Food regulator FSSAI will finalise the labelling standards on packaged food products in the next 2-3 months and is open to make changes in the draft rules to address the industry’s concern, its CEO Pawan Kumar Agarwal said today.
Last month, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) had issued a draft of Food Safety and Standards (Labelling and Display) Regulations, 2018 and sought comments from stakeholders.
The regulator has proposed making it mandatory to display red colour-coding on front of the pack of food products that have high-fat, high-sugar and high-salt content levels.
“We are getting stakeholders’ comment on the draft regulations. The final regulations is expected in the next 2-3 months,” Agarwal told reporters here when asked about the proposed labelling standards.
He said the FSSAI is studying the model used in foreign countries like Australia, New Zealand, Mexico and the US, for colour coding display on the packaged food item. “We are aware of the industry’s concern related to colour coding.”
Asked about the proposal on genetically modified (GM) food, Agarwal said the labelling on packaged food items with 5 per cent or more GE ingredients will “bring clarity”.
All food products having total Genetically Engineered (GE) ingredients 5 per cent or more shall be labelled, the draft said.
“Imported GM food is coming to India. It is in form of soya products and edible oils. In case of oils, traces of GM is negligible. So, there will be no labelling,” he added.
Agarwal also announced that the FSSAI is targeting to make the country free from trans-fat by 2022.
Meanwhile, FSSAI today launched an initiative to promote safe and nutritious food (SNF) at workplace to deal with the alarming increase in obesity and NCDs (Non-Communicable Diseases) like diabetes and hypertension.
“SNF@Workplace is a nation-wide campaign to help people eat safe and eat right while at work. Since the majority of our workforce consumes at least one meal during working hours, behavioural change at the workplace is critical,” Agarwal said.
The FSSAI had earlier similar initiatives for school and home.
The resource book for this initiative ‘The Orange Book: Your Guide to Safe and Nutritious Food at the Workplace’ was launched that highlights the role to be played by key stakeholders such as the administration, canteen establishment and the employees in ensuring safe and nutritious food at the workplace.To create a self-propelling and sustainable ecosystem, a systematic framework of FSSAI-trained resource persons, health & wellness coordinators and food safety supervisors for every workplace has been enabled.
Country’s premier food watchdog also plans to evaluate organisations based on systems put in place to promote health and wellness
FSSAI has also released The Orange Book: Your Guide to Safe and Nutritious Food at the Workplace.
In an effort to improve nutrition of millions of office going Indians, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) launched the SNF@Workplace initiative (safe and nutritious food at workplace) today. This initiative is an effort to stem the increase in obesity and non-communicable diseases across the country.
Most office goers consume at least one meal at the office and this initiative hopes to ensure that this meal is healthy and nutritious. Unsafe food leads to illness and absenteeism which reduces productivity and costs our economy as much as Rs 60,000 crore—9 per cent of our Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
The initiative would set processes and protocols to help people imbibe this culture of good food into their lives. “We are not mindful of what we are eating,” says Pawan Kumar Agarwal, CEO of FSSAI at the launch.
To aid workplaces and build a policy framework, FSSAI has also released The Orange Book: Your Guide to Safe and Nutritious Food at the Workplace. This sets down the role of stakeholders such as the administration, canteen establishment and the employees at a workplace in ensuring safe food. The book was released by Vinod Paul, member NITI Aayog. According to him, in order to benefit from the demographic dividend, it is important that employee productivity is improved through efforts like this. Ambrish Mithal, head of the department of Endocrinology and Diabetes at Medanta—the Medicity said that people spend long time at offices and availability and access to healthy food options here has to be easy.
The country’s premier food watchdog also plans to evaluate organisations based on systems put in place to promote health and wellness. These includes initiatives such as using licensed vendors for the canteen, personal hygiene of food handlers and safe food practices as per Food Safety Management System guidelines and having trained and certified food safety supervisor.
Empanelled audit agencies, in accordance with the Food Safety and Standards (Food Safety Auditing) Regulation 2017, will be assigned to evaluate interested workplaces. Reviewed workplaces will be given rating with 3,4 or 5 stars based on quality of food and canteens and well as the activities focused around ensuring food safety.
FSSAI will train people responsible for providing food in workplaces and help organisers create awareness about good food too. Paul urged organisation to announce on this Independence Day that all government offices and private sector would ensure that safe food is served in offices.
Before SNF@Workplace, the FSSAI had launched SNF@Home and SNF@School. They now plan to launch SNF@Hospitals in a month’s time. This will ensure that safe and nutritious food is served to patients at hospitals.
Doctors say even 3rd generation antibiotics are not working in some patients, making their treatment difficult.
Hyderabad: Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has stated that allergic reactions and long-term resistance to antibiotics found in humans are caused by drug residues in animal products like muscle, liver, kidney and milk. The FSSAI has insisted that packaged frozen and live products be tested before being sent to the market.
These products are suspected to contain residues of medicines that are meant for human consumption, pesticides and veterinary drugs. The US FDA has listed the chemicals which are found in animal products and stated that each country must work towards controlling them. With the food industry in India growing at 17 per cent, the FSSAI wants laboratory tests conducted on animal products by the organised food sector; products from the unorganised sector must be randomly tested by state food inspectors.
The chemicals that have been listed as drug residues of veterinary antibiotics are cholramphenicol and beta lactams. Pesticide residues like organophosphates, carbamates, chlorinated hydrocarbons and prethroids are also found in animal products.
A food inspector on condition of anonymity explained, “There are many growth hormones which are given to animals and the use is rampant. But to check this, there has to be a co-ordinated effort where all the three wings, the drug department, food and veterinary, must come together. Presently, it is working in isolation and the effect is not as desired.”
While the use in chicken and meat was widely reported after tests carried out by the Centre for Science and Environment, there have not been any regulations so far. Food analyst P Shastry explained “Chicken and other dairy animals are prone to diseases as they are kept together in groups. The antibiotics are used to control the diseases, but their abuse has to be restricted. There is also a demand for alternative and safe feed to tackle diseases in animals and birds.”
FSSAI is demanding that veterinary doctors must visit the farms to administer the medicines and help control the misuse of antibiotics.
Dr Dinesh Vohra, senior critical care specialist explained “The effect of this misuse is seen while treating critical patients as the highest levels of antibiotics have to be used. There are patients on whom the second, and even third generation antibiotics, are not found to work, making treatment extremely difficult. For this reason, identifying the drugs and controlling their use is most important.”
It has been noted that often the drug chemicals gets concentrated in animal food and despite heavy cooking, there is still a high concentration found. In India, FSSAI is now insisting on maintaining a manual of the drugs and identifying a list of chemicals which are found as residues. Experts state that this will pave the way for gauging their use in the dairy, poultry, animal and fish industry and accordingly control the production.
Vigilance and Enforcement officials during a raid on a firm in Cheepurupalli of Vizianagaram district on Wednesday.
Vigilance teams crack the whip on manufacturing firms
Close on the heels of the seizure of spurious beverages, the Vigilance and Enforcement Department cracked a whip on the manufacturers and suppliers of adulterated energy drinks in Vizianagaram and Srikakulam district on Wednesday.
Special teams headed by Regional Vigilance and Enforcement Officer T. Harikrishna inspected Venkata Sai Food Products at LN Peta of Srikakulam district and K.V.N. Industries at Cheepurupalli of Vizianagaram district. Other members of the team including Deputy Superintendent of Police G. Bhargava Naidu, Circle Inspector G. Chandra and Food Safety Officer Eswari, after the inspection, said that both the firms did not have valid licence to manufacture the energy drinks.
They said all the flavours were found to be contaminated with chemicals and the drinks would be harmful to the public health. They also found unauthorised usage of LPG domestic refills in the factory premises.
Samples to be sent to lab
The teams seized bottles and sought explanation from the manufacturers. “The firms are selling the energy drink bottles mostly in the rural areas of both the districts. The samples collected from the firms will be sent to laboratory in Hyderabad for testing. After obtaining the report, we will proceed legally against the proprietors,” said Mr. Harikrishna.
Panaji, May 17 (UNI) Directorate of Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) has appealed to all food business operators dealing in food business by way of catering to compulsorily display a true copy of their Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) license, along with name and contact number of the Food and Business Operator at the place of banquet set up while catering for various functions.
A statement from the department on Thursday, said the Food Business Operators who were dealing in food articles by way of retail sale, wholesale, manufacturer, trader, distributor, supplier, caterer, repacker, restaurants, mobile carts, including those who participate in various exhibitions were informed that dealing in food articles without a valid registration certificate or license under the Food Safety And Standard Act, 2006, and rules/regulation, 2011, was in contravention of the provisions of the Act/Regulations, and was punishable with imprisonment and under Section 63.
The Food Business Operators who were found operating their food business without license would be dealt with imprisonment and fine, as provided under Section 63 of the Food Safety and Standard Act 2006, it warned.
It was mandatory for all food business operators to display their License/Registration Certificate in a prominent place at the business premises, failing which a fine will be levied on the defaulters, for non display of the license or registration certificate, by way of compounding of offence, it added.
Officials collecting samples from Darshan Tea in Para Bazaar on Tuesday
Rajkot: Next time you sip tea from a roadside stall make sure the tea used by the vendor is genuine. The health department of Rajkot Municipal Corporation (RMC) has unearthed a major racket of making duplicate tea using tea waste, wood husk, toxic chemicals for flavour and colouring from Para Bazar in the city on Tuesday.
RMC officials seized over 1,200kg of different types of materials during the raid at Darshan Tea in Arham Complex of Para Bazar. The firm is owned by Pankaj Shah.
Different types of materials used in making fake tea was found stocked on the terrace of Darshan Tea’s office.
“The owners of Darshan Tea were making duplicate tea by using tea waste and used to mix wood husk, red colour and flavouring essence for giving it tea-like smell and taste. On first glance, it would look and smell like tea. But on close examining, we found that it was duplicate tea,” RMC health officer Dr Pankar Rathod told TOI.
According to Rathod, owners of Darshan Tea used to purchase tea waste from transporters and tea shop at Rs 15 to 20 per kilogram and then mixed it with wood husk, chemical essence and flavouring agents before selling it in the market for Rs 30-40 per kilogram.
“They even branded the tea as Gayabari, Alankar Premium Tea, Alankar Supreme Tea, Tatopani, Sanyasi and Bir Johra. It was mostly bought by roadside tea vendors. Also, small traders from the villages of Rajkot, Bhavnagar, Amreli and Shihor used to purchase the duplicate tea from Darshan Tea,” Rathod added. RMC officials have seized the stock and sent samples to the food testing laboratory.
“The tea was primarily found to be adulterated. The ingredients used are hazardous for human health. There are chances of food poisoning if consumed in higher quantity. Consuming substance like wooden husk could cause jaundice, typhoid while the chemical used for flavouring may result in allergy or intestine cancer,” said Rathod. He said that once the laboratory results confirm adulteration the firm owner will be penalized under the Food Safety and Standards Act.
JAMMU & KASHMIR
17 erring traders booked
KATHUA: Under the instructions of Deputy Commissioner Kathua, Rohit Khajuria, a team of Officers led by AD FCS&CA along with District Officer Food Safety Department, Assistant Controller Legal Metrology, TSO Kathua and others inspected various establishments to check the quality of food items being sold in the city especially on the eve of holy month of Ramzan.
The team inspected various establishments of Kathua town viz. sweet shops, milk and milk products shops, cooked food dhabas, meat and chicken shops.
During the inspection about 43 establishments were checked and 17 defaulters were booked and a fine of Rs. 9200 was realised from the defaulters. In addition to this, The District Food Safety Officer collected 7 samples from various establishments for proper verification/ analysis.
The inspection team further directed all the Dhaba owners, sweet shop owners and hoteliers to refrain themselves from using domestic LPG for commercial purpose failing which action under relevant law will be initiated against them. Shopkeepers/ Mutton sellers were also directed to display rate lists on their respective business premises and keep shops neat and clean
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The health wing of corporation seized 100kg of stale fish, which was stored for sale at Connemara market here on Monday.
The stale fish was found stored inside a box filled with ice. The health wing was unable to identify the vendor who had stocked the stale fish. The fish was found during a routine morning inspection. “It must be around 5-6 days old. There is no proper cold storage facility and unsold fish are often stored in most unhygienic conditions,” the health official said. No fine could be slapped as the vendor could not be identified.
The fish would be disposed using the biogas plant at Palayam market. The official said that stale fish in such high quantity has been found at Palayam market after a long time. “Two years ago we had caught a meat vendor selling stale meat, however we have not come across instances where rotten fish was stocked in such huge quantities and then put up for sale,” the official said.
Palayam ward councillor Aisha Baker raised the issue of improving facilities at the market during the council meeting held here on Monday. Officials hinted that proper storage facilities are also being mooted in the market.
Ludhiana: Taking action against food adulteration, the district health department conducted raids and collected 11 food samples from two outlets in the city on Monday. District health officer Dr Andesh Kang and food safety officer Yogesh Kumar led the team of health officials for this raid.
The officials collected four samples from a pizza outlet in Sarabha Nagar, and seven samples were collected from the canteen of a private university on Ferozepur Road. The samples have been sent to the state laboratory, and the department concerned will get the report within 21 days.
A food safety kiosk was opened at the Collector’s office by Health Minister C. Vijaya Baskar on Monday. A main objective of the kiosks was to educate the public on the food products that are best suited for summer and on those that should be avoided.
This is a part of the Department of Food Safety’s initiative to raise awareness on adulteration in food products and commodities. The kiosks will also be having demonstrations on simple techniques that can be used to detect adulteration in some of the commonly used food products. The minister said that mobile awareness teams were being made active in order to spread awareness.
The Department of Food Safety, in association with the Department of Health and Family Welfare, organized an awareness programme at Pearl City beach on Saturday, which was inaugurated by Minister for Information and Publicity, Kadambur C. Raju.
Staffs from the Food Safety department explained the importance of consuming hygienic food and water and methods by which adulterated food products can be identified.
Third in line was a Food Safety exhibition that was conducted by the Food Safety Department at the Ramanayakkan Lake Park, Hosur, Krishnagiri district. The inauguration by Sports and Youth Welfare Minister P. Balakrishna Reddy and headed by Kathiravan, the District Collector.
Brochures, pamphlets, and posters of food safety measures and summer-time food and health precautions were given out to the public and stalls demonstrating food safety techniques were put up.
Consumers can reach the Food Safety Department through 94440 42322, with regard to food safety complaints. They could also send texts through SMS or WhatsApp for immediate action against any complaint about food adulteration. Besides, complaints could also be mailed through email@example.com.
A team of officials headed by the Designated Food Safety Officer B. Vijayalalithambigai had seizednearly 500 kg of artificially ripened mango from a godown inside a wholesale shop in Selvapuram area in Ukkadam early on Friday.
Ms Vijayalalithambigai told that they had conducted raids in 16 shops and godowns as part of the routine exercise.
During the raid, the officials found a godown inside a fruit shop where mangoes are ripened using calcium carbide. The mangoes were later destroyed.
This was the first seizure of mangoes during the current season, as the fruit is yet to reach the markets from growers.
Normally, harvested mangoes reach the Coimbatore market from godowns in Mettupalayam every day. The godown owner was served with a show-cause notice under section 63 of the FSSAI rules.
The godown owner, however, said that a person who had put up a shop outside the godown should be held responsible.
Those who found violating the FSSAI rules can be fined up to Rs. 1 lakh and imprisonment for six months. The authorities last month had seized nearly 2 tonnes of artificially ripened oranges.
Health Minister C.Vijaya Baskar inaugurating a food safety awareness kiosk at the Collector’s Office in Pudukottai.
The Department of Food Safety was taking steps to raise awareness on adulteration in food products and commodities by establishing kiosks at places of public congregation across the State, Health Minister C. Vijaya Baskar said here on Monday.
Inaugurating a food safety kiosk at the Collector’s Office here, he said such kiosks were being opened at various places in all districts. One of the important objective of the kiosks was to raise awareness on the food products best suited for summer and those to be avoided.
Demonstrations on simple techniques to detect adulteration in some of the commonly used food products and commodities would also be conducted at the kiosks, manned by trained self-help group members, he said.
He also added that mobile awareness teams were being pressed into service to sensitise people.
The Minister called upon people to lodge complaints with respect to quality of food products in the dedicated telephone line of 9444042322.
Shambu Kallolikar, Managing Director, TN Slum Clearance Board and Monitoring Officer of the district, S. Ganesh, Collector, and other officials were present.
Enhancing the reach of FSSAI to ensure Safe Food – A total of 20 agencies are now provisionally recognized for Food Safety Auditing in the country.
29 Food Safety on Wheels are functional across the country in multiple states. Recent sanctions include 1 in Madhya Pradesh & 1 in Puducherry.
These vehicles to test food adulteration on the go & transfer food samples from far off places to food laboratories for further testing.
Say no to plastic, eat your cutlery instead!
Edible cutlery could be the perfect replacement for harmful plastic disposables like spoons, even as the law and food standard authorities anywhere in the world are silent on the hygiene of utensils or cutlery used to serve delicacies. “FSSAI (Food Safety and Standards Authority of India) talks about food safety in India. FDA (Food and Drug Administration US) talks about how food is to be prepared hygienically. “But for some reasons, law anywhere in the world is absolutely silent on the hygiene of the utensils used to serve your food or the unhygienic reuse of cutlery,” said Narayana Peesapaty from Hyderabad, who has designed an edible spoon made of millet flour.
“So even if you catch someone red-handed for putting something to reuse you cannot book him because there is no law that prohibits it,” Peesapaty said on Friday while delivering a lecture organised by Central Research and Training Laboratory (CRTL), the research wing of National Council of Science Museums (NCSM). The most hazardous cutlery used is the plastic disposables. “I wanted to do a life-cycle analysis of the disposable cutlery. Since it is a use and throw product eventually it should land in the garbage bin. So, I wanted to start my research there and I did not find a single plastic spoon in the garbage bin,” said Peesapaty.
The plastic spoons are being re-used very unhygienically without proper washing. Even the first user of the spoon is not safe because no one washes a plastic spoon that is coated with the lubricating oil used in the plastic cutlery mould. The plastic cutlery, which is a by-product of petroleum, contains several neuro-toxins and carcinogens. These toxins slowly enter the human body, said Peesapaty. Edible cutlery made of millets is filled with various nutrients and contains no preservatives and still has a shelf life of more than three years.
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This is possible as the products are dehydrated while baking. In the dehydrated fruits, vegetables, and fish, the moisture percentage is around five per cent, and for the spoon, it comes down to two per cent.
According to him, the extent of millet area has reduced by 97 per cent over the years. This is resulting in the overuse of water resources, as producing a kilogram of rice needs 5,000 litres of water.
Millets had lost their significance as food and hence, to bring millet cultivation he thought out of the box and came up with the novel idea.
Edible cutlery made of millets answers many environmental problems. They have brought back dryland cropping, thus saving water.
All packaged food with at least 5% content from genetically engineered sources need to be labelled so. Moreover, foods that exceed norms of sugar and fat will need to carry ‘red’ and ‘green’ labels specifying the extent to which they do so, according to draft regulations by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI).
This is the first time that the Centre has laid down guidelines for labelling genetically modified food. Officials say they are awaiting public comments. “This isn’t the final draft. There will be one more version and that will be reviewed for 30 days,” said Pawan Agarwal, CEO, FSSAI.
The government has been contemplating a system for labelling genetically modified foods for atleast 2 years. Current laws, however, prohibit any GM food—unless cleared by the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee, a Union environment ministry body– from being sold in India. Through a 2007 notification, the environment ministry had exempted processed foods from this requirement; this has been stayed by the courts. There was also dispute between the FSSAI, a Union health ministry body, and the environment ministry on who checks if a particular food had a GE provenance. “The companies will check the GM content and we will be conduct further testing and checks,” said Agarwal.
The draft also defines safe levels of fat, sugar and salt in processed food. Food packs would have a designated space coloured RED in case the value of energy from total sugar was more than 10 per cent of the total energy (kcal) provided by the 100 g/100 ml of the product; the value of energy (kcal) from trans-fat is more than 1 per cent of the total energy (kcal) provided by the 100 g/100 ml of the product; and total fat or sodium content provided by the 100 g/100 ml of the product is more than certain specified threshold values
Launching the kit in New Delhi, Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh said, the kit will help in detecting chemicals in the fish. He said continuous ingestion of ammonia and formaldehyde can lead to many health issues including abdominal pain, vomiting, unconsciousness, and sometimes even cause death.
India’s domestic fish market is reported to be selling formaldehyde-adulterated fish, especially in markets located far away from landing centres or production sites.
According to Indian and International regulations, the fresh fish and shellfish should be preserved only by means of ice and use of substances other than ice to maintain quality is a fraudulent practice. Mr Singh said, continuous monitoring of the contaminants in a laboratory is time-consuming and requires expertise but some people use toxic chemicals in the form of contaminated substances.
According to the proposed draft of Food Safety and Standards (Labelling and Display) Regulations, 2018, the packaged food companies will have to declare nutritional information such as calories (energy), total sugar and salt, total fat and trans-fat, per serving on the front of the pack. The food labels will also declare, per serve percentage contribution to RDA (recommended dietary allowance) on the front of the pack. At present, the draft is in public domain for suggestions and feedback.
The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is planning to mandate displaying red colour-coding on front-of-the-pack labels on packaged food products that have high-fat, high-sugar and high-salt content levels. Image source: Reuters
In an endeavour to provide healthy food choices for consumers, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is planning to mandate displaying red colour-coding on front-of-the-pack labels on packaged food products that have high-fat, high-sugar and high-salt content levels. The proposed draft has irked the country’s sugar sector. According to it, sugar is the cheapest source of energy for a large section Indian populace. The sugar industry has opposed the FSSAI’s move, saying there is no scientific evidence that proves that consumption of sugar is harmful for health.
According to the proposed draft of Food Safety and Standards (Labelling and Display) Regulations, 2018, the packaged food companies will have to declare nutritional information such as calories (energy), total sugar and salt, total fat and trans-fat, per serving on the front of the pack. The food labels will also declare, per serve percentage contribution to RDA (recommended dietary allowance) on the front of the pack. At present, the draft is in public domain for suggestions and feedback.
National Federation of Cooperative Sugar Factories Ltd (NFCSF) has said that it along with Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA) have decided to meet the Health Ministry, Food Processing Ministry and the top FSSAI officials to oppose the draft policy. Members of the Indian Sugar Mills Association (Isma) and National Federation of Cooperative Sugar Mills represent both private and cooperative sugar sectors. “The proposed policy of red colour coding at the time, when the sugar industry is going through tough times is a wrong move,” said Prakash Naiknavare, MD, National Federation of Cooperative Sugar Factories Ltd.
Reeling under the impact of falling prices and piling inventory, the sugar industry termed it as a wrongly timed move, and said that before coming up with such a policy or draft the thought should have been given about the sugar’s per capita consumption in India, which is barely 20-22 kilograms, while the same goes up to 50 to 65 kilograms in western countries. They questioned that when the western nations are not thinking about it, why should we think on those lines.
Further, the industry said that sugar continues to be the cheapest source of energy in India, where the large population belongs to Below Poverty Line (BPL), therefore, red marking on food products will send a negative message to people.
Commodity market experts also feel the policy of colour coding on packaged food items will harm the industry. “If this (red) colour coding is implemented there would definitely be an impact on consumption pattern of sugar because (packaged food) industry will have to follow the rules. If we go back to last 1-2 years and even this year, there has been an increase in Sugar production. It will be a setback for the sugar industry. There would also be a reduction in farmers’ remuneration as consumption will go down if the red colour coding system is implemented,” says Vandana Bharti, Assistant Vice President, SMC Global Securities Ltd.
“We see that sometimes for 2-3 continuous years there is an overproduction of sugar, and sometimes there is a deficit. In my opinion, farmers should be informed if a crop is in surplus. They should be advised to switch to those crops which are more profitable to them. It will help in increasing the soil fertility as well as in maintaining demand-supply balance also,” Bharti added.
AP / TELENGANA
Adulterated cold drinks seized
Adulterated cold drinks seized
Srikakulam: The vigilance and enforcement officials seized adulterated cold drinks at Chilakapalem on the National Highway (NH-16) on Friday.
On a tip-off, vigilance superintendent of police T Harikrishna, along with his officials, started checking vans and found 500 cold drink packets worth Rs 75,000 on which there is no batch number and date of manufacturing.
Officials collected the samples and sent them to the laboratory at Nacharam in Hyderabad for ascertaining actual contents. Vigilance CI G Chandra, S Tarakarama Rao, deputy commercial tax officer and food safety department officials were present.
20 tonnes of fruits ripened with harmful chemicals destroyed
Vigilance and food safety officials examining mangoes during a raid at Kedareswarapet fruit market, in Vijayawada on Friday.
Public cautioned against consuming toxic and chemically-ripened fruits
Continuing their raids on fruit markets in Krishna district, officials of the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), Vigilance and Enforcement (V&E) and Vijayawada Municipal Corporation (VMC) raided fruit stalls at Kedareswarapet Fruit Market, on Friday.
The special teams swooped on the wholesale mango shops and seized chemical powder sachets and sprays. They destroyed the stocks, weighing about 20 tonnes. Regional Vigilance and Enforcement Officer (RVEO) M. Ravindranath Babu, who participated in the raids, said samples of ethylene ripener and Chinese sprays were seized from the cartons. “Earlier, fruit merchants used to ripen fruits using hay. We seized papayas, bananas and mangoes earlier and warned the traders not to use chemicals to ripen the stocks. Despite repeated warnings, many merchants are using chemicals and are playing with the lives of the people,” the RVEO said.
Imported from China?
Assistant Food Controller N. Purnachandra Rao said the team members seized many powder sachets, which were reportedly imported from China. Ethepon is a harmful chemical being used to ripen mangoes, which is not advisable, he said. “We caution the public not to consume the fruits ripened using chemicals. The powders and sprays being used will cause many health disorders”, the FSSAI officials said.
More raids on fruit markets
Vigilance Deputy Superintendent of Police R. Vijay Paul said criminal cases would be booked against the traders once the chemical analysis reports arrived from the lab. “We request the traders not to use any type of chemicals and more raids will be conducted on fruit markets in the next few days”, Mr. Paul warned
Raid on Vijayawada fruit market: Rampant use of illegal chemicals found
Food safety officials destroy 20 tonnes of artificially ripened fruits during the inspection
VIJAYAWADA: As strict ban was imposed on using calcium carbide to artificially ripen mangoes, the fruit vendors at Kedareswararaopet fruit market in the city have opted to use ethylene sachets, which they get from China and other countries. The overseas imports of the harmful chemicals came to light when the officials of Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) and Vigilance and Enforcement carried out a joint raid at the fruit market in Vijayawada on Friday.
During the raid, the officials found fruit boxes containing ethylene sachets with a plant hormone solution sprayed on the mangoes. When Express asked the officials how the vendors were able to procure harmful chemicals, they said that vendors remained tight-lipped on the issue. “The fruit vendors are not spilling the beans on how they are managing to get the chemicals from foreign countries. We are suspecting the involvement of a network behind the supply of ethylene powder,” assistant food controller N Purnachandra Rao said.
It was found that the solution and ethylene stocks were discovered with workers at the shops in the market. Names of countries, such as China, were written on the containers where the chemical and solution were kept, the officials mentioned, indicating that they were supplied illegally. The food safety officials further expressed concern as it was observed in recent raids that counterfeit products with fake labels were all made in China.
“To analyse the chemicals, we have sent all the samples to the state food laboratory. Officials destroyed 20 tonnes of artificially ripened fruits during the inspection,” assistant food controller Purnachandra Rao said. Cautioning about health hazards the artificially ripened fruits would cause, the assistant food controller said: “The lives of those who consume these fruits are at high risk because usage of the chemical ripeners could cause serious health problems like heart ailments and, even, cancer. Based on the report by the laboratory, stringent action would be taken against the vendors.”
Krishna District Collector B Lakshmikantham took the issue seriously and directed the officials concerned to register criminal cases against the traders who were found using artificial ripeners like calcium carbide, ethylene powder and other harmful chemicals.
Timeline of raids across the State On May 8, food safety, vigilance and enforcement, agriculture and commercial taxes departments noticed that wholesale fruit traders in Tenali are using ethylene powder for artificial ripening of mangoes. Officials destroyed 22 tonnes of mangoes and collected 1,080 ethylene powder sachets from traders On May 9, sleuths of food safety and vigilance cracked a whip on errant fruit vendors who found using banned calcium carbide powder for ripening of mangoes in Gudivada and Machilipatnam. Around 15 tonnes of artificially ripened mangoes were destroyedOn May 10, sleuths of food safety and vigilance raided mango orchids where traders are ripening the fruits by using ethipon liquid. 25 tonnes of mangoes were destroyed under the supervision of revenue officials.
Sleuths of vigilance and enforcement and food safety authority carried out surprise raids at fruits markets in Guntur and Tenali on Tuesday. The officials found merchants using high quantities of ethylene powder to ripen mangos stored in godowns.
The raids that continued till the evening covered nearly 100 outlets at wholesale markets in these two major towns of the district. The officials seized artificial ripening chemicals and fruit samples from the merchants.
“We are sending the samples for chemical analysis to food safety laboratory in Nacharam. We will take action following the lab findings,” said a senior official of vigilance and enforcement wing.
However, the officials are clueless about how to take action against the traders using the artificial ripening chemicals that are imported from China.
“Though using ethylene is not banned in India, we do not know what the sachets being used by the merchants contain,” said Srinivasa Rao, food safety official who was present during the raids. He added that ethylene should be used as per the recommended dosages and the indiscriminate use of the chemical may be harmful for health.
Sources said that the food safety laboratory confirmed the presence of ethephon in the ethylene samples, which were seized and sent for analysis by the food safety officials and vigilance sleuths in Vijayawada during the last mango season.
Since no trader or their attendants were trained in using ethylene, the officials think that the fruits are being ripened early owing to chemical reactions. “The traders stopped using calcium carbide, fearing imprisonment. But using ethylene indiscriminately is also harmful,” said an official.
BEWARE OF HARMFUL BITE
*Sale of fruits ripened by calcium carbide has been banned under clause 2.3.5 of the Food Safety and Standards (Prohibition and Restrictions on Sales) Regulations, 2011
*Union agriculture ministry has recommended the use of ethylene gas in low concentration exogenously to ripen fruits
*Using ethylene gas or ethephon has been scientifically recommended as a safe alternative to ripen banana and other seasonal fruits.
*Ethylene is not harmful if it is used as per the recommended dose
*The merchants are using small sachets of ethylene powder imported from China
*High Court of Hyderabad directed both AP and Telangana state governments to construct ripening chambers and make merchants avoid artificial ripening
*There are no ripening chambers in Guntur district
*Direct exposure of fruit to ethylene powder is neither scientific nor permitted
*Surprisingly, there are no guidelines to act against the violators
*The ripening treatment with the gas is carried out in an airtight room for 24 hours at low temperature in high humidity.
Prohibition on manufacture, storage, sale, transportation, display and distribution of Gurkha, Pan Masala, Chewing Materials (by whatever name) containing tobacco and nicotine as ingredients#FDA@ceo_fssai@fssaiindia@MoHFW_INDIA
VMC destroys 1,200 kg mangoes
VMC cracked down on shops at Khanderao Market that were selling artificially ripened fruits.
VADODARA: In the first major operation in the wholesale and retail fruit market in Khanderao Market, food safety officers of the Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) destroyed around 1,200kg of mangoes that were ripened artificially. A large quantity of ripeners were also seized during the operation.
The use of artificial ripeners like ethylene ripener and calcium carbide is rampant during summer for mangoes. The practice has continued despite repeated advisories as well as raids by the VMC. The civic body too has not been able to control the practice despite the fact that it has its headquarters in the Khanderao Market itself.
Officials said that 18 godowns as well as 16 shops where mangoes had been stored were checked during the drive on Wednesday. It came to light that all these were ripening fruits artificially. The officials also found that 30kg of mangoes were not fit for consumption.
By the end of the day, around 1,200kg mangoes were seized by the civic body. The stock was taken to the Jambuva landfill site of the civic body and disposed there.
A VMC communique said that the vendors were asked to give an undertaking that they would not ripen fruits using artificial ripeners. This was done after instructions from the Gujarat high court.
The provisions in the food safety law are not enough in themselves to contain the sources of water-borne diseases in the Diamond City. Penalties are very few after samples are taken for testing by health officials of the Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC) and adulteration is found.
During the last two months, SMC’s health department officials had collected 20 samples of milk, 14 of mango milk shake, 18 from ice factories and yet no one has been punished as yet. The reason is results of the analysis of the samples are still awaited.
The city has nearly 50,000 roadside eateries, but only 20 health officers, 200 ward inspectors and 10 food inspectors to conduct regular checking.
A health officer said, “Most of the roadside eateries in the city start operations in the evening hours. More than 70 per cent of them don’t have any licence. It is not possible for us to check them during night hours. We usually look for unhygienic conditions at food stalls, check personal hygiene of people who prepare food and whether raw material used is stale or not. Usually, we do not collect food samples from roadside eateries. We collect samples from hotels and restaurants on receiving a complaint.”
In the wake of reports that the consumption of liquid nitrogen has created health issues, the food safety department has issued an order prohibiting its use in food products.
Food safety commissioner M G Rajamanickam has prohibited use of liquid nitrogen for preparation of ice creams, cold drinks and other cold foods under section 30 (2)(a) of food safety and standards act 2006.
“The commissioner of food safety has noted that certain food business operators in different parts of Kerala are using liquid nitrogen for the preparation of ice creams, cool drinks and other types of cold food. Even though nitrogen is an inert gas, not harmful to human body, liquid nitrogen in a temperature of -196 degree Celsius is unsafe, if not handled properly and if happen to consume with the product with which it is prepared,” the order said.
The prohibition is for one year or until the completion of risk analysis by experts of FSSAI or state government and clearing the product as safe for human consumption.
FDA SUGGESTS EASY TESTS TO ROOT OUT ADULTERATION
List of 41 do-at-home checking methods is now available on agency website, results to be confirmed in labs
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has urged the public to follow rapid detection of adulteration in food items at home if they suspect foul play. The FDA has stressed that testing the eatables before consuming can avoid health hazards or adverse effects of consuming adulterated fruits, vegetables or other items bought from the market. The FDA will soon start mass awareness among the public about such rapid detection tests across the state and will team up with corporates for this initiative.
The FDA has come up with a list of easy-to-follow guidelines for quick detection of adulterants in everyday food items. The list comprises 41easy tests that can be done at home to weed out adulteration. The guidelines have been recently updated on the FDA website that has been approved by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI).
Pallavi Darade, commissioner, Maharashtra FDA, said, “The more the public is aware the better laws around adulteration can be implemented. Public health is a concern of the FDA and we are undertaking a series of meetings with corporates and other institutes and organisations to take this initiative forward. We are going to conduct several workshops and through corporate social responsibility initiatives with the corporates we will conduct awareness campaigns about such tests.”
Shivaji Desai, joint commissioner, FDA, Pune region, said, “The citizens can do these tests and if they find adulterated food products they can complain to the FDA on the helpline number. Once we receive the complaints, we will send the food articles to the laboratory for further tests. While the tests at home will be the initial ones, those at the laboratory can be confirmatory. Further action will be taken by the FDA on the basis of the laboratory reports.”
Food items bought from the market, like the peas in the picture, can be easily tested at home
Snapshot of adulteration testing guidelines
► Mix a small amount of milk and water and shake it vigorously, if adulterated with detergents, the solution will form lather.
► Identify fungus in foodgrains by soaking them in salt solution; fungus floats while the grains settle. Similarly papaya seeds float, while pepper sinks.
► Refrigerate coconut oil for 30 minutes. Coconut oil freezes; while any adulterant will remain on top as a separate layer.
► Cut a piece of potato and sprinkle salt on it. Wait for a minute and add two drops of lemon juice to it. If it is iodised salt, the area will turn blue.
► Move a magnet through flour, tea powder to check for iron fillings.
► Burn asafoetida in a small spoon; pure asafoetida burns like camphor, if adulterated it will not produce a bright flame.
► Add coffee powder to water and stir. If coffee powder is adulterated, you can see clay and chicory moving to the bottom and settling.
Detection of artificial colours
► Soak green peas in a glass of water; you see the malachite green colour separate for adulterated peas.
► Rub a piece of cotton soaked in vegetable oil on the surface of vegetables like ladies finger, green chill and sweet potato; if coloured, you can see the cotton catch the colour.
► Soak whole turmeric in water, if adulterated it will leave a bright yellow colour indicating the presence of lead chromate.
FDA team caught a milk vendor, while he was mixing water in milk packets.
He would remove about 100 to 200 ml of milk from each packet and refill it with tap water before sealing it with hot wax.
Mumbai: The Thane unit of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) busted a milk adulteration racket that was operating from a highrise in the Srushti area of Kashimira in the early hours of Wednesday.
Acting on a tip-off, a FDA team led by three FSOs swooped down on the ninth floor apartment in the MHADA area and caught a door-to-door milk vendor, identified as Machgiri Kaambla, while he was allegedly mixing water in milk packets using a syringe.
According to FDA officials, the accused would buy branded milk from distributors and then remove about 100 to 200 ml of milk from each packet and refill it with tap water before sealing it using hot wax. Apart from empty pouches of reputed
brands, syringes and other sealing material, the FDA team seized a total of 130 milk packets of one litre each, which were being adulterated at the time of raid.
“A case under the regulations of the Food Safety and Standards Act,(FSSA) 2006, and relevant sections of the IPC has been registered against the accused at the Kashimira police station.” said FSO Manek Jadhav, adding that the samples of the adulterated milk had been sent for lab testing.
Maharashtra: FSSAI orders manufacturing cos to use blue colour in industrial ice
Mumbai: In yet another instance the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has ordered food business operators (FBOs) across India to use blue food colour in the manufacturing of industrial ice to differentiate it from the edible ice, which will remain colourless. The order shall come into effect from June 2018.
A senior official said they have also directed the food safety commissioners of states and Union Territories (UTs) to enhance the surveillance and enforcement on the sale of non-edible ice so as to ensure compliance with this directive. The circular by the country’s apex food regulator stated, “The use of non-edible ice, which is made from non-potable water, for an edible purpose is a health hazard. Similarly, the incorrect use of non-edible ice for preservation, storage and transportation of perishable food commodities may lead to food contamination.”
According to FSSAI, it has been observed that in the absence of any visible distinction between the edible and non-edible ice, the latter is also being used for consumption. FSSAI official said in order to check the misuse of non-edible ice as edible ice, FSSAI has decided that food colours Indigo Carmine and Brilliant Blue up to10 parts per million (ppm) must be used in production of non-edible ice and non-edible ice blocks coming in contact with the food products during preservation, storage or transportation of food commodities, to give it a bluish look or appearance, so as to enable clear difference between the two.
All the FBOs engaged in the production or use of edible or non-edible ice must ensure the visible distinction between the two by using food colour in non-edible ice by June 2018. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Maharashtra, in the month of April 2018, directed the businesses involved in the manufacturing of industrial ice to use blue colour to differentiate it from the edible ice. “A meeting was held with various stake holders related to the manufacturing of industrial ice, and it was decided to make the use of blue colour for industrial purposes, whereas edible ice should look crystal clear,” added Dr Pallavi Darade, FDA Commissioner.
She added from June 1, people, from across the country, can spot the difference between the blue and white ice. The ice manufacturing companies have been asked to adhere to the government’s guidelines. If anyone is found to be violating the law, strict action will be taken against them.”
800 kg of artificially ripened mangoes seized, destroyed
Coimbatore (TN), May 11 A total of 800 kg of artificially ripened mangoes were seized and destroyed here today by personnel of the department of food safety, police said.
The seizures were effected from 10 shops, following complaints from customers about the taste, they said, adding that the mangoes were found ripened with carbide stones.
Such artificially ripened mangoes cause stomach-related ailments and are not fit for consumption, police said.
The value of these destroyed mangoes was not mentioned.
School students roped in for food safety awareness campaigns
Tirupur district chose the collectorate and the campaign will continue for next 25-30 days, said a food safety officer.The students were from Nanjappa Corporation Higher Secondary School. Tirupur: A group of 15 students of a corporation school created awareness on food adulteration at the Tirupur collectorate by explaining to the visitors how food is adulterated in various forms.The district Food Safety and Drug Administration (Fsda) has engaged them in creating the awareness.The state FSDA commissionerate has directed the district units to hold such awareness campaigns in popular places. The officials provided training to the students on Thursday.
A group of 15 students of a corporation school created awareness on food adulteration at the Tirupur collectorate by explaining to the visitors how food is adulterated in various forms.The district Food Safety and Drug Administration (Fsda) has engaged them in creating the awareness.The state FSDA commissionerate has directed the district units to hold such awareness campaigns in popular places.
Tirupur district chose the collectorate and the campaign will continue for next 25-30 days, said a food safety officer.The students were from Nanjappa Corporation Higher Secondary School.
The officials provided training to the students on Thursday..
The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has cancelled the licence given to the pan masala manufacturing unit at Nallanthottam near Sulur from where the police seized large quantities of gutkha on April 29.
According to officials, the licence given to the unit for making pan masala and supari, both non-tobacco-based items, was cancelled on April 30 following the seizure of 648 kg of gutkha.
A food safety officer of the FSSAI working in the area has also come under the scanner of the police team investigating the seizure as he had reportedly inspected the manufacturing unit in January this year and given it a clean chit.
The unit named Amit S. Fragrance owned by Delhi-based Amit Jain was granted licence for the manufacture of non-tobacco-based pan masala for four years in 2014.
The licence was valid till July this year.
According to the police, it has the licence to manufacture one tonne of pan masala per day. They said that the unit submitted an application in January for the modification of the existing licence to manufacture half tonne each of pan masala and supari per day, both non-tobacco-based products. The police said that a food safety officer named Sakthivel who has been working in the area for over five years inspected the unit in January and submitted a report effecting the modification of the licence.
The food safety officer, however, had claimed that there was no illegal activity in the pan masala unit when he inspected the place.
Meanwhile, the special team of police which left for New Delhi and other locations in search of Mr. Jain is yet to trace him.
Trichy: The district food safety and drug administration department conducted a special inspection at the wholesale ghee shops and ghee manufacturing units in the city to check for adulteration recently.
Food safety officers stated that during inspection, they discovered a few packets where ghee was mixed with maida flour, semolina flour and oil. Ghee with such adulteration is generally sold for non-edible purposes and predominantly for lighting lamps.
But since a few such packets didn’t carry the information on whether the ghee was for edible or non-edible purposes, the food safety officials instructed the wholesale sellers to sell ghee packets, which had all the necessary details according to FSSAI norms.
A food safety officer, who had inspected around 70 wholesale shops and manufacturing units, said that he found two shops which sold ghee packets with no proper label. “Some of the packets which had adulterated ghee, did not have proper labelling apart from the brand name,” he stated.
Apart from having all the necessary details including the manufacturing date, expiry date, batch number, full name and the detail of the manufacturer, FSSAI registration number, the shop owners and manufacturing units have also been asked to mention if the ghee is for edible or non-edible purposes clearly in the packets. They were also instructed to make the necessary changes and failure of which would lead to the department taking an action against them.
We had also conducted an Information Education and Communication (IEC) campaign for ghee sellers to create an awareness of sorts,” the food safety officer added.
In fact this inspection was conducted a couple of weeks after district collector K Rajamani had issued an advisory to the general public on purchasing ghee.
He had stated that customers should refrain from purchasing ghee packets without all the necessary details mentioned in it. “People should not buy low quality ghee just because the price is less,” he stated in the advisory.
He further said that if the customers had any complaints, they could send an SMS or a WhatsApp message to the official food safety department’s complaints number 94440 42322.
The FSSAI has, by an Order dated 25th April, 2018, advised all FBOs to nominate atleast one trained and certified Food Safety Supervisor, for every 25 Food Handlers or part thereof in each of their premises, for carrying out periodic training of all Food Handlers in such premises; and maintaining records for food safety audit and inspections.
The FSSAI also directed the FBOs to get such Food Handlers trained under the Food Safety Training & Certification Program (“FoSTaC”) by 31st December, 2018.
The list of Training Partners, empanelled for the purpose of such training, and other details regarding FoSTaC have been made available on firstname.lastname@example.org.
The FSSAI, by the above-mentioned Order, has also defined the following terms, in context of food safety training and certification:
A campaign has been launched by the Krishna district officials to put a check on use of calcium carbide for ripening of mangoes artificially, citing health hazards due to the chemical.
In a recent review meeting with Joint Collector Ms. Vijaya Krishnan, Collector B. Lakshmikantam mooted serious legal action against those who used the chemical for artificial ripening of the mango fruit.
Mango merchants have been warned against violating the ban orders.
“It has been decided to invoke the provisions of the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 against those caught using calcium carbide for ripening. Up to ₹1 lakh fine and six months imprisonment will be awarded to the accused,” said Mr. Lakshmikantam in an official release.
The public have been asked to report such practices by calling 9515053159 or 9849905226.
Vijayawada: a used gutkha packet and other waste were found in a cool drink bottle in a restaurant on the BRTS road on Sunday.
When V Ramesh of Madhuranagar and his friends went to the restaurant and were served cool drinks, they found gutkha packet and other garbage in it. They immediately lodged a complaint with the restaurant owner.
With the restaurant owner not responding, Ramesh approached the food safety officials. The officials seized the bottle and are investigating.
Major step towards food safety on the pipeline
May 1 – Did you know that the meat and fish recipes that we so often relish could have high amounts of toxic veterinary drug residue!Even if you had known, there was very little you could do. But, microbiologists in Assam have finally found a way out.
In a major boost to food safety interventions, analysts are all set to be armed with sophisticated high-end tools to screen the toxic veterinary drug residue that is injected into fish and meat (including poultry) to effect unnatural growth and more significantly, is considered fatal for public health.
In addition, tools to identify the hazardous industrial waste released into water bodies and considered as a major cause of threat to aquatic life, along with the toxic pesticide residue used for agricultural produce beyond the permissible limit, would also be added to the armoury of the microbiologists at the State Public Health Laboratory here.
Sources said that the Centre has already approved Rs 8.05 crore for upgrading the laboratory. Three different lines of sophisticated tools would be procured. Of the total sanctioned amount, Rs 5.05 crore would be spent on procurement of three state-of-the-art tools.
The remaining amount will be spent on lab upgrading, civil and electrical works and other related heads.
While the advanced LC-MS/MS system (Liquid Chromatograph-tandem mass spectrometry) would be employed to detect the toxic veterinary drug residues in fish, meat and poultry products, the intervention by the GC-MS/MS (Gas Chromatography-mass spectrometry) intervention would aid in identifying toxic waste released into water bodies killing aquatic life.
Further, the IC-MS/MS, a multi-residue screening method, is meant for detecting excessive pesticide residues in vegetables which have the potential to cause health hazards, including cancer.
“It is an irony that the State had no method to examine the harmful contents in food products which even have the potential to cause diseases like cancer. However, it is better late than never. This is a major step towards public health safety under the Food Safety and Standards Act,” official sources told The Assam Tribune without wishing to be named.
Assam had imported 12.61 metric tonnes of fish from states like Bihar, Uttar Pradesh West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh in 2016-17. The meat and poultry needs are largely met by local sources.
Dimapur chief medical officer (CMO), Dr. K. Vikato Kinimi has appealed to consumers not to purchase food products that do not have proper labels.
In a press release, the CMO said it has come to the notice of his office that many food business operators (FBO) in Dimapur district are manufacturing/packaging, storing and selling food articles, besides packaged drinking water of 10/20 litres jars, without FSSAI and ISI/BIS certification numbers.
According to him, Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 prohibits selling of any food item to consumers without manufacturing date/best before date, expiry date, net quantity (weight/volume), veg and non-veg logo, FSSAI, BIS number, manufacturers’ detailed address, etc, on package labels. And defaulters are punishable with fine up to Rs 2 lakh, he added.
Kinimi asked consumers to submit written complaints/letters in case of any complaint related to food safety standards to the designated officer of food safety in CMO office for further necessary action in the interest of public/consumers.
Peren : The Mobile Food Safety on Wheels team has detected use of a banned dye in chilli powder products in Peren town.
According to a press release issued by Food Safety Officer, Chief Medical Office, Peren during the test, the team detected chilli powder, which were sold in the local market, dyed with cancer causing synthetic colour Rhodamine B dye which breaks down Red Blood Cells and adversely cause growth retardation and damages the liver and kidney and Sudan Dye which is highly toxic to liver.
“This was also detected in Dimapur market,” the press release stated.
Different food products like spices, local water, fruit juice and drinks, milk etc were collected from shops in the town and tested in the mobile lab at Peren Town. The team had also conducted an awareness programme along with the testing of food at Peren Town on April 27.
The team consisted of technicians from State Public Health Laboratory, Kohima assisted by the Food Safety Officer and Sanitary Inspector, Peren.
Products such as chilli powder is consumed daily by the public without knowing the harmful affect it can have on the body. “Therefore, it is our concern that higher authorities exercise immediate steps towards these kind of rampant selling of health deteriorating substances found in common place we find and eat,” the Officer added.
Further, the local waters and other liquid products tested were found to be in the permissible range. The Food Safety on Wheels also held a brief awareness programme for the students in the Town Hall in the evening. The ADC, Peren had also visited the Team in the morning. Security was provided by the SP for assisting the team for the whole day. Volunteers from youth and the public eagerly helped the team in performing their work successfully.
As many as 21 samples of milk, out of the total 165 tested, were found to be of sub-standard quality, said Delhi Health Minister Satyendra Jain, adding that those who failed the tests included prominent brands like Amul and Mother Dairy.
The drive, which started on April 13, also took three samples of ghee for testing, and found one (of a local brand) “unsafe”, the minister said.
“The issue was raised in the Assembly and I gave directions to test samples of the milk in Delhi. We have taken a total of 177 samples across Delhi including branded and local products, reports of 165 have come out, and out of this 21 samples (including Mother Dairy and Amul) have failed for their sub-standard quality – which does not mean they are unsafe,” Jain told reporters.
Talking about ‘sub-standard’, Jain said it can mean two things: one is fake(unsafe) and the other one is where it does not meet the prescribed requirement (safe, but falls short of some content, like fats for example).
Most of the failed samples, during this drive, were found adulterated with milk powder, he added.
“All cases will be submitted to the court and the drive will continue to happen and will be extended to all milk products.
“Earlier there were four food inspectors and now 18 of them have joined newly for the drive and will be on the field on daily basis,” he said, adding that parameters mentioned by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) were followed in the drive.
On punishment, Jain said that in case of sub-standard milk there would be a penalty ranging between Rs 5,000 and Rs 5 lakh.
However, he said it won’t be the case if a product is found to be unsafe.
“If unsafe product – like a sample that was found unsafe in ghee – there can be imprisonment from 6 months to 3 years,” he said.
Locals accuse an FDA official of corruption; Food inspector says court would be approached if the samples failed tests
CANACONA: Irked over frequent sale of stale and spoilt food items by a sweet mart shop in Canacona, concerned citizens had served an ultimatum to the administration of the taluka to get the FDA officials to inspect the shop for alleged sale of contaminated food items.
Taking heed to the demand, four FDA officials raided two shops owned by Narayan Vaishnav and sealed the kitchen premises for violating FDA norms, as the kitchen was found in an unhygienic condition.
Concerned citizens met the FDA officials in the chamber of mamlatdar, where the locals alleged that the FDA and other authorities were protecting the sweet mart owner, a Rajasthani resident, even after he was found selling stale food products.
They also leveled charges of corruption against a particular official of FDA and took the FDA officials to task over no actions being taken against the owner for violations reported in the past four occasions.
Later, FDA official Iva Fernandes, assisted by Abel Rodrigues, Amit mandrekar and Zenia Rosario inspected the kitchen premises used by Suraj Sweet Mart for preparing sweets and other food items and found over twenty food safety violations.
Keeping in view the violations, FDA instructed the sweet mart owner to shut down the kitchen till the violations were rectified.
Later, the FDA team inspected another two outlets operated by the same owner at Chaudi town and took a few samples, which they suspected were contamination.
Speaking to the media Fernandes said that the samples would be tested at Bambolim and if the samples failed the food safety standards, they will move the court to seal the premises.
Chocolate Room found selling misbranded products
If you’re a chocolate lover and the cocoa-based treat is something you simply can’t do without, you may want to exercise some caution. According to a press release issued by the health department of the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC), the chain known as Chocolate Room has been selling misbranded chocolate.
An AMC flying squad had collected a sample of ‘Choco Dark Chocolate Bar’ taken from the Shaymal outlet of the popular chain, for laboratory testing and it was declared misbranded. Even the pav (bun) of the vada pav from Jay Bhavani’s Shahibaug outlet was found misbranded and a sample of clove taken from Ashirvad Foods, Madhupura market was found to be sub-standard.
Until March 21, 2018, the civic body had collected 533 different food samples, of which 47 samples were found to be unapproved. While 25 samples were misbranded, 21 were sub-standard and one sample was declared unsafe to eat. Results of tests on 57 food samples is yet to be announced.
“Action against the business operators has been initiated as per the Food Safety and Standard Act – 2006. If anyone in the city suspects malpractices in edible items, they can contact us,” said Dr Bhavin Solanki, in-charge medical officer, AMC.
Officials destroyed 1,000kg ice and 12,500 water pouches in the raids
Food safety officials of the Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) cracked down on units manufacturing ice and packaged drinking water pouches that are briskly selling due to scorching heat.
The officials destroyed a large quantity of ice and pouches during the drive. VMC had begun the checking drive on Tuesday in wake of the fact that ice as well as water pouches were sold in large numbers during the summer. Officials said that besides being bought in smaller quantities by persons from the economically weaker sections, ice was used in large quantities by caterers in wake of the wedding season.
The civic body checked four ice making units on Tuesday in the Salatwada, Karelibaug and Chhani Jakatnaka areas. The teams checked if the water used for making ice here was chlorinated. On Wednesday, officials checked five units in Makarpura GIDC and Pratapnagar areas of the city. The teams destroyed 1,000kg on ice and 12,500 water pouches in the raids on Wednesday. Notices were also issued to units warning them to maintain hygiene at their premises.
Safety concerns: Shops selling smoke ice creams ordered to temporarily close down
As anxieties related to safety of consuming ice creams that emit smoke prevails in the region, the district food safety officer EK Eliamma has issued orders to temporarily shut down establishments that sell such ice creams.
Eliamma said that it cannot be guaranteed that such ice creams are 100 per cent safe and those who are consuming it should do at their own risk. “There is a possibility of stomach diseases when the gas emanating from it is gone, then there is no need to worry about its safety,” she added. Anxieties were raised on the social media as the smoke emitting ice creams say that the ice cream is 100 per cent safe and the propaganda against it are fake.
Two officials of a company producing products under Malto Vita and Choco Malt brands were arrested on Friday in connection with a case in which a distribution centre at Maradu was found to be repackaging expired baby and children’s food products. A special squad led by the Thrikkakkara Assistant Commissioner arrested Gopakumar Menon, 63, of Palakkad, and K.R. Suresh, 55, of Shoranur. They were senior regional officers of Continental Milkose (India) Ltd. On April 7, the Food Safety Authority officials had raided the distribution centre at Maradu following complaints that stale chocolates and energy products were being sold. A case under IPC Sections 468 (Forgery for purpose of cheating) and 420 (Cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property) were registered against both.
At least 413 containers filled with adulterated edible oil were seized from the unit and one person has been arrested in connection with the crime. Police said the gang used to procure low quality oil from neighbouring states and used to adulterate it with branded edible oils.
The gang cunningly packaged the spurious oil in branded containers so that nobody can make out the difference. The gang used to supply the spurious oil to different grocery wholesalers and retailers in the city.
Along with owner of the unit Rabindra Rout, Police have detained one more persons, in connection with the crime. Acting on a tip off, police conducted surprise raid at the house in Nuasahi. A team of police conducted thorough search of the premises of the house and seized containers, bottles, plastic packets of different branded edible oils and machines used for packaging of oil.
“Samples of the spurious edible oil will be sent for examination. Investigation will be conducted to find out since when the illegal unit was operating and where the products were being supplied to,” said DCP (Cuttack), Akhileswar Singh.
Notably, in December last year police had busted a fake ghee manufacturing unit at Professorpara. After such repeated incidents, police have decided to conduct more raids on such fake units in the city.
Though the facility of registering complaints/grievances about adulteration of food products and inferior quality of food through WhatsApp/text message was introduced by the Tamil Nadu food safety and drug administration department in May last year, the initiative has picked up momentum in the city only recently.
Food adulteration, poor hygiene at roadside eateries and use of synthetic colours and essence in fruit juices/drinks are the most common complaints the city food safety department has been receiving through WhatsApp and SMS texts on its official complaints number.
The designated officer (DO) for Trichy district food safety and drug administration department, Dr Senthilkumar Ramakrishnan, said the general public had raised various complaints and the issues are constantly being addressed by the department. “We are getting complaints such as serving recycled food at restaurants, sale of expired food products and poor quality of packaged drinking water. We have been taking action on such issues swiftly,” he told TOI. “We are also educating manufacturers and food vendors on how to maintain high food quality,” Ramakrishnan said.
When a person sends a complaint, it is received by the food safety department in Chennai. It is forwarded by them to the designated officers of the corresponding districts and the officials are given a period of 24 hours to conduct inquiry and send a report back to the Chennai office. The report is also sent to the complainant.
Many of the complaints are about the poor hygiene of the roadside eateries and about the location of the shops. “We are receiving many complaints regarding the poor hygiene at roadside food shops,” a city-based food safety officer said. He said if the corporation assigns particular spots to set up shops, it would immensely help improve food safety.
On the other hand, traders, manufacturers and eatery/juice stall owners said that they have been consistently working towards maintaining the hygiene of their eateries and the quality of food. But a section of them maintained that some of the rules and regulations were complicated to follow. The general secretary of Tamil Nadu Vanigar Sangangalin Peramaippu, V Govindarajalu said, “Through our association, we regularly discuss about increasing the food quality. But we don’t necessarily agree with all the rules and regulations.”
Surprise crackdown:Police vehicles parked outside the betel nut products manufacturing unit near Sulur in Coimbatore district on Saturday when the premises was raided.
650 kg of gutkha and 700 kg of pan masala confiscated from the premises at Kannampalayam
In an overnight operation, the Coimbatore district (rural) police seized stocks of gutkha and pan masala worth several lakhs of rupees from a betel nut (supari) products manufacturing unit at Kannampalayam near Sulur.
The police seized around 650 kg of gutkha of one brand, 6,000 sachets of which were stored in a carton. Around 700 kg of pan masala was seized from the unit. The police are yet to confirm if the pan masala contained tobacco.
The police said that Amit Jain of New Delhi was allegedly involved in the manufacture of the banned tobacco products at the unit on the pretext of manufacturing betel nut products.
Coimbatore Rural Superintendent of Police Pa. Moorthy said that a case would be registered against Mr. Jain and others under the Cigarette and Other Tobacco Products Act on Saturday. Mr. Jain was not in Coimbatore at the time of the raid. The police said that the unit manager and three employees were detained.
According to the police, the unit located at Nallan Thottam near Kannampalayam was searched based on specific information from the police.
A team comprising senior police officers, personnel from the Prohibition and Excise Wing and the armed reserve, reached the factory around 7 p.m. on Friday. The search and seize operations continued till 11 a.m. on Saturday. Mr. Moorthy oversaw the raid. The unit was sealed after the raid in the presence of revenue officials.
Mr. Jain had reportedly purchased the property, spanning over five acres at Nallan Thottam, in 2010. It was earlier a textile unit.
Manufacturing of betel nut products started in 2011 and was stopped following a ban on gutkha in Tamil Nadu. However, the unit had allegedly resumed manufacturing of tobacco-based products.
No warning label
“The sachets of gutkha seized from the unit did not have a label warning about tobacco contained in them. Samples of the pan masala seized will be sent for clinical examination to confirm the presence of tobacco. We are investigating the difference found in stocks and the stock list,” said a police official.
Sources said that north Indians were employed at the unit and people in the locality were unaware of what was happening at the place.
A senior official from the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) said that the unit was issued licence for the manufacture of non-tobacco-based products using betel nut.
Coimbatore: Rural police have sent a special team to New Delhi to nab the owner of the illegal gutka manufacturing unit at Kannampalayam village near Sulur that was raided on Saturday.
“The team, led by Annur police inspector Venkateshan, is looking for Amit Jain of Pitampura in New Delhi,” police superintendent Pa Moorthy told TOI.
Meanwhile, a police team led by additional superintendent GS Anitha collected samples from the unit and sent them to the regional forensic science office at Race Course. Gutka and raw tobacco materials were also sent to the state forensic science laboratory in Chennai.
“We also recovered many records from the computers at the unit and have collected the details of people who bought gutka from there. We plan to interrogate them,” a police officer said.
Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) had issued licence to the unit to manufacture only sweet betel nut and panmasala. “But the officials did not inspect the unit regularly,” the officer said. Police plan to conduct inquiry with FSSAI officials.
Sulur police have arrested B Raghuram of Muthusamy Nagar at Kannampalayam, S Ajai from Kanpur, D Ramdev and K Shojiram hailing from Rajasthan. Raghuram was the manager at the unit. The migrant labourers were working there for the last few years. They were produced before a judicial magistrate at Puliyakulam on Sundayand remanded in judicial custody. They were later lodged at the Coimbatore Central Prison.
Coimbatore: The officials of the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) will send show cause notice to Amit Jain, the New Delhi-based owner of the illegal gutka manufacturing unit at Kannampalayam village near Sulur that was raided on Saturday.
Preliminary investigation revealed that Amit Jain obtained licence from FSSAI for manufacturing non-tobacco products like pan masala and sweet betel nut. The licence is valid till July 2018. FSSAI officials, who had inspected the unit in January, had failed to find out the illegal manufacturing of gutka there. Police suspect the role of some FSSAI officials in the incident.
The rural police have sought the list of factories that have license for manufacturing pan masala and sweet betel nut in the district. The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) have also been asked to submit a list of the certifications they accorded to companies that manufacture such products.
On Wednesday, FSSAI formed three teams and raided various shops across the district to check for irregularities. “We only accord certifications for manufacturing food products and with a minimum turnover of Rs 12 lakhs per annum. The gutka unit that was raided was run illegally and was violating the norms,” food safety officer Vijayalalitha told TOI.
She has ordered the officials to inspect all pan and beeda shops in the district to weed out any other irregularities, the official said. “We have accorded certificated to two beeda shops and three manufacturing units. Out of the three, the one at Kannampalayam had violated the norms. Two units at Annur were also inspected,” she said.
Vijayalalitha said that 10 days ago also, they had seized nearly 300kg banned gutka from shops on Thomas Street. “We conduct regular raids and on April 26 as well, we seized 48.5kg of gutka. We try to get as much information from them about the suppliers but they do not reveal anything. The packets don’t have manufactures’ details,” she said.
Superintendent of police, Pa Murthy said, “We have sought a list of such units and will inspect them all. Meanwhile, we have sent the samples for testing. We have also sought police custody of the accused to get more information,” he said.
Officials said that around 1,000 stalls are expected to be set up across the city on Bada Mangal on Tuesday. The figure is based on the request letters seeking permission of loudspeakers received by the administration. District food officer TR Rawat said FSDA has circulated norms prescribed in the food safety act among temples to prevent preparation of substandard food in ‘bhandaras’.
Also, administration has coordinated with different temple committees in order to organise things peacefully as it would be the first time when FSDA would take samples from all stalls on Bada Mangal across the city. The sampling would be done during distribution. As per FSDA, the test result of the samples collected on Bada Mangal is expected to be received within eight days after which action would be taken. This year, there would be nine Bada Mangals falling in months of May and June.
Kolkata: The carcass meat scare has made the state health department pull up its socks. The food safety department is all set to issue a notice to all district health officials to keep a vigil on meat being sold or supplied in their respective area.
“Instructions will be issued to all concerned to keep a tab of source and quality of meat sold, supplied or served in all districts to rule out circulation of carcass meat,” said a source in Swasthya Bhawan.
Hospitals too are leaving no stone unturned to ensure that the meat served to its patients is of quality.
In all hospital the kitchens are run on contract by a second party. Even if it is a practice to acquire fresh meat by those running the kitchen, hospital authorities are leaving no stone unturned to check the quality.
“The person who is running the kitchen in our hospital is on the job for 20 years without any bad track record. But this time with carcass meat scare doing the rounds we are double checking again on the quality and the source from where meat is acquired,” said Dr PB Chakraborty, medical superintendent and vice principal at Calcutta National Medical College and Hospital.
In all hospital the kitchens are run on contract by a second party. Even if it is a practice to acquire fresh meat by those running the kitchen, hospital authorities are taking no chances this time.
“No frozen meat used by the kitchen in preparing food for the patients. But given the kind of situation we are keeping a stricter vigil on the kind of meat being served to our patients,” said Dr Suddhadhan Batabyal, principal RG Kar Medical College and Hospital.
The government hospitals in the state serve chicken preparations to patients twice a week. All hospitals have instructed the kitchen operators to keep out of frozen meat.
Delhi’s poultry market based in Ghazipur Mandi is once again under scrutiny.
The state food commissioner had visited the spot after a petition was filed in HC.
There are over 108 licensed slaughter shops in the Capital.
With summer at its peak, Delhi’s largest poultry market-based in Ghazipur Mandi is once again under close scrutiny of the Delhi government and civic agencies.
Last week, the state food commissioner had visited the spot after a petition was filed in the high court about the huge mess being created by the slaughterhouses while butchering live animals and birds.
The other civic bodies that are involved include Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC), Department of Animal Husbandry, Delhi Agricultural Marketing Board, East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC).
The court has directed the Delhi government and other concerned civic authorities to file their response soon.
A senior food safety officer on the condition of anonymity told Mail Today, “We have picked up raw meat and chicken samples from the Murga Mandi slaughter centres. We will test them in our laboratories to check if the non-veg that Delhiites are consuming is safe and hygienic or not. The report of the meat samples usually takes 14 days to come and we will file our reply to the court accordingly,” he said.
Health experts fear the spread of contagious and deadly diseases such as bird flu. There are over 108 licensed slaughter shops in the Capital and officials suspect that other shops are running illegally.
According to the petition, there is a violation of laws laid down for the slaughter, handling and transport of animals and blatant abuse of animal welfare laws at Ghazipur Murga Mandi, leading to concern for public health and environment safety.
The laws that are violated are – Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Regulation of Livestock Markets) Rules 2017 & Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Slaughter House) Rules 2001, framed under the prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960 and the Food Safety & Standards (Licensing & Registration) Regulations 2011, framed under the Food Safety Standard Act, 2006.
The petition mentions that about 2.5 lakh poultry birds are traded and slaughtered every day.
“The trade and slaughter is done in a manner that is savage, sadistic, ghastly and extreme and unnecessary cruelty is inflicted on the poultry birds in the Murga Mandi. No proper waste disposal of treatment process is followed in Ghazipur Murga Mandi. It pollutes neighbouring areas and emits an offensive odour which pervades the entire neighbourhood and attracts pests.”
“Street food is a cause of major illnesses and that is causing a problem all over the world. It is not only (in) India. (In) India it is more so because we are totally dependant on street food,” he said.
“As far as possible they say, avoid street food,” D’Souza told reporters at the State Secretariat, after meeting a group of hoteliers, who had complained to his ministry about proliferation of street food carts in the state.
He said that he had instructed municipal officials to crack down on illegal street food carts in Goa’s urban areas.
SHIMLA: Himachal Pradesh is yet to put in place a system to ensure that the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006, is implemented effectively in the state, according to a report prepared by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG).
The report, prepared for the period from 2014-15 to 2016-17, said inadequate institutional, or regulatory, structure affected the Act’s implementation. It said the state’s health and family welfare department had not conducted any survey to create a database of food business units. The report said the regulation of food-business operators, and monitoring of adherence to standards of food quality and safety, was weak.
In Himachal Pradesh, the Act came into force in August 2011. The commissioner of food safety (principal secretary, health and family welfare) is responsible for its compliance through the joint commissioner of food safety (director, health safety and regulation) at state level and “designated officers” (DOs) at district level. DOs are assisted by food safety officers (FSOs), food analysts, and adjudicating officers in discharge of their duties.
The CAG started carried out an audit of the Act’s implementation in the state from April to May last year, through test-check of records of director of health safety and regulation, Composite Testing Laboratory, Kandaghat, DOs and adjudicating officers in Kangra and Solan districts.
Scrutiny of records in two selected districts showed that the validity of 37 licences issued during 2014-17, of the 240 cases which underwent the audit, had expired between March 2015 and April 2017, and were not renewed by May 2017. Likewise, validity of seven registration certificates (RCs), of 60 audited RCs (issued during 2014-17), expired between July 2016 and May 2017.
Scrutiny of records in test-checked districts showed that equipment such as fridge, cold chain boxes, spot analysis kits, equipment for lifting, storage and transportation of samples for testing against microbiological parameters was not available. In the absence of this, no spot analysis of samples could be conducted, deterioration of food samples owing to temperature, etc., remained a risk, and integrity of food samples lifted could not be ensured. Also, items of perishable nature such as fruits and vegetables were not being lifted, report said.
It said testing and analysis of food samples was being done in the Composite Testing Laboratory (CTL), Kandaghat. Scrutiny of records of CTL, Kandaghat, showed that against 31 sanctioned posts of technical staff, 20 were vacant in April 2017. “The acute shortage of technical staff resulted in delays in analysis of food samples and dispatch of analysis reports to DOs, non-preparation of reports in prescribed format, etc,” it added.
Mall food checked thrice in eight years by AMC
You may have come across several headlines about raids on eateries by Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation officials. But when did you last hear about such a raid in a multiplex? A civic body councillor on Wednesday revealed that the AMC has conducted only three raids in city multiplexes since 2010!
The revelation was made when Congress councillor Shahnawaj Shaikh, from Jamalpur, asked about food sample collection from stalls at multiplexes. “Since 2010, the AMC has not collected samples from multiplexes barring 2011, 2014 and 2016. Total five samples were collected during this time,” said Shaikh. “From 33 multiplexes in city, the AMC has collected only five samples in so many years. Daily, there are so many people visiting these multiplexes and eating there. Many a times, people complain about the quality and quantity of the food served at these places. Why don’t they (AMC) care about people?”
He said the health department was not collecting food samples from multiplexes because of the alleged nexus between the BJP and multiplex owners. “Why are they not taking samples from such places regularly? Why most of the time they are collecting samples from small businesses and giving clean chit to the big ones – by not collecting samples?,” Shaikh pointed out.
The civic body collects samples as per the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006. Explaining the process, AMC Food Inspector Rakesh Gamit said: “We collect samples as per the Act. After collection of the sample, we send them to the laboratory for testing. The results from these lab tests are generally declared in two weeks. Depending on the lab findings, the sample are declared either good for consumption or mis-branded, sub-standard or unfit for consumption. Cases are filed against the business operator of the unit on the basis of the test results.”
He rejected the allegation of bias in the food sample collection process. “There is no bias in collection of the food samples,” he said. “We collect samples from places we receive complaints from and those about which we have doubts. We have collected samples from multiplexes as well. Sample collection depends on the season and what people are eating at large.”
HOW FOOD TESTING IS DONE, IDEALLY
AMC collects samples as per the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006.
AMC food inspectors then send the samples to the laboratory for testing.
Depending on the lab findings, the sample are declared either good for consumption or mis-branded, substandard or unfit for consumption.
Cases are filed against business operators of units that are found to be violating rules.
If a sample is found to be mis-branded or substandard, civic officials file a case before additional collector. For unsafe products, a criminal case is filed in court
The Food Safety Department here has formed a special squad to carry out safety inspection at drinking water bottling units and distribution centres in the district.
An official press release said here on Monday that the squad had examined the bottling units and distribution centres and collected samples of bottled water to ensure safety of the water in view of drinking water scarcity in parts of the district. The squad had also collected 100 samples after examining public wells and water supply centres. The personnel also held checking in bars and toddy shops in association with the Excise Department. The press release said various brands of coconut oil reaching the district from Palakkad, Malappuram and Thrissur were found to have been adulterated. When the department acts against these companies, they change their names and brand names, the release said.
Action was taken after a consumer alerted the FDA that the company is not registered and something was amiss with the water taste
Following an alert consumer’s letter to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) against a water bottle company, the government body has initiated action against the company. The samples from bottling company ‘Mermaid’ were tested and it was found that the water was unsafe to drink and the company was not registered under Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006.
The person who filed the complaint, Anand Pargaonkar, is also an RTI activist. He had purchased a Mermaid water bottle in Satara. After he had a sip he found something amiss with the taste and that there was no registration SSI number on the bottle. He then filed a complaint with the FDA, Mumbai which forwarded the complaint to FDA, Pune. After testing the samples it was established that the water was unsafe to drink and that the company was not registered.
Pargaonkar said, “Often we buy water or food from local vendors or stalls and even if we find anything wrong we let it go. As an alert citizen in democracy, we have the power to complain in case there’s anything wrong with what we consume. This case is an example that true efforts bear fruits. I’m thankful to the FDA for their cooperation. Although this may seem a minute thing to complain about but such fraud companies are playing with our lives.” Pargaonkar had filed a complaint with FDA, Mumbai on 9 March 2018.
FDA Pune inspected Shilpa Beverages private limited in Nanded Taluka, which manufactures bottled water and found that the company is not registered. On the basis of the tests undertaken and lack of registration, FDA, Pune lodged a complaint in the chief judicial office, Pune.
Mobile food laboratory detects hazardous substances in spices
Mobile food testing team from State Public Health Laboratory (SPHL), Kohima and food safety officer (FSO), Dimapur, carried out food analysis on loose spices sold in Super Market area here on Wednesday and reportedly found that the items were dyed with cancer-causing synthetic colours.
According to SPHL assistant chemist I Ayangba, non-permitted colours like Rhodamine B, Metanil Yellow and Sudhan dye, which are carcinogenic, and lead salt were found in turmeric, chilli and coriander powders. Due to their hazardous effects on health, these artificial colorants are not permitted for use, he said.
Warning that consumption of such colours could have adverse health effects, especially on pregnant women, Ayangba said Metanil Yellow causes degenerative changes in the linings of stomach, kidney and liver. It also affects ovaries and testes and could be dangerous for reproductive organs, he added.
The SPHL official further claimed that Rhodamine B, which breaks down red blood cells, causes growth retardation and damages the liver and kidney, while Sudan dye is highly toxic to liver.
Meanwhile, the team also detected kesari dal being sold as food item, which is prohibited under Prevention of Food Adulteration Rules.
Ayangba said consumption of kesari dal, which comes in square shape, causes paralysis and can even lead to liver failure. He said the collected samples will be forwarded to directorate of health & family welfare for necessary action.
The tests were carried out by the team inside a mobile laboratory vehicle “Food Safety on Wheels”, which is fitted with equipments to carry out on-the-spot testing of food samples free of cost.
Funded by Government of India and Food Safety & Standards Authority of India, the Food Safety on Wheels will be travelling across the State to check food samples on the spot.
Food testing in all districts
Department of health & family welfare (H&FW) has directed the food testing team, state public health laboratory to conduct food testing activity on the spot, under central sector scheme “Food Safety on Wheels”- Mobile Food Testing Laboratory, in all the districts in a phase wise manner.
In a directive, principal director & addl. food safety commissioner, H&FW, Dr. Meguosielie Kire, has informed all the responsible authorities to cooperate and assist the food testing team under their jurisdiction for proper implementation of the food testing activities in checking adulterants in food items in the interest of public health.
The action plan would be carried out in coordination with the district administration, police, designated officer (CMOs), food safety officers and food business operators, it stated.
Banned Gutkha sale goes on
Chennai: In a clear sign that tobacco lobbyists are unfazed by sporadic seizures of gutka and pan masala, the railway protection force (RPF) has yet again (second time in two months) seized the banned substance worth Rs 15 lakh from the Delhi-Kanyakumari Thirukkural bi-weekly express. And there is a reason for this brazenness: two months after the railway intelligence was pushed to seize 200 cartons of gutka and pan masala from the train at Madurai railway station – after an investigation by an NGO revealed how they were being illegally transported by the express – an FIR is yet to be filed. On Monday, the seizure was made by an RPF inspector at Dindigul station.Samples of the products seized in February had been sent to the food safety department for tests. “The report clearly states the products are unsafe and prohibited. It was handed over to the railways,” confirmed a senior food safety official. Sources say there has been pressure on RPF from various quarters to release the seized products on the grounds that the Madurai bench of the Madras high court had observed that tobacco is not a food product and hence no proceeding can be initiated against the manufacturers under the Food Safety and Standards Act.A senior RPF officer said that Government Railway Police (GRP) is creating issues in taking control of the consignment and filing a case. “They have quoted some legal advice from a public prosecutor for not taking custody,” the officer said.
A DSP-level officer in the Madurai GRP denied the allegations. “We have not received any report from the RPF regarding the seizure. Even the seizure at Madurai in February, we came to know only from the news,” the officer said. The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), enforcing a Supreme Court order, last year issued a directive banning the manufacture, sale and distribution of gutka and pan masala. The directive was issued to commissioners/officers in-charge of food safety of all states and Union territories in the country. The Food Safety and Standards (Prohibition and Restrictions on sales) Regulations, 2.3.4 prohibits the use of tobacco and nicotine as an ingredient in any food product and also bans the sale of food products where tobacco has been used as ingredient in things like gutka and pan masala.
However, these banned substances continue to be brought into Tamil Nadu by rail and road. In March, food safety commissioner P Amudha wrote to FSSAI stating that railway officials in the state appeared to be unaware of the 2016 Supreme Court order banning the manufacture, sale and distribution of gutka. Taking note of this, FSSAI wrote to Indian Railways on March 14 seeking an action taken report on the seizure in Madurai.
Cyril Alexander, state convener of Tamil Nadu People’s Forum for Tobacco Control, said officials can’t use the local courts’ directives to stop officials from taking action. “Whatever the local courts say, the Supreme Court’s word is final,” he said.
In the meanwhile, Jayaram Venkatesan of Arappor Iyakkam, who exposed the illegal transportation of gutka in Madurai, has sought a CBI investigation. “The DSP of state railways Madurai division is Mannar Mannan who has been directly implicated in the gutka scam in the state. How then can we expect a fair probe?” he asked. Mannan’s name is among those mentioned by former commissioner of police S George, who allegedly handed over a list of those who received kickbacks from gutka companies to allow sale of the products in the state. Health minister C Vijayabaskar’s name was also in the list.
The Food Safety department on Tuesday seized and destroyed 2.5 tonnes of artificially ripened fruits from the wholesale fruits market in Koyambedu. The fruits, including two tonnes of papaya and 500 kg of mangoes, had been ripened using calcium carbide, said sources in the department.
This time since the Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority’s Market Management Committee (MMC) had also been involved in the raid, their officials had closed two shops where these fruits were being sold. “For the Food Safety Department to close down shops is a difficult task. But for the MMC, it is within their ambit since these are construed as illegal activities,” explained R.Kathiravan, designated officer, Tamil Nadu Food Safety Department, Chennai.
The closure of the shops would act as a better deterrent for errant shopkeepers since otherwise it is only a fine amount and loss of a day’s turn over when their goods are seized and destroyed, he added.
Dr. Kathiravan also said that smaller shops were also being watched for any unusual activity. “This year wholesalers have stopped using artificial ripening agents for bananas. We are now concentrating on sapota and papayas since mangoes are yet to arrive in large quantities,” he explained.
The inspection was done early in the morning and the artificially ripened fruits were destroyed in the market’s bio-methanisation plant. Around 15 kgs of calcium carbide, ethylene ripening powder and sprayer were also seized from these shops.
A food safety officer said that only last week an awareness meeting had been conducted for shopkeepers about the ill effects of using calcium carbide to ripen fruits. “Over the years, with the active participation of the MMC most wholesalers have constructed ripening chambers in their shops. This has helped considerably reduce the incidences of using chemicals to ripen fruits,” he added.
Food Safety department officials and DRO, Koyembedu Market complex inspecting at the Fruit market in Chennai on Tuesday.
VADODARA: Food safety officers of Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) checked an edible oil shop in Fatehpuraarea of the city after receiving a complaint that adulterated oil was being sold there. The teams collected samples of the oil and started the process of sealing the stock on Saturday.
VMC officials said a citizen had made a call to a VMC official alleging that an edible oil depot in Ranavas in Fatehpura was selling ‘duplicate’ oil. Officers reached the shop immediately and started checking the stock there
“The officers have found filled edible oil tins of different brands as well as loose palm oil at the shop. Palm oil is usually used to adulterate other edible oils. The stock is likely to be accounted for and sealed late in the night. If adulteration is found in the samples that we have collected, further action will be taken,” said VMC additional health officer Dr Mukesh Vaidya.
People taking beverages from roadside eateries need to exercise extra care.
With summer at its peak forcing people to largely depend on beverages sold at shops and by roadside vendors to remain rehydrated, Food Safety Department has issued an advisory on precautions to be taken by vendors as well as the public to avoid illnesses due to contamination.
Shopkeepers and vendors have been asked to keep the premises clean and control carriers such as houseflies. They have been advised to use fresh fruits, milk and water to prepare cool drinks and juices in hygienic manner. “Before consuming beverages from outside, consumers must ensure that all such items are stored in hygienic conditions in closed containers and without the presence of flies. For packaged drinks, one must always check whether the product is certified by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) which assess the quality of such items. The labelling must also contain the details of the manufacturer, FSSAI number and manufacture and expiry dates. Expired products must be strictly avoided,” said B. Vijayalalithambigai, Designated Officer of FSSAI, Coimbatore.
Consumers have been advised to ensure that clean tumblers and straws are used for drinking beverages from outside. They have also been asked to discourage vendors dipping tumbler into pots and vessels stored with beverages and instead ask them to use a ladle to pour them and avoid contact with bare hands.
Ms. Vijayalalithambigai said that routine inspections are being conducted at roadside eateries.
India’s Food regulator, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (hereinafter referred to as “FSSAI”) has issued a notice on April 11, 2018, wherein it has called for suggestions on the draft Food Safety and Standards (Labelling and Display) Regulations, 2018 (hereinafter referred to as “Draft Regulations”)1. The Regulations seek to prescribe the labelling requirements of pre- packaged foods and display of essential information on premises where food is manufactured, processed, served and stored.
Prohibition on advertisement of HFSS food
An important provision of the Draft Regulations is that food products containing high levels of fat, sugar and salt shall not be advertised to children. The Draft Regulations have defined HFSS food or High Fat, Sugar, Salt to be “processed food product which has high levels of total fat or trans-fat or total sugar or salt2, and states that HFSS food products shall not be advertised to children in any form.
Popular and largely consumed foods like chips, cold drinks, etc., contain high fat, sugar and salt. These items comprise of a huge chunk of advertisement in India, and therefore, many advertising companies and companies selling, or manufacturing such foods will be restrained from advertising these products to children. However, the Draft Regulations do not provide any guidelines or enforcement mechanism to ensure ban on such advertising. Moreover, it is not clear as to how advertisements, being available on public forums like television channels, billboards etc., will be prevented from being specifically advertised to children. The question arises whether to adhere to this provision, companies will have to ban all advertisements of HFSS food.
FSSAI calls out ecom players for direct selling of items without ‘prior consent
India’s food regulator Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has issued a notification for e-commerce players violating regulator’s Direct Selling Guidelines, 2016 by selling health supplements and food items without the prior consent of ‘direct selling entities’
Direct Selling Guidelines, 2016, were issued by the Department of Consumer Affairs. According to the guidelines, any person who sells or offers for sale, including on e-commerce platforms/ marketplace, any product or service of a Direct Selling Entity must have prior written consent from the respective Direct Selling Entity in order to undertake or solicit such sale or offer.
Direct selling is a form of retail which follows a non-store distribution model where the products are sold or marketed by independent distributors or agents of companies called direct sellers. Some examples of such entities are LIC, Tupperware, Amway, Oriflame, etc. As per the FSSAI’s guidelines such entities need to be registered with the government to operate as a DSE and that their product can be sold by marketplaces or agents with their consent only.
Marketplace’s Intermediary Liability
MediaNama previously pointed out that ecommerce companies like Amazon, Flipkart are marketplaces (Intermediary), and are ‘somewhat’ protected by Section 79 of the IT Act, 2008. The legislation proffers safe harbor to Intermediaries, as long as they act on complaints and do not knowingly allow the usage of their platform to break the law. So, legally these marketplaces, aggregators etc seem to be on safe ground. However, as we have repeatedly pointed out, there is a need for better understanding of the responsibility, accountability and liability of platforms, marketplaces and aggregators, when it comes to aggregators or marketplaces or platforms (Uber, WhatsApp, Flipkart etc etc) which are intermediaries. Who is accountable, when things go wrong? And what about the liability of these platforms?
In a notice addressed to ‘CEOs of Flipkart/Amazon/Snapdeal/Shopclues‘, FSSAI has asked the companies to meet these guidelines. However, there is no deadline for the same. The matter was brought to notice of FSSAI by Indian Direct Selling Association (IDSA), it mentions it in the notice, which can be accessed on FSSAI’s website.
The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has announced that Hyderabad-based Vimta Labs has been assigned to conduct this year’s nationwide milk quality surveillance.
The move by the country’s apex food regulator to establish a robust nationwide system to monitor the quality of milk has come at the right time. The Karnataka Food Safety Commissionerate has reported the highest number of cases of adulteration in milk.
While the common adulterants detected in milk are detergents, sugar, salt and urea, these are sold in fake packs bearing the names of major dairy brands, such as Arokya, Thirumala Milk and Adityaa Milk, to con consumers.
FSSAI has stated that it is the best way to ensure optimal utilisation of the Food Safety on Wheels to instill confidence in consumers that food is safe. Also Food Safety on Wheels is a critical component of the food safety ecosystem across the country.
Food and Drug Administration Department(FDA) conducted training for Food Business Operators from the Mid-Day Meal Catering domain and was attended by 31 Self Help Group representatives.
“The objective of the training is the ensure that Food Business Operators are made aware of the provisions of the Food Safety and Standards Act 2006 and are also provided informative tips on hygienic handling of the food, to ensure the availability of Safe and Wholesome food to the consumers,” said FDA Director Jyoti Sardesai.
A Food Safety Supervisors training under the Food Safety Training and Certification (FoStaC) scheme, a flagship program of the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India was conducted by the Directorate of Food and Drugs Administration in collaboration with Vivanta by Taj Panaji and supported by the Confederation of Indian Industries. The training was specifically organised for Food Business Operators from the Mid-Day Meal Catering domain and was attended by 31 Self Help Group representatives. This program for Mid-Day Meal Caterers was inaugurated by Smt Jyoti Sardesai Director FDA and Commissioner Food Safety in the presence of Mr Jaikanth Shroff, General Manager Vivanta by Taj Panaji.
As FSSAI has mandated the requirement of one Food Safety Supervisor per 25 employees trained under the FoStac Scheme, for all the licensed Food Business Operators in the State, this Directorate will continue in organising such programs in association with the various training partners and hence the FBO’s from various sectors are requested to contact the Directorate to get themselves enrolled for this mandatory training. The above requirements has to be complied with within the time span of 2 years.
Earlier in the month of March, a similar program was organised in association with TAJ, for the Mid-Day meal caterers, wherein 30 FBOs were trained and this training held on 17/04/18 was the second training to follow. The training was a blend of classroom session, audio-visuals, group activity Kitchen Visit and was culminated with a written exam. The training was imparted by Quality Manager from Taj Vivanta Dhoroty Pereira and Mr Richard Noronha Designated Officer North Goa of the Food and Drugs Administration.
Presence of coliform bacteria was found to be high in the water samples collected from 11 ice factories operating within the city corporation limits.
As many juice parlours and hotels were found to be using the ice blocks from these plants, District Collector U.V. Jose has recommended action against these units. The water being used by these plants should be decontaminated and sent for laboratory tests. They should be allowed to resume operations only after the Food Safety Department certifies that the water is fit for consumption.
The health section of the city corporation and the district food safety officials had inspected 28 ice factories and collected water samples some time ago. They were sent to the Centre for Water Resources Development and Management (CWRDM) for microbiological analysis.
The corporation Health Officer and the Assistant Commissioner, Food Safety, submitted a report to the district administration incorporating the findings of the report from the CWRDM. The District Collector’s decision is based on this report, which also said that the ice from those plants were not even fit for preserving fish.
Noney, April 16 2018: A one day awareness program on “Licencing & Registration for Food Business Operators” was organised by Food Safety Dept, Noney at Longmai Bazar Board office.
T Brojendro Khaba Meitei, Designated Officer Noney & Tml, while speaking as a resource person, underlined the importance of knowing the amount of chemicals and other harmful elements contained in the food products which are consumed daily.
He stressed on keeping food in close-lid containers, checking expiry date and trademarks approved by food Safety Dept, Govt of India on food products, especially imported items.
The officer urged all to refrain from selling and consuming tobacco items and products which are harmful to health.
The Dept in collaboration with the Bazar board will initiate the work of issuing licence to the shopkeepers of the bazar and those who neglect in getting registered will face consequences, he added.
LUDHIANA: The district health department conducted raids at various premises in the past two days and collected 16 food samples. An ice-cream factory in Bhamian on Chandigarh Road was also raided where artificial colours and flavours were found. The samples of food items included various items like milk, sauce, curd, packaged drinking water, ice cream and so on. After filling the samples, the officials sent those samples for testing.
On Tuesday, the department started with raiding a sweet shop in Jamalpur on Chandigarh Road and collected the samples of ladoo from there. After this, they conducted a raid at an ice-cream factory in Bhamian area on Chandigarh Road. The health officials claimed that no parameters were being followed by the factory owners and no food management plan was adopted by the owners.
Moreover, the factory was being run in an unhygienic condition and filters were not being used while making ice candies. Pest control system was not there in the factory premises. The health officials also found expired artificial colours and flavours from the factory which were destroyed by the officials later on. Samples of vanilla ice-cream, chocolate ice-cream, strawberry ice-cream and choco bar were collected from there.
The food safety officer Yogesh Kumar said, “In the past two days we collected samples from various places and samples will be tested in the lab. We have served the improvement notice to the owners of the factory which were working under unhygienic conditions.”
Substandard ghee, cream seized
Several shops raided in Alandur, Pallavaram, Chromepet
The Food Safety wing of the State Health department on Friday and Saturday seized 350 kg of substandard ghee and cream kept in containers at various shops in and around Tambaram.
Based on information, the officials raided several shops in Alandur, Pallavaram, Chromepet and Tambaram and found several containers of ghee without any name stickers on them. Some containers had stickers with only name of a local manufacturer.
The raids are conducted on a regular basis to prevent sale and distribution of adulterated or spurious food items. If consumers find something suspicious about the quality or quantity of food items supplied by a dealer or distributor, they can call the office, said a Food Safety officer from Pallavaram.
Tuticorin: The demand for packaged drinking water has gone up with the soaring mercury levels. At the same time, this has also raised concern over the quality of water sold by the companies. To empower residents to check the quality of water and certifications obtained by their manufacturer, the district administration has asked people to check for Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) and ISI certifications of the companies online.
Drinking water manufacturers should print the licence number issued by FSSAI and ISI number issued by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS). This is applicable to 20 litre bubble top cans, five litre, two litre, one litre, 500 ml and 300 ml bottles and the 200 ml water sachets. Collector N Venkatesh said that people can check for the certifications online at https://safewater.fssai.gov.in/CleanWater/home by entering the FSSAI or ISI number.
Apart from knowing the validity and truth of details furnished by the companies, people would also be able to have a look at result of water samples tested from those companies for the last six months and one year, obtained from the periodical tests in National Accreditation Board for Laboratories (NABL) accredited laboratories for chemical and microbiological analysis.
Designated officer for food safety, Tuticorin district, J Thanga Vignesh said there are 40 packaged drinking water manufacturers that have their units in the district. “Two of these units are closed for the last few months as they have not obtained the ISI certification,” he said. The officer added that they collect samples from all packaged water sellers once in every six to eight months.
“Apart from this, we also test samples if we receive specific complaints against a particular unit,” he said and added that this year, tests on samples collected from five manufacturers in the district showed they were not fit for consumption. Results showed that the samples from three units were unsafe due to some problem in the filter. The two others were samples were substandard.
He added that these flaws were rectified and verified by food safety officials. However, they are preparing the chargesheet against these companies because they were selling poor quality water to customers. “The companies would have to deal with it legally,” added the officer. Violations in the details disclosed by companies or water quality can be reported to FSSAI through WhatsApp at 9444042322 or over phone at 0461-2340699.
Healthy foods may be colour coded: Food Safety and Standards Authority of India
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.
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
There’s poison in my baby’s food!
The seizure of stale and adulterated children’s food supplements has cast a shadow over the quality of products flooding markets.A case has been registered and a fine of Rs 1 lakh has been imposed on the godown owner
KOCHI:Kochiites have always been obsessed with branded products, and this only gets stronger when it comes to choosing food supplement for children. And, this affinity has always helped the big names thrive in the competitive market.But, the recent incident wherein stale children’s food supplements were seized from a godown at Maradu has cast a shadow over the quality of food products flooding the market.
Stale and expired chocolates, children’s protein powders and health supplements were seized by the food safety officials the other day. This includes Milkos and Mulberry, manufactured by Mulberry food products. The godown was functioning as a distribution hub of over 50 well-known food manufacturing companies, mostly the children’s food.
“There is no doubt that the sale of adultered food supplements happened with the silent consent of the manufactures. Since the dealer is a middleman, the whole operation may have been carried out by the manufactures as they seem to have distributed new labels to cover up the expired products. We are ready to go to any extent to bring these culprits before the law,” said K V Shibu, District Food Safety Officer. “There are certain food supplements that will not perish even after the expiry date. The workers have selected those items and wrapped up it with a new label,” said Shibu.
As per the Food Safety Officer, the department has also taken samples of over 20 products, suspected to not maintaining the quality prescribed by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India. The department has submitted the samples to the Regional Chemical Centre at Kakkanad and the results are awaited.
“At present, we have sealed the godown and suspended the licence of the distributor. A fine of Rs one lakh has been imposed on the distributor. Only after getting the lab report from the Regional Chemical Centre can we take further action,” added the Food Safety Officer.
Mass drive soon
The Food Safety Officer said a drive will be undertaken soon to check food products displayed in supermarkets and other shops.“We will soon launch a mass drive across the district. Samples will be collected from the shops and mall and this will be sent to the regional analytical lab at Kakkanad. More godowns will be inspected in the coming days. We have also constituted a special team by associating with the health wing of the local body,” said Shibu.
Though Express tried to contact the officials of the Mulberry Food Products, they were unavailable for comments.Meanwhile, the police also registered a cheating case against the distribution centre under Sec 420 and 468 of IPC. “We have started collecting the documents regards the registration of the company and the distributors. We will also check the stock registry of the product with the company to find a disparity,” said the police.
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.
Month into special drive, FDA’s case backlog 10% lighter
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.