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.