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

GENERAL

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

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

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

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

FSSAI tightens the noose around eateries without food licence

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

13 food outlets found selling substandard, unhygienic food in Srinagar

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

Profiteers fined Rs 32000 in Ganderbal

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

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

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

FSDA seized two quintals of chemical-laced peas

Agra: A day after a video of chemically coloured peas being sold in the Agra vegetable market went viral, food safety and drug administration (FSDA) officials on Thursday seized two quintals of adulterated peas from Bodla market here. The contaminated peas could cause diseases such as cancer if consumed in large portions, said officials.
The team, led by assistant commissioner of FSDA Vineet Kumar, conducted raids at several street vendor units and found traders mixing vegetables with harmful chemicals.
Kumar said, “During a surprise raid at Bodla market, we found some vendors mixing rotten peas in a chemical solution. Two quintals of the adulterated vegetables were seized. The chemicals were sent to a laboratory for examination. We will book the traders once reports about the adulteration are confirmed.”
“The district FSDA has failed to curb this menace. A notice will be served to the district chief food inspector and other concerned officials seeking explanation of their failure in stopping adulteration of food items,” added Kumar.
In several crackdowns in the past six months in Agra, FSDA officials have found instances such as milk mixed with detergent powder and tomato and chilli sauces having harmful chemicals in them.
During a raid at Belanganj, in October, the team also seized several tonnes of adulterated tea packets in which the manufacturer was found mixing cashew nut husk. The team, under Kumar’s leadership, had also caught local men who were found mixing husk of various kinds in regular spices to increase their content inside packets. In Itmad-ud-daula area, last month, officials had caught men mixing vegetable oil in ghee.
 
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Food Safety Enforcement News – India updates – Nov 12 -2017

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

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

AMC collects Rs 1cr in food penalties

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

Jiribam district police seize tobacco products

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

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

GENERAL

FSSAI launches logo for organic food products

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

AP / TELENGANA

Govt have sanctioned 30 food safety officers: Minister

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

Adulteration provides food for thought in House

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

1,400 food adulteration cases settled in Gujarat

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

Food safety department closes down 10 canteens

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

Unlicensed shops thrive on RG Street

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

Food Safety Enforcement News – India updates – Nov -5-2017

GENERAL

FSSAI launches comprehensive IT platform for uniform regulation of food standards

A decade after India introduced a single nationwide law – the Food Safety and Standards Act – to maintain uniform standards for food items in the country, the authority that implements the law, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has come out with a comprehensive plan to make it work, in letter and spirit.
It has developed a uniform operational manual for its field official, launched an IT platform to do digital inspections and a nationwide network of all food testing labs on a single technology platform, Indian Food Laboratory Network (InFoLNet), in Delhi.
While the single nationwide manual for Food Safety Officers (FSOs) is expected to help them follow uniform practices and procedures across the country, the leverage of digital and smart technologies is meant to bring an end to arbitrariness and adhocism in inspections and sampling. The new digital platform, Food Safety Compliance through Regular Inspections and Sampling (FoSCoRIS), replaces manual inspections with digital inspections. It uses simple mobile devices with dashboards to monitor, on real-time basis, at the district, state and national level. For consistency, standard matrices have been developed for inspection of various kinds of food businesses. FoSCoRIS is to ensure a consistent experience to food businesses across States and UTs, thereby building their confidence in the regulatory environment, an FSSAI statement said.
For credible and efficient food testing for food businesses, a nationwide network of all food testing labs on a single technology platform, Indian Food Laboratory Network (InFoLNet), has also been launched. This would bring in much desired standardisation in food testing, that is ‘one food product, one set of parameters and one parameter one test method’, the agency said. Several measures towards trade facilitation, including a single window clearance fully integrated with Custom Authorities and risk-based inspection, have been adopted. To ensure hassle free imports, a ‘Manual for Food Imports’ has also been developed.
All these tools are part of the Food Regulatory Portal, a full service, business-friendly portal for food businesses that focuses on six key areas viz. food standards; consistent enforcement; hassle free food imports; credible food testing; codified food safety practices; and training and capacity building. “This would prove to be a game changer by addressing food business concerns across the spectrum by ensuring ease of entry; reduced burden of compliance and facilitating trade”, FSSAI says.
To ensure consistency and predictability of business environment, a nationwide uniform law, the Food Safety and Standards Act was enacted in 2006. While this law had envisioned a single reference point for laws on food across the nation, its implementation across the States & UTs has not always been uniform due to legacy issues, leading to business uncertainties. Further, even at the national level, a few specific issues continue to be looked after by different ministries / agencies such as legal metrology, customs, plant and animal quarantine, Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) and AGMARK. The launch of the Food Regulatory Portal is thus a major development, as it creates a robust environment for uniform implementation of the law across States / UTs and coordinated approach across central agencies, leading to a transparent and enabling business environment, FSSAI states.
While FSSAI is the principal regulatory body for food, six other agencies are also involved for specific purposes. To ensure a single point of references for all food related business compliances, the Food Regulatory Portal also has compiled related information and links to other national agencies in the food safety ecosystem such as Legal Metrology, Customs, Plant and Animal Quarantine, Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) and AGMARK. An institutional mechanism for interagency coordination and cooperation and integrated grievance redressal is also on the anvil, the statement said.
 

FSSAI plans ‘ one nation , one food safety law’

Pawan Kumar Agarwal, chief executive officer of Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI). Photo: Pradeep Gaur/Mint

Pawan Kumar Agarwal, chief executive officer of Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI). 

New Delhi: The concept of ‘one-nation, one-tax’ behind the goods and services tax (GST) implemented across the country seems to be influencing other organisations. The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), the country’s apex food regulator, is working on a ‘one-nation, one-food-safety-law’ so that every state-level food authority follows a standard practice for the implementation, compliance and surveillance of food safety regulations, which in turn will ensure smoother operations for food companies.

“The law has always been same for everyone. But there have been consistency issues at state level. Also, we need to standardize food testing laboratories. With ‘one-nation, one-food-safety-law’, we will be able to remove those and make things more transparent,” said Pawan Kumar Agarwal, chief executive officer, FSSAI.

Under the ‘one-nation, one food-safety-law’ regime, state-level food safety officers will have to follow a 10-point code-of-ethics set by FSSAI. “At present, there is no such thing, and food safety officers across states do things the way they think best. This should not be the practice. We need to standardize this,” said Agarwal.

Under the regime, FSSAI wants to erase discrepancies in food safety regulations across states, and standardize surveillance, sampling and inspection. “This is to enable states with good practices,” said Agarwal. Under the new regime, inspection and sampling will be monitored as everything will be “on the cloud” as part of the agenda to increase transparency, he added.

To bring consistency in food testing, FSSAI is introducing guidelines that food testing laboratories will have to abide by. Under the draft norms, laboratories will have to come under the Indian Food Laboratory Network (InFoLNet), a digital solution to connect all food labs in India to a centralised lab management system.

So far, 154 laboratories have listed on InFoLNet. FSSAI has made this compulsory for all FSSAI-notified laboratories. With this, details of all tests and the results will be available on this platform.

“In the past, there have been questions regarding authenticity of tests done by certain laboratories. Besides upgrading the laboratories, InFoLNet will abolish the discrepancies and ensure transparency,” said Agarwal.

The regulator, which owns and operates two laboratories and has approved 82 others in various states, allocated Rs482 crore earlier this year to strengthen the food testing infrastructure, including upgrading and modernizing laboratories. Besides, FSSAI will also set up 62 mobile testing labs. There are currently four mobile food testing labs in Punjab, Gujarat, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.

In 2015, FSSAI questioned safety standards of Swiss packaged food company Nestle India Ltd’s Maggi instant noodles based on reports by one of its testing laboratories in Kolkata, prompting questions about the capacity and state of the laboratory.

Under the new regime, the food regulator also wants to abolish intervention of multiple agencies for things such as import of food products. Going forward, there will be a single standard for every authority.

J & K 

5 food operators fined Rs 55,000 for unsanitary conditions in Srinagar

Srinagar:
Five food business operators were fined Rs 55,000 for selling and processing food items in unsanitary conditions in this summer capital, Srinagar.
An official spokesperson here on Wednesday evening said that the court of Adjudicating Officer (Additional Deputy Commissioner Srinagar) imposed a fine of Rs 55,000 on five Food Business Operators, including three restaurants and a milk vendor, in Srinagar.
Meanwhile, he said the Food Safety wing of Drugs and Food Control organization presented 117 more cases before the competent court for adjudication.
“The Additional Deputy Commissioner Food Safety has warned the Chicken sellers, Bakers, Meat sellers to maintain high standards of hygiene otherwise action under relevant provisions of Food Safety & Standards Act shall be initiated against them,” he added.
He said a market checking team headed by Assistant Controller, Legal Meteorology conducted market checking at main market Bandipora, Sumbal and S K Bala. 
During the checking, he said 25 traders were booked for violating Legal Meteorology laws. “A fine of Rs 9990 was also realized from the erring traders,” he said.
During the checking, he said general public especially shopkeepers were given awareness regarding Consumer Rights and Legal Meteorology.

KARNATAKA

Meat shops raided at HSR Layout

It was based on 25 complaints in Sept.
With a bevy of complaints reaching the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India, Food Safety Commissionerate officials raided more than 10 meat shops in HSR Layout on Wednesday and directed shopkeepers to follow hygiene norms or else face closure.
What happened
  • Over 10 meat shops raided
  • Shopkeepers directed to follow hygiene norms or else face closure
  • Authorities found alleged violations pertaining to storage and culling
The raids were based on 25 complaints filed by animal rights activists in September. The shops had violated food safety norms, and were found to be illegal and unhygienically selling meat, according to the authorities. “We have given them 15 days to respond to the notice, after which they will be closed,” said a local officer of the commissionerate, which found that the meat was exposed to dust and smoke spewed by vehicles.
While the authorities could find alleged violations pertaining to storage and culling, the quality of the meat could not be tested. The reason: it takes ₹5,000 to test just one sample of meat — a budget the commissionerate does not have.
On Thursday, officials hope to raise the issue with the Health Ministry and seek an exemption in rates that would allow for more testing. “Currently, all meat samples have to be sent to our laboratory in Hyderabad. The cost comes up to around ₹5,800 per sample, and it is too expensive to do it for all complaints received,” said Harshavardhan B., Joint Commissioner of Food Safety in Karnataka.
The cost prohibition was not limited to meat. A few months ago, the department was flooded with more than 500 samples of ‘contaminated’ eggs and rice, where plastic pellets were suspected to have been used to dilute the quality. However, the department could only manage to send 12 samples for testing. The lack of testing methods has seen officials resort to the rudimentary taste test.
‘A welcome step’
Varda Mehrotra, director of the National Federation for Animal Protection, said any sort of action from authorities was a welcome step. The BBMP and the Food Safety Commissionerate have taken serious note of the complaints and we hope the lives of animals and human beings alike would become better with increased regulation of meat shops, he said in a press release.
 

NAGALAND

Food Safety and Standard Act 2006 (FSSA)

Civil Rights & Duties awareness campaigner
There is a saying “Health is Wealth” and any carelessness which may cause food poisoning or any problem like this may lead to a very fatal consequences. So, it becomes essential to take necessary food safety measure. ‘Food safety’ means assurance that food is acceptable for human consumption. Food safety management means the adoption of good manufacturing practice, good hygienic practices, hazard analysis and critical control point and such other practices as may be specified by the regulation of food business. We as human being depend on food for our survival and we are to be aware of the food quality and the standard of food that we consume in our day to day life. Earlier food adulteration was the only concern of food safety and standard, however with the arrival of better technology and with the advancement in the standard of living numerous problems and concerns arose regarding food safety and standard in our country. So the Central government for solving all problems relating to food enacted the ‘Food Safety and Standard Act 2006’. For better management of the Act, the Central government formed an authority by the name Food Safety and Standard Authority of India (FSSAI).
The W.H.O in its latest data available, revealed that 3,51,000 people die of food poisoning globally every year and at least 582 million cases of different food-borne diseases are experienced worldwide every year. Food is the basic need of all living beings and we eat food to survive and develop our physical wellbeing. So it is our basic right to a healthy, safe and nutritious food. Population explosion is one of the reasons for the use of such excessive insecticides, pesticides and fertilizers in order to boost up the production to meet the needs of the overwhelming demand for food, this use of chemical is adversely effecting our health. Sometime the availability of fast foods, packed foods and other cheap foods is harmful for our health. Some of the mal-practises commonly found are; using harmful chemicals to enhance flavour in sweets, fruits, juices, etc, using chemical to artificially ripen fruits, using wax on apples to make it look fresh, using mono sodium, ajinomootoo in chows, momos, and other Chinese and Burmese noodles affects our bones, etc, mixing brick powder to chilli powder, adulteration of milk with excessive water, use of detergent or bleaching powder to increase quantity, serving of fast foods in open food stalls such as samosas, jeelibees, pokara, puri, etc in newspapers or magazines which contains black carbon ink, etc. Some of these unhygienic and unsafe practices can lead to serious health issues and problems such as kidney failure, lung cancers, gastric problems, stomach aches and also affect our organs such as the gall bladder, liver, intestines and also cause other ailments related to mental health, abnormal hormonal growth or releases that could change our appetite and may to depression. We came across several cases of serious food poisoning such as; 23 students died in Bihar after eating mid-day meal and dozens more were hospitalized on 16th July 2013, 45 students of Madrasa fell ill due to suspected food poisoning on 16th March 2016, 69 students were hospitalised due to food poisoning at Himachal Pradesh, Shimla on 22nd April 2017.
The Food Safety and Standard Authority of India(FSSAI) was established in order to check the issue of food safety and standard with the aim and objective to lay down science based standards for articles of food, to regulate manufacturing, storage, distribution, sale and import of food to ensure availability of safe and wholesome food for human consumption and for matters connected therewith. Some of the salient features of Food Safety & Standard Act are; to ensure that all food meets consumers expectations in terms of nature, substance and quality, to provide legal powers and specify offences in relation to public health and consumers interest. Section 16 of the Act laid down the functions of Authority such as; to specify standard guidelines for food articles, to specify food labelling standards including claims on health, nutrition, special dietary uses and food category systems, scientific advice and technical support to central and state government, etc. Every state must have a designated officer and some of its responsibilities are; designated officer has the power to issue or cancel license of food business operators, prohibit sale in contravention of this Act, receive report and samples of articles of food from food safety officer and get them analyzed, taking samples of the food intended for sale, he can seize any articles of food which appears to be in contravention of this Act, he can enter and inspect any place where food is manufactured or stored for sale. Some of the offences are; causing food to be injurious, abstracting any constituent, deliberate adlteration, non-conformance in label information, etc. Some of the penalties are; sub-standards food will be fined up to Rs.2 lakhs, misbranded food will be fined up to Ts.3 lakhs, unhygienic preparations of food will be fined up to rs.1 lakh. Under Section 63 of FSSA 2006, if any person or food business operator carrying out a business without license is punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to six months and also with a fine which may extend to five Lakh rupees. A person is also punishable with a fine of 10 lakhs rupees for misleading advertisement, falsely describing quality of food or give false guarantee to the consumers. Slaughterhouse should have proper hygiene and maintenance instruments and to be regularly checked by the medical concern doctor and thereafter it should be given to the slaughter house for human consumption. Under the Consumer Protection Act 1986, the consumers have the right to safety, they are protected against marketing of goods and services which are hazardous to life, and therefore, the goods which are hazardous to health is illegal and punishable.
The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare governs the FS&SAI. FS&SAI governs all food business operators in the country and has entrusted the powers at various levels to other designated authorities. In Nagaland, the Food Safety and Standards Act 2006, rules and regulations 2011 is being implemented in the State from 2012. The Food Safety Officer must be appointed as an independent charge as per the Act and should checked all the Food Business Operators which includes Hotels, restaurants, canteens, tea stall, bakeries, street food vendors etc in all the respective district. With the enforcement of this Act in Nagaland, any person in practice of selling of food products are required to have a license to sell such goods and the license is to be given by the Chief medical Officer. There are times where the FS&SAI has asked the Food Commissioner in the state to inspect and evaluate in the market and had suggested that the state food safety commissioners should prepare their line for action and collect samples of all the packaged products, even those which are not registered with FS&SAI and also told to take action if required. The Chief Medical Officer and designated officers Kohima have informed all hotels, restaurants, provisions, groceries, home based canteens of schools, colleges, office, etc to obtain food safety license/registration from the Chief Medical Officer office, Kohima and in order to avoid penalisation as per the food safety and standards act rules and regulations and newly established food business operators have also been directed to obtain the license/registration.
ODISHA
Odisha forms Steering Committee to implement FSSAI guidelines
The Health & Family Welfare Department in Odisha has decided to form State and District level steering committees to FSSAI (Food Safety and Standards Authority of India) guidelines. The state-level committee will be headed by Chief Secretary. It will have 7 other members, including the Secretaries of Panchayat raj, Urban Development and Health departments. State Food Safety Commissioner will be the convener of the committee. At the district level, Collectors will head the committees. The six-member committees will also have the CDMO of respective districts.
UTTARPRADESH

Another product of Baba Ramdev’s Patanjali found unsafe by food department

Lucknow: The famous Yoga guru Baba Ramdev and his popular brand Patanjali today landed in trouble after one of its product has been found not up to the mark by the officials of Food department in Uttar Pradesh’s Barabanki district.
According to Pediatrician District Hospital Barabanki, Dr S.K Singh says that this product has proved failure in investigation, after which a penalty has been imposed on company and on shopkeeper who was selling this famous product.
Basically, food department in its report mentioned that one of Patanjali’s product has been found below standard and some harmful content has been found in double quantity from its required amount.
The Chief Food Inspector Barabanki said that incident of harmful content in its double quantity proves that Baba Ramdev’s Patanjali each and every product is not safe for consumption and we should not trust it blindly.
Earlier, Patanjali Ayurved Ltd has been slapped with a Rs. 11 lakh fine by a city court for misbranding and misrepresentation of its products. The fine has to be paid within a month.
The case had been ongoing since November 2012. The judge, Lalit Narain Mishra, found that the company was guilty of “releasing misleading advertisements by selling certain products with its labels although they were being manufactured by some other firm.”
Baba Ramdev’s Patanjali product lands in trouble after facing food department’s ban:
The company was charged under Section 52 (misbranding) and Section 53 (misleading advertisement) of the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 as well as Section 23.1 (5) of Food Safety and Standard (Packaging and Labelling Regulations, 2011) Act.
The court also ordered the district food safety department to “take appropriate action if there is no improvement in the products in future.”
The case was filed against the company in November 2012 by District Food Safety Department when some of the products, including eatables like honey, salt, mustard oil, jam and besan (gram flour) failed quality tests. Tests were conducted at Uttarakhand’s only FSSAI-certified drugs and food testing lab located at Rudrapur.
In July, Advertising Standards Council of India or ASCI had pulled up the company for running “misleading” ad campaigns which made light of competitors’ products, which is against the ASCI norms.
Patanjali’s claim that rivals were making “‘Kachi Ghani Mustard Oil’ “adulterated with oil made by solvent extraction process with neurotoxin containing Hexane” was found unsubstantiated by the Consumer Complaints Council.
The company had also failed to prove that other companies sell “expensive juices containing less pulp”. It also failed to prove that “other companies mix 3 to 4 per cent urea and other non-edible things in their cattle feed,” compared to their ‘Patanjali Dugdhamrut’ cattle feed.
 

Food Safety Enforcement News – India updates – Oct 29-2017

GENERAL

MILK ADULTERATION: GOVT ALL SET TO LAUNCH SURVEY

 
To assess the quality of milk and focus on hotspots where adulteration is most deep-rooted, the Government is all set to launch one of the most extensive surveys with the sample size of about 8,000 from across 36 States/UTs covering 717 districts.
At least 13 common adulterants will be tested by the Food Safety and Standard Authority of India (FSSAI). These are adulterants like vegetable oil/fat, detergents/caustic soda, hydrogen peroxide, sugar, glucose, urea, starch, maltodextrin, boric acid, ammonium sulphate, nitrates, cellulose along with pesticides and antibiotic residues covering each and every district of the country.
A senior official from the Authority said that however, sampling would be based on the result of the previous survey, the finding of which would be shared with the successful bidders.
In case the results of analysis of milk samples come out to be non standard but unsafe in a particular area in the previous as well as proposed survey, then more extensive analysis would be carried out in that particular areas to find out root cause of unsafe milk.
“Thus, the proposed milk survey is an extension of the previous milk survey in terms of number of samples, types of tests to be conducted and geographical area to be covered. The proposed survey also includes designing and operation of a framework for continuous monitoring of milk quality in the hotspot areas. This would lead to extensive and intensive analysis of milk,” said the official.
Maximum samples will be picked from Uttar Pradesh( 750), Madhya Pradesh (600), Bihar (450) while 350 each samples from Tamil Nadu, Assam, Telangana, Rajasthan and Karnataka.
In fact, a few months back, the FSSAI had conducted a survey in which it was found that in general milk adulteration was low in southern India, more in north India. A survey with a sample size of about 2,500 was conducted in which some states had reported no adulteration at all.
On June 5, the Madras High Court had observed that adulteration in milk was a serious matter and directed the government to file a status report on the action taken on such complaints.
The direction was given by Chief Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice M Sundar while hearing a PIL seeking a CBI probe into the reports of adulteration in milk by various private producers. 
KERALA
 
Not many passengers comment positively about the food provided in trains. Let alone taste and variety, lack of hygiene in the production, packing and distribution is the major concerns of most of them .
 
The Railways and the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has decided to put an end to this issue forever. They have decided to provide safe food and to appoint a third party agency to ensure its quality and audit food safety. This is the continuation of authority’s move to revise the the food menu and improve the quality of available food on train.
Present state of train food Random people sell food on train regardless of a contract. Passengers do not know the representatives of authorized agencies.
Snacks are kept open and sold on train, but nobody stands against it. Vendors shout out the snack names, which increase the chances of his saliva land on the food items. Only low quality tea, coffee, chicken and vegetable biryanis and meals are served on trains .
Though food is available in some major stations, quality is not assured.  
As noted in the CAG report earlier
Most of the food items served on train a Food distribution units in trains and stations function in unclean surroundings. As the food is not kept covered, rats, cockroaches and other pests ouch the food. Quantity of food is also not properly measured. Railway zones has not prepared any guidelines regarding the making and distribution food.
The Food Safety and Standards Authority expects that the quality of food will be improved, if food safety audit is implemented. The recent issues of food poison in Tejus Express and the previous CAG report led the central government to this decision. About 24 passengers were hospitalized due to the the food poison in Tejus Express. The train was featured with many facilities available in a flight journey.
MAHARASHTRA

FDA teaches 300 Maharashtra temples how to pack prasad better

The workshops were attended by more than 100 temple trustees, personnel, and staff
A senior official said 53 temple trusts and vendors who prepare various kinds of prasad will attend next sessions. 
Prasad packages sent to devotees abroad by city’s sSiddhivinayak temple and over 300 other temples in the state will no longer be rejected because of improper labelling and packaging.
The Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) Maharashtra recently trained temple workers on cooking and labelling standards that confirm to international standards. FDA officials said that earlier, since the packaging, labelling and information on the packages’ content did not meet international guidelines, the consignments would be held up at custom offices abroad, failing to reach devotees.
“The workshops were attended by more than 100 temple trustees, personnel, and staff. We had named the initiative ‘Blissful Hygienic Offering to God’ (BHOG) and it was originally launched by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) in Siddhivinayak Temple,” said Pallavi Darade, FDA commissioner.
Sanjeev Patil, executive officer of Siddhivinayak Temple trust, said, “Our temple was the only one in Asia with FSSAI registration. However, we realized that earlier, there were no norms in place for quality of ingredients, disclosing the contents of prasad on packaging and international food standards about packaging and labelling. Hence, with FSSAI, FDA Maharashtra and other food science organisations we prepared a training module for the temples on how to make and package better.”
A senior official said 53 temple trusts and vendors who prepare various kinds of prasad will attend next sessions. “We largely covered guidelines on handling, cooking and packaging of prasad. International standards also demand disclosure of the process and ingredients on the packaging,” another FDA official added.
One of the temple personnel said that they were following the standard procedure for making prasad. “This session was helpful as we didn’t know some scientific procedure. But we maintain hygiene in making and packaging the prasad,” said the personnel.
FDA officials across Maharashtra have been asked to follow the example of the BHOG initiative.A senior official said, “More training sessions will be planned depending upon the number of temple trusts that come forward in future. Moreover, in October and November, we have planned similar training for restaurant and hotel staff in Mumbai,” said a senior FDA official.
TAMILNADU

334 food samples found poor

 
Food Business Operators submit applications to obtain license in Salem on Thursday. 
Food safety officials register cases against sellers
Of the 859 food samples takes from various establishments in the district till September, 334 food samples were found to be ‘sub-standard’ and cases were registered against the sellers.
District Collector Rohini R. Bhajibhakare on Thursday inaugurated a special camp for food business operators to enable them register with the Tamil Nadu Food Safety and Drug Administration Department and also obtain license. She said that there are 20,353 private food business operators in the district of which only 6,189 operators or 30% of the traders had obtained license. She said that Food Safety and Standards Act make it mandatory for operators to register themselves with the competent authority and operate. She asked all the operators to follow the law or face action.
The Collector said that officials of the department were inspecting establishments in the district and collecting samples to ensure that standard products are sold to the consumers. She said that 106 cases were disposed off and operators were fined to the tune of ₹49.36 lakh.
Hence, she warned operators not to sell sub-standard or unsafe products to the consumers and follow the guidelines as per the act. Mariyappan, District Designated Officer and officials were present.

Food Safety Enforcement News – India updates – Oct 22-2017 – 2

Food Safety Enforcement News – India updates – Oct 22

GENERAL

Railways to partner FSSAI to improve food safety in trains

Third party safety audit on the cards, says CEO of food safety body
NEW DELHI : 
The Railways and the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) will work together to ensure improved safety standards of the food being served in trains. The food regulator said it will also get a third party safety audit done soon.
“Our role will be to partner with the Railways and bring in systemic changes and improvements. Therefore, we will be getting a third party food safety audit done soon. This is not going to be an accounts or a performance audit, but a food safety audit which will help us understand the gaps within their systems in terms food safety,” Pawan Agarwal, CEO, FSSAI, told BusinessLine.
The Railways was in the news recently when an incident in the high-profile Tejas Express was reported wherein 24-26 people were hospitalised after “food poisoning”. The Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), however, denied any food quality issues in its preliminary probe report. Incidentally, CAG in its report, earlier had also termed the food served in trains as “unfit” for human consumption.
In the new catering policy, IRCTC has called for zones of the Indian Railways or IRCTC to ensure good quality and hygienic food to passengers.
However, ensuring quality processes across the supply chain for food served is a huge challenge, given that Railways has over 7,000 stations and moves over 2.2 crore passengers every day.
IRCTC serves about four-five lakh meals a day in about 350 trains where it has pantry cars. It will be modernising its base kitchens at 12 locations — where the proposed meal production is is expected to be 5.7 lakh a day.
Third party audit of mobile units and base kitchen is to be undertaken by zonal railway periodically, by hiring an independent agency in accordance with Catering Policy 2017.
As regards the premium Tejas Express, which runs between Mumbai and Goa, catering services are optional for passengers and are factored in the fare. However, if a passenger asks for catering services at a later stage, an extra ₹50 per cent per service is levied, in addition to the cost of catering charges.
To spruce up its catering quality, IRCTC plans to set up new kitchens and upgrade the existing ones, which will be owned, operated and managed by it, and it shall be fully accountable for all issues pertaining to the base kitchens and quality of food.
All four base kitchens under departmental operation of Zonal Railways (Nagpur, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus, Mumbai Central and Balharshah) and all kitchen units — refreshment rooms at A1 and A category stations, Jan Ahaar, Cell Kitchens shall be handed over to IRCTC on ‘as is where is basis’.
It also plans to introduce station based e-catering, pre-cooked food (‘ready to eat’ meals) , operation of centralised Catering Service Monitoring Cell for prompt redressal of passenger grievances relating to catering.
Huge challenge
However, carrying out a third party safety audit, though desirable, remains a huge challenge with the Railways managing a wide network of catering services spread over 131 base kitchens, 7,957 static catering units, 358 mobile catering units, 164 departmental refreshment rooms, 86 food plazas and 69 fast food units.

BIHAR

Health department raids Jamshedpur sweets shops ahead of Diwali

Seizes suspected adulterated food items
Jamshedpur  : With Diwali a few hours away, the district health department has embarked on a special drive to check the quality of sweets sold at various stalls across the city.
State health department’s food and safety wing on Tuesday conducted raids at four sweet shops and workshop at Sakchi and Jugsalai, keeping in view supplying of adulterated sweet meats during the festival of Diwali.
The shops which were raided at Sakchi include Gokul Sweat Shop on Medicine Line and a `khowa’ wholesale shop on Tank Road. The team of food and safety wing raided at the workshop of Gangaur Sweets and ChhappanBhog in Jugsalai.
Revealing about the raids, Dr GulabLakra, food safety officer who led a two member team said that they had first gone over to the Tin Shed on Tank Road at Sakchi where there were four wholesale Khowa suppliers.
“We have been receiving complaints of food adulteration from theseunits and have collected samples which would be sent to food testinglaboratory at Ranchi today evening,” he said.
Lakra further added: “We had to conduct raid and take samples of Khowa from all these four shops, but as we started taking samples of the khowa and completing at one the shop, the owners of remaining three shops fled, having downed their shutters.”
“At the Gokul Sweat Shop we collected the samples of KajuBarfi, and BesanLadoo. At Jugsalai also we took the samples of KajuBarfi, BesanLadoo and Chhana-based sweets from the workshops of Gangaur Sweets and ChhapanBhog,” said the food safety officer.
The officer added that samples were being collected mainly to checkadulteration and use of non-permitted colours. “Samples will be sentto the laboratory and based on its report action will be taken,” they added.
Use of harmful synthetic colours, including dyes were not permitted.But small manufacturers use the banned items just to give more colourto the sweets so as to make it attractive, officials said.
Most of the sweets manufactured in the district were from theunorganised sector — houses or group of people joining together tomake a fast buck.
Actions against the sweet manufacturer, after lab report would beinitiated as per Food Safety and Standards Act 2006 (revised in 2012

Food safety wing seizes 570kg adulterated ghee, cream

PATNA: The food safety wing of state health department on Tuesday seized 570kg of substandard ghee and cream kept in 38 containers at a Masaurhi dairy, which supplies milk products to many sweetshops in Patna.
“We also found 20kg ‘khoya’ that was not fit for consumption,” said Mukesh Kashyap, who led the three-member team, which raided different sweet shops in Masaurhi, Nadma and Punpun areas of Patna district.
The raids are conducted on the eve of Diwali ever year to check the market for adulterated sweetmeats. The team had also raided one shop each at Ramnagri and Machhuatoli and four in Kadamkuan locality on Monday and three shops near Saguna Mor on Sunday.
The officials found a layer of aluminium, and not silver, foil over many sweets. They said silver foil is good for health, but many traders use aluminium foil as it costs less. “Some traders are also using non-food colours instead of food colours,” added Kashyap.
Dr Himanshu Kumar from Patna Medical College and Hospital’s medicine department, said adulteration can cause serious gastric problems and may also affect kidney and liver. “Consumption of aluminium foil and non-food colours, that are often toxic, may lead to encephalitis and can affect muscles and also cause Alzheimer’s,” he said.
Dr Diwakar Tejaswi said artificial sweeteners and non-approved food colours may also cause rashes and insomnia. “If someone experiences abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting or loose motion, they should consult a doctor,” he said and added that consumption of adulterated food may also lead to insomnia and intestinal disorder. Prolonged consumption may also cause changes in the gene which may lead to cancer.
Doctors, meanwhile, recommend the use of homemade sweets that are not only delicious but nutritious as well.

GOA

FDA confiscates 100kg of sweets at Ponda

Panaji: Continuing with its ongoing drive, the Food and Drugs (FDA) administration on Tuesday raided a premises at St Cruz near ID Hospital, Ponda which was found to be operating under unhygienic conditions. The sweet and snack manufacturing unit was operated by Ramdev Modi.
“He was found operating the unit without any licence,” said FDA director, Salim Veljee. The utensils used for preparing the sweets were rusted, while water was stored in an open area.
“The food business operator was directed to stop the illegal activities immediately, and the premises has been sealed,” he said.
The officials confiscated about 100 kgs of sweets such as kaju burfi and bundi laadoo and mava of 55 kgs which were found stored in rusted tins. All the food items have been confiscated.
The raiding team consisted of senior food safety officer (FSO), Rajiv Korde, FSO Atul Dessai and staff Uday Arsekar and Rama Gaonkar.
MAHARASHTRA

Kamothe sweetmaking unit raided

Navi Mumbai: Ahead of Diwali, a joint raid was conducted by PCMC health department and FDA that sealed a sweet manufacturing unit at Kamothe node and seized around 66kg of sweets (Barfi and Khawa) worth Rs 15,500 for not complying to food safety and standard rules as the manufacturing premises was found to be extremely unhygienic and unhealthy. FDA officials will soon revoke the licence of the unit. The raid was carried out on Monday.
Acting on a tip, the PCMC health department reached the spot and summoned FDA officials for further proceeding which took hours to seize the products and seal the unit. “We found the unit in a shoddy condition. We took samples of the sweets to be sent to laboratory for a test,” said Balaji Shinde, food safety inspector.
The FDA officials slapped a stop-activity notice on the unit called Shreeji Sweets and Nilkanth Bhatti. “We received a few complaints from the locals,” said a PCMC official.