two quintals of the adulterated vegetables were seized. The chemicals were sent to a laboratory for examination. We will book the traders once reports about the adulteration are confirmed.”
“The district FSDA has failed to curb this menace. A notice will be served to the district chief food inspector and other concerned officials seeking explanation of their failure in stopping adulteration of food items,” added Kumar.
In several crackdowns in the past six months in Agra, FSDA officials have found instances such as milk mixed with detergent powder and tomato and chilli sauces having harmful chemicals in them.
During a raid at Belanganj, in October, the team also seized several tonnes of adulterated tea packets in which the manufacturer was found mixing cashew nut husk. The team, under Kumar’s leadership, had also caught local men who were found mixing husk of various kinds in regular spices to increase their content inside packets. In Itmad-ud-daula area, last month, officials had caught men mixing vegetable oil in ghee.
 
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Misleading advertisement -Product : Kelloggs Special K – ASCI upholds complaint against Kelloggs India Pvt Ltd.

Kelloggs India Pvt. Ltd. (Kelloggs Special K):

Image result for kelloggs special k

Representational

The advertisement’s claim, “It is high in protein and fibre” is false as it is not applicable for the serving size of the product and, in the context of a product positioned for weight management, it is misleading by ambiguity.

Also the claim, “Foods high in protein and fibre make you feel full and keep hunger pangs away” – Since this claim is linked to the claim of the product being high in protein and fibre, it is also misleading due to the reasons mentioned above.

Furthermore, the claim was also inadequately substantiated for the specific product being advertised. The claim, “To manage weight eat a breakfast like Kellogg’s Special K”, was considered to be misleading by ambiguity and implication. The visual of the celebrity when seen in conjunction with the claims is likely to mislead consumers regarding the product efficacy as the advertiser was not able to submit any evidence that the celebrity is in agreement with the claims being made in the advertisement in general, and where she claims this to be her experience in particular. This contravenes the Guidelines for Celebrities in Advertising.

Also, the disclaimers in the advertisement were not legible. The heights of the picture area was 386 lines for SD and 1090 for HD. The lowercase elements were measured to be of height of about 7-8 pixels or less for SD and 18-19 pixels for HD formats. The SD clip (provided by the complainant) does not comply whereas the HD clip (provided by the advertiser) does comply with the ASCI Guidelines for Disclaimers Clauses (VII) (i) (1) of ASCI Guidelines for Disclaimers (“For standard definition images, the height of the text lower case elements shall be not less than 12 pixels (12 pixels lines) in a 576 line raster.”) for SD version of the advertisement. 

Imports of GM edible oil sans proper labelling spark fresh controversy

With the debate over genetically-modified (GM) crops raging in recent times with regard to the commercialisation of GM mustard, questions were also raised about the quality and origin of GM mustard oil, an imported edible oil.

India, the largest importer of edible oil, has reportedly imported upto 15 million tonne of GM crops or GM crop-based edible oil.

The story of GM crops in India has always been on par with bio-safety norms, hasty approvals, labelling concerns, the lack of monitoring abilities and a general apathy towards the hazards of contamination.

Although such imports are illegal, the importers manage to import due to the lack of labelling norms for such products. Although the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006, has, under Section 22, mentioned that GM products cannot be sold without its approval, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) still has to draft labelling norms for these products. 

According to a senior official with the country’s apex food regulator, work on the labelling norms is underway, and soon it would put out a draft for the same.

“And the importers usually give reasoning that the traceability of the GM protein is not in the refined oil, therefore it is as good as non-GM crop-based edible oil,” he added.

However, to get the GM mustard crop commercialised has been a tough task. If it gets approved, it will become India’s first officially-approved GM food crop. Even though the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) has given its nod, the union government has put the decision on hold.

Despite the ban on GM crops, various cases have been reported between 2005 and now wherein illegally-produced GM crops are being sold to farmers in the country, and of illegal imports, which had been brought to light by FSSAI, which demanded either a ban or a clear indication on the labels of GM crops. Based on the regulator’s submissions, the court accepted that imports of GM foods continue to be banned.

Experts working on the GM crops have supported the production of the same by throwing light on the benefit they have in boosting food production to meet the demands of the growing population. Where India is yet to finalise its labelling norms, over 60 countries, including members of the European Union (EU), China and Australia, have strict regulations regarding the labelling of products that either contain or are made from GM crops.

There has been constant debates in India and around the world about whether GM crops are safe for human consumption. A few fear biodiversity getting threatened due to the mixing of genetic material of GM crops with that of non-GM crops. Thus, in the midst of this debate, the government has been importing processed soybean and Canola oil made from GM crops. In April 2017, GEAC took a note of the void in the import scenario and held meetings with FSSAI.

The import of GM foods needs approval under laws (i e clearances from the ministry of environment, forest and climate change under the Environment Protection Act, 1986, which assess the impact of GM products on biodiversity, and the health and family welfare ministry, which endorse that  GM products are safe for human consumption under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006).

It is pertinent to note here that for years, the imports of GM crops have been taking place without the clearance from the food safety authorities.

Mini device to detect adulterated milk

Doctors push for salt content in labels – Revised food labels on cards

CHENNAI: In two weeks, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is planning to put out a draft of the revised food labels, which will include sodium along with other nutritional facts such as carbohydrates, fats, and sugar, FSSAI scientist Anitha Makhijani said at a conference in the city on Friday.
She expected to see smiling faces and hear an applause from senior doctors, scientists and public health experts, who were lobbying for stringent rules that force food manufacturers to reduce salt in their products. But most of them expressed discontent. “It should be salt and not sodium,” argued UK-based Dr Graham Macgregor, professor of cardiovascular medicine at the Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine. Macgregor has campaigned for regulations for low salt food in countries like the UK, Canada, and Australia.
Until now, FSSAI has said packaged foods can volunteer to display nutritional facts. A few products that list salt usually report it as sodium per 100g. Sodium in food must be multiplied by 2.4 to get the salt in it. “Britain had sodium on food labels more than two decades ago. They changed it to salt because no one knew what they were eating,” he said.
Legislations in the UK have been able to bring down average daily salt intake by citizens from 11g to 9g in the past decade. “There is a 40% reduction and most people did not know that their food has lesser salt. But we have seen a 25% reduction in health spending due to high blood pressure and its complications,” he said.
At a conference organised by the Sapiens Foundation and scientists from Indian Institute of Technology Madras, experts brainstormed strategies for action against salt with officials of FSSAI, experts from WHO and other international experts. Studies show Indians consume up to 10.98g of salt every day against the WHO recommendation of 5g. High intake of salt can increase blood pressure and cause stroke and diseases of the heart and kidney.
Makhijani said the FSSAI will consider making modifications to the rules. “As of now, declaration of nutritional facts are not mandatory. Rules will have to be amended for that,” he said. Chief nephrologist at Sapiens Foundation Dr Rajan Ravichandran said the aim is to reduce salt intake by at least 2g in the next five years. “We want all food products to list the amount of table salt, besides preservatives like sodium bicarbonate. If the product uses above the prescribed level, it should be labelled red and those below should be labelled green,” he said.
WHO deputy director Soumya Swaminathan said research on salt will help organisations like the Indian Council of Medical Research push for policies that will help the country bring down the incidence of non-communicable diseases. “It’s the need of the hour,” she said.
 

Food Safety Enforcement News – India updates – Nov 12 -2017

SC for Following Laws Against Adulteration In J&K With ‘Earnestness’

“We are of the considered opinion that the High Court be requested to pass an appropriate order, if required, so that the law relating to Adulteration and the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 is followed with all earnestness.”
New Delhi—The Supreme Court of India has asked Jammu and Kashmir High Court to pass appropriate orders so that the law relating to adulteration and the Food Safety and Standards Act 2006 was followed with all “earnestness.”
Hearing a special leave petition filed by Jammu and Kashmir Traders and Manufacturers Federation,
A division bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A.M. Khanwilkar and Dr. D.Y. Chandrachud said: “we are of the considered opinion that the High Court be requested to pass an appropriate order, if required, so that the law relating to Adulteration and the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 is followed with all earnestness.”
The court said that if there was any deviation by anyone, “the High Court can take appropriate notice of the same and pass requisite orders.”
Last year, the high court has time and again stressed that it will not make any ‘compromise’ with the health of the people and will make the system work even if the government forgets its duties.
“There won’t be any compromise with the health of the people. The court is aware of its constitutional obligation and will make the system work even if the government forgets its duties,” the court had said. 
“Today it is us, tomorrow it would be our children. Our children would be born deformed because of adulterated food…They (offenders) have become so powerful that the state is unable to proceed against them, money power is now in action,” the court had said while hearing a suo moto Public Interest Litigation.

AMC collects Rs 1cr in food penalties

70 cases in the past three months under the prevention of food adulteration case
AMC’s health department in a press release stated that it has settled 70 cases in the past three months under the prevention of food adulteration case.
“As per Food Safety and Standards Act 2006, our flying squad has been collecting random suspicious food samples and sending them for laboratory tests,” said Dr Bhavin Solanki, in-charge medical officer of health, AMC.
“The concerned judicial authority has convicted 70 persons for food adulteration. A total of Rs 1.08 crore has been collected as a fine from them,” added Dr Solanki.

Jiribam district police seize tobacco products

JIRIBAM | Nov 10
A combined team of police commando and Special Task Force (STF) of Jiribam district police conducted frisking and checking in and around of Jiribam as a preventive and security measures ahead of Sangai Festival.
The frisking was conducting under the supervision of Jiribam SP, Mubi Moirangthem and commanded by additional SP, K. Ajit Kumar Sharma, in which tobacco products were seized from the two different locations.
According to police source, 19 packets of Baba Zarda, 22 packets of S-10 tobacco, 272 packets of V1 tobacco and 220 pieces of Reli tobacco (khaini) were seized on November 9 around 7 pm, from a shop at Kalinagar Pt-II, Jiribam, owned by Haran Das (30), son of Kanai Das of Digli, Jirighat, Cachar.
Moreover, the team also seized 700 packets of Win cigarette from Lakhipur, Jiribam around 11 pm from a person named Md. Abdul Rahim of Lakhipur Manipuri village, Cachar, Assam.
The seized tobacco products will be handed over to the Food Safety Authority after the completion of necessary formalities by the Jiribam police.

Food Safety Enforcement News – India updates – Nov 11 -2017

GENERAL

FSSAI launches logo for organic food products

NEW DELHI, NOVEMBER 8: 
The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India has launched an “Indian Organic Integrity Data Base”, to help consumers verify the authenticity of organic food.‘Jaivik Bharat’
It has also introduced a common logo for “organic foods” with the tagline ‘Jaivik Bharat’.
The portal has been jointly developed by the FSSAI in collaboration with the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) and Participatory Guarantee System for India (PGS-India) of the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare.
FSSAI said that through this portal, consumers can access information about the producer, the certification system and the availability of certified organic products
“The unified logo is an identity mark to distinguish organic products from non-organic ones, supported with the tagline “Jaivik Bharat” at the bottom, for easy identification of Organic Food from India. Effectively intertwining elements of the environment, the logo communicates adherence to the National Organic Standards,” an official statement added.
The regulator had introduced the umbrella regulation for Organic foods earlier this year.

AP / TELENGANA

Govt have sanctioned 30 food safety officers: Minister

Hyderabad, Nov 6 (UNI)
Telangana Medical and Health Minister Dr K Laxma Reddy on Monday said the government has sanctioned 30 posts of food safety officers and 10 posts of designated officers in the state for implementation of Food Safety and Standards (FSS) Act.
Mr Reddy said in the Assembly that apart from sanctioning of food safety officers and designated officers, the state government also constituted 14 special teams consisting of task force with police and food department for checking food adulteration in the state.
He said one food testing laboratory in the state located at Nacharma here. The lab has been serving for both states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. The capacity to analyse food sample is about 12,600 samples per annum.
Elaborating food samples analysed during 2014-2017, Mr Reddy said 222 sample were analysed during 2014-15. Of them, 13 samples found not conforming standards (5.85 per cent). In 2015-16, 1809 samples analysed. Of them 435 found not conforming standards (24 per cent). 1433 samples analysed during the year 2016-17. Of them 304 found not conforming standards (11.69 per cent). In 2017-18 up to September, 3788 samples analysed. Of them 250 found not conforming standards (6.59 per cent), the Minister added.
With the high intensity of food adulteration, the Speaker allowed short discussion on it.

Adulteration provides food for thought in House

Hyderabad: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Monday demanded that the government form a House committee to suggest and recommend solutions to the problem of food adulteration in the State. The issue of adulteration came up for discussion during the Question Hour on Monday when Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) member V Srinivas Rao sought to know about the steps being taken by the government to curb food adulteration.
The Health Minister said the government had sanctioned 30 posts of Food Safety Officers and 10 posts of designated officers in the State for implementation of FSS Act. In addition, task force, along with the Police and Food Department officials, was checking food adulteration in the State by constituting 14 special teams. The Minister said there was one Food Testing Laboratory in the State located at Nacharam in Hyderabad. The State food laboratory had been serving for both Andhra Pradesh and Telangana and its capacity to analyse food sample was about 12,600 samples per annum, he added. Cases had been filed before the first class magistrate court adjudicating officer in a set of samples found not maintaining the quality parameters.
As the Minister replied, MIM leader Akbaruddin Owaisi said this was an important issue and it needed to be discussed at length. He wanted the Speaker to instruct the Minister to call for a meeting.
He said there should be 60 to 80 persons to check food outlets in each circle within the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC), but there were only three officials. “How can they go and inspect all the food outlets?” he asked. He said every other commodity was being adulterated right from the milk which small children consumed and the ginger-garlic paste to oil and ghee. He said that adulteration business had become a Rs10,000 crore worth industry, and there was a need to put an end to the practice for the safety of people.
BJP member G Kishan Reddy wanted the government to form a House committee so that the members could suggest guidelines and steps to curb the adulteration. He said there were about 50 illegal slaughterhouses running in the city and all under the nose of the government. The speaker said the issue would be taken in the form of a discussion.
GUJARAT

1,400 food adulteration cases settled in Gujarat

AHMEDABAD, NOVEMBER 8: 
The Gujarat Food and Drug Control Authority (FDCA) has said it settled 1,400 long-pending cases under the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act (PFA) in a single day through special courts.
“The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) had issued an advisory to all State Food Safety Commissioners to hasten the disposal of the cases. Nearly a year ago, there was a Supreme Court judgement on the matter. But no state had acted, except Gujarat,” HG Koshia, Commissioner, Gujarat FDCA, at the inauguration of the 8th edition of Pharmac India 2017 here.
“On October 9, we had a special sitting and we settled 1,400 cases. This is a first in the country,” he added.
He added that faster disposal resulted in nearly ₹1.25 crore being added to government coffers by way of penalties. Of the 4,800 old PFA cases in Gujarat, 3,881 were found to be trivial mistakes after analysis.
According to Koshia, the pharma manufacturers in Gujarat have improved on quality parameters. Compared to a national failure ratio of 2.3 per cent currently (which was 12 per cent a few years ago) Gujarat has a failure ratio of 1.8 per cent.
Deepnath Roy Chowdhury, National President, Indian Drug Manufacturers’ Association (IDMA), pointed to some regulatory challenges arising in the current market scenario.
“Apart from pricing regulations and regulatory changes, if a company wants to launch products, it has to be checked if it is within the parameters of a certified formulation of the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation,” he said.
J & K 
KERALA

Food safety department closes down 10 canteens

ALAPPUZHA: During the state-wide inspection drive by food safety officials, canteens and messes of ten institutions–including schools, colleges and hospitals–were closed down with immediate effect for failing to comply with the food safety norms. The inspections were carried out from October 30 to November 3, in all the districts, in the wake of repeated incidents of food poisoning in schools and colleges after consuming canteen food.As many as 332 school and hostel messes, 454 college canteens, 275 hospital canteens, 94 government office canteens and 188 private hospital canteenswere raided during inspections.
Establishments that do not possess the mandatory Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) licence or registration will be closed down within seven days, said food safety commissioner Veena N Madhavan. “It was observed that many organizations did not possess the mandatory FSSAI licence or registration required for food businesses. These institutions had been directed to take necessary steps to comply with the food safety regulations within seven days.Otherwise stringent statutory action would be initiated during the re-inspection of these premises,” Madhavan said.
Another round of inspections would be carried out in all organizations after the expiry of the stipulated time.
A total of 1,343 institutions were inspected across the state. Out of them, rectification notices were is sued to 857 establishments and a total fine of Rs 2,73,500 was levied upon 129 institutions for failing to adhere with the food hygiene and quality standards prescribed in the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006.
“The recent slew of food poisoning incidents reported in over 7 institutions of the state followed by repeated complaints of unhygienic and unsafe practices adopted in the kitchens of large-scale institutions led the department to initiate a state-wide enforcement drive to identify non-compliance and initiate statutory action against offenders,” said Madhavan.
TAMILNADU

Unlicensed shops thrive on RG Street

 
Coimbatore: Range Gowda Street, one of the busiest market streets in the city, has been found accommodating the most number of unlicensed commercial establishments selling edible commodities.
Of the 450 shops on the street located near Town Hall in South Coimbatore, less than 30 have the mandatory food business licenses, according to government records.
Due to this, the district food safety department is planning to launch a special campaign this week to increase the licence registration rate.
Licence was made mandatory for all food business concerns by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India in 2011. Though August 2011 was set as the initial deadline for commercial establishments to adhere to the norm, it was extended several times in the last six years.
According to recent government data, of the 8,500 food outlets in Coimbatore district, only about 3,000 have obtained food business licenses from the food safety department. The rest continue to operate without licenses. This included 400 odd shops on RG Street, which sell perishable items like foodgrains, chocolates, fruits and grocery.
“Even though there has been an increase in the number of manufacturers approaching us for licences of late, many wholesale and retail sellers were still not aware about the importance of obtaining the licence,” a district food safety department official said.
Subsequently, the authorities started to study the reason for the low registration rate and found that traders faced several difficulties in applying for the licenses. The application procedure was made online in 2013.Open Free Demat A/C Online – Zero Account Opening ChargesMotilal Oswal 
R Murali, a trader on RG Street, said that though there was an option to send the required documents by registered post, some of the forms (Form B) to be attached with the application form are available only online. “It takes at least half-an-hour to scan and upload other documents such as identity proofs, besides paying the requisite fee to the treasury,” he told TOI.
Inspired by the considerable success recorded by Salem in this aspect, the Coimbatore district food safety and drug control department is planning to launch special food business license registration camps across the city from this week. “We have decided to launch it in RG Street, where most of the traders are not even aware that they can not run their shops without a license,” said a senior official of the department.
The official also said that they have already held talks with local associations, banks and treasury and that the only challenge was to set up strong network connectivity so that there was no interruption in the application process.
The authorities were optimistic that the figures would cross the 5,000 mark by the end of this year as similar camps would be conducted in different areas across the city in the coming weeks based on the results of the first camp.