Food Safety Enforcement News – India updates – March 22-2020


Process to register under Food Safety Act is all Greek to vendors

LUDHIANA: Vendors are finding it difficult to get themselves registered under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006.
It is mandatory for all those who are in food business, including owners of canteens and hotels, to obtain a licence under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006. 
Ludhiana, March 21
Vendors are finding it difficult to get themselves registered under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006. The Suvidha Centre, which was to facilitate the vendors, has left them disappointed.
It is mandatory for all those who are in food business, including owners of canteens and hotels, to obtain a licence under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006.
Parkash, a migrant from Bihar and a roadside vendor, who has a tikki rehri at Chaura Bazar, said:
“I went to the office and they gave me a form, but I was unable to fill it. The form is lying with me. I will ask somebody to help me fill in the form and then submit it,” he said.
Roshan, who runs a juice corner near the bus stand, said: “I know getting registered is mandatory, but the government should simplify things for those who are unable to understand the complexities of paper work. I only know how to write my name and operating computer is beyond my ability. Nobody at the window is ready to fill in my form and I did not want to waste money on agents. A help desk should be set up at such centres to facilitate people like us,” he lamented.
District Health Officer Dr Abnash Kumar said the facility to help people fill in forms for getting registered under the Act was yet to start at the Suvidha Centre.
About registration
Petty retailers and hawkers with an annual turnover of Rs 12 lakh should get registered by paying the annual fee of Rs 100. Large scale units involved in dairy, vegetable oil processing, meat processing, food processing and exports whose turnover is above Rs 12 lakh should obtain licences. The registration is renewed every year.

Food Safety Enforcement News – India updates – March -15-2020


Can you get the coronavirus by eating food prepared outside? Here’s what food safety experts say

While some of us would want to stick to our home and not dine at restaurants, it may not be possible for some to give up eating out right now. But, is it safe to dine out in the event of a coronavirus pandemic?
Can you get the coronavirus by eating food prepared outside? Here’s what food safety experts say
  • The COVID-19, which has killed at least 4,923 lives across 116 countries and territories
  • Dining out may not be on the menu for many as the fears of contracting the novel coronavirus continue to grow
  • Yet, not everyone is ready to give up or avoid eating out just yet. But, is it safe to dine out in the event of a pandemic?
New Delhi: For many people, dining out may not be on the menu for now as the fears of contracting the novel coronavirus continue to grow. Perhaps, now that the COVID-19, which has killed at least 4,923 lives across 116 countries and territories, has been officially classified as a global pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO), a lot of people would be hesitant to venture out of their homes.
While some of us would want to stick to our home-cooked meals and not dine at restaurants, it may not be possible for some to give up eating out right now. In fact, not everyone is ready to give up or avoid eating out just yet. But, is it safe to dine out in the event of a pandemic?
Can you get the COVID-19 through food?
Some health experts said that dining out should not be a cause for concern as long as you take precautions and practice good hygiene such as keeping your hands clean with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub, not coming into contact with those who are unwell, etc.
“As things stand today, based on the information we have from the Centers for Disease Control (and Prevention) and information from local and state public health officials, I don’t see any basis for recommendations that people not dine out,” Benjamin Chapman, food safety expert and a professor at North Carolina State University, told the USA Today.
According to the Food Safety Authority of Ireland, experience with SARS and MERS suggests that people are not infected with the virus through food. So, it is unlikely the virus is passed on through food, and there is no evidence yet of this happening with the COVID-19 to date.
Craig Hedberg, a University of Minnesota professor and an expert on food-borne illness, added that there’s no evidence that the illness is transmitted through food.
That said, let us be absolutely clear about one thing – the novel coronavirus is a newly identified virus and scientists are still learning about the nature of this virus, including its transmission. The virus is known to spread via respiratory droplets from coughs and sneezes of an infected person. Also, the SARS-CoV-2 virus has been detected in the stool of certain patients, noted a report in the Harvard Health Publishing.
So, it would be difficult to rule out the possibility of the infection being spread through food by an infected person who has not washed hands thoroughly or followed hygiene guidelines. And if you’re not sure whether it’s safe to dine out at this point of time, you would want to stick to your homemade food. Also, keep yourself updated with the latest information on coronavirus disease from your local or state health authorities. With the virus spreading rapidly across the globe, citizens have been asked to take precautions, including good hygiene and self-quarantining – if you think you may have been exposed to the virus.

4k kg adulterated paneer seized from Bihar buses

RANCHI: The district administration seized around 4,000kg of adulterated paneer along with 15kg of spurious ghee from five buses coming from Bihar in the early hours of Sunday. 
Ranchi’s food safety officer S S Kullu said, “We had inputs from various shopkeepers that adulterated food items were being brought to Ranchi in buses, hence we carried out inspections at Booty More. While checking, we found around 4,000 kg of adulterated paneer from five buses coming from Hajipur, Bakhtiyarpur and Patna.”
Interestingly, those working in the buses had no idea of the people involved in the scam. They said that they were told to unload the packages at certain locations, Kullu said. “We are trying to trace the culprits. We will take action as per the Food Safety & Standards Act and direction from the administration,” Kullu added.
A spike in adulterated food items has been observed during festivals, therefore, the district administration formed a team and carried out inspection at various shops. Under the special drive being carried out from March 4 to 9, the team has visited more than 60 shops in the city and took 16 samples of food items, which have been sent to the state’s food testing laboratory in Namkum.
The sub-divisional magistrate of Ranchi, Lokesh Mishra, said, “We are carrying out special drives at bus stops, sweet shops and railways stations to seize adulterated food items.”


Holi festival: VMC sends food samples for testing

Vadodara: Officials of the food safety department of Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) conducted extensive checking of shops selling food items for Holi festivities and collected samples to be sent for examination to the laboratory.
The areas that food safety checking was carried out include Makarpura, Manjalpur, Chhani, Panigate, Khanderao Market, RC Dutt Road, Chokhandi, Gotri Road, Ellora Park, Hathikhana among many other areas of the city.
Items like dates, ‘dhaani’ or popped jowar, ‘sev’, roasted grams and other items were checked during the drive. In all 44 samples were collected by officials who checked 28 shops. Some shops found to be lacking in hygiene were reprimanded by the officials.

Food dept team attacked by bakery owner

Jhansi: A team of officials of the food department which had gone to collect samples of eatables from a bakery in the city on Sunday afternoon were allegedly attacked by the bakery owner and his employees. The bakery was later sealed and the officials are in process of lodging a case in this connection.
According to reports, a team of officials of the food safety department had gone to collect samples from a bakery but the the owner resisted.
Following heated arguments between the officials and the bakery owner, the latter along with his workers, allegedly attacked one of the officials. The team immediately informed the police following which city magistrate Salil Kumar Patel and CO (city), Sangram Singh arrived with the force. After hearing both the sides, the police took the CCTV footage for the purpose of investigation.
The city magistrate said, “The officials of the food department have sealed the bakery and are in the process of lodging an FIR”.

Stale fish destroyed during raids at Pollachi

Officials of Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) on Sunday inspected fish stalls at Pollachi in Coimbatore district to check the use of preservatives like formalin in fish and also sale of stale fish.
They seized 20 kg of stale fish from four fish stalls that were later destroyed.
K. Tamilselvan, Designated Officer of FSSAI in Coimbatore, said that the raids were held as part of instructions from the Commissioner of Food Safety and Coimbatore District Collector.
He said that one fish stall was found using banned plastic carry bag for packing. Officials slapped a fine of ₹2,000 on the stall owner.
Dr. Tamilselvan added that stern action will be taken against stalls if they were found selling fish laced with preservatives and stale fish. On March 5, FSSAI and Fisheries Department had seized 430 kg of stale fish and 70 kg of fish found with traces of formalin from the wholesale and retail fish markets at Ukkadam in Coimbatore.

Collector instructs hoteliers to closely watch foreign guests

Collector Shilpa Prabhakar Satish on Monday instructed hoteliers to keep a close watch on foreign visitors in the wake of spread of COVID-19 in India.
Chairing a second meeting here to review measures being taken by the Department of Public Health, Tirunelveli Corporation and other allied departments to combat the virus in the district, Ms. Shilpa said the infection spread through sneezing and coughing. Hence, the public were being requested to wash their hands with soap at least 15 times a day.
The hoteliers should keep their premises clean as guests from various parts of the world with different travel history, including visits to countries where COVID–19 infection were reported, might come for stay. Besides cleaning the walls, curtains, furniture, doors, windows, door knobs and water taps, they should spray disinfectants on the premises.
Those who visited China and other countries where the viral infection had been reported should go to the nearest government hospital to get appropriate treatment. Moreover, those who had cough, cold, fever and breathing problems should also get proper medical advice, Ms. Shilpa said.
Deputy Director of Public Health Varadharajan, City Health Officer Sathish Kumar, District Food Safety Designated Officer Jegadish and owners of hotels participated in the meeting.
Since the Collectorate attracted a large crowd on Mondays, as the public from various parts of the district came to submit their petitions, the entire premises was disinfected by sanitary workers.

Food Safety Enforcement News – India updates – March – 08 -2020

Food Safety Enforcement News – India updates – March -01-2020


FSSAI mapping food classifications under FSS Act with those of HS Code

The Food Safety Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is working on mapping the food classification under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006, with that of the HS Code to ensure uniform enforcement activity for the domestic and imported food products.
Rita Teaotia, chairperson of the country’s apex food regulator, said that the mapping would ensure uniform testing protocols for the imported as well as domestic products, thereby creating harmony between the enforcement activity for the two sectors and strengthening of the food safety ecosystem in a holistic manner.
“We are ensuring that nothing slips under our hand without proper checking. So what we are doing is mapping our own classification of the products to the custom codes, which are called the HS Codes. So once there is the common codification, the process of testing and sampling become absolutely standardised for both imported and domestic products,” she said.
Teaotia was speaking to the press here on the occasion of inauguration of the North India Regional Office of the FSSAI in Ghaziabad.
She added, “Under our FSS Act, we have certain classification of the food products, which is part of the existing regulations. Globally, the trade is governed by classification of the products under what is called HS Code, product by product, which is a universal nomenclature and classified by the International Customs Union.”
“So, we are mapping our product classification to HS Codes for the domestic market. It was always there for the imports. This will help in making testing methodology and protocols uniform for both imported and domestic products,” Teaotia said.
She added,” Also, as part of our commitment as WTO (World Trade Organization) members, we need to have an identical regime for domestic products as we have for imported ones.


Food safety sleuths raid general stores in Vijayawada

During the inspection, the officials reportedly found that some traders were selling products with expiry dates and were charging more for purchases. 
VIJAYAWADA: Sleuths of Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) on Wednesday carried out raids at wholesale and general stores in one town here. The raids were conducted on the basis of complaints filed against a few traders for poor quality products.
During the inspection, the officials reportedly found that some traders were selling products with expiry dates and were charging more for purchases. 
Addressing media persons, regional assistant food controller N Purnachandra Rao said one dry fruit trader violated FSSAI rules by indulging in sale of misbranded products and not giving bills to the customers. He also said some other traders were found using artificial colours to enhance the appearance of food grains. 
Rao requested the public to demand bill for every purchase. He said samples collected from the stores will be sent to laboratory for testing.

Food safety dept raids eateries ahead of Attukal Pongala

The raids which started on Thursday will continue till March 10.
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM : The Food Safety Department served closure notice on three eateries during a special drive launched on Thursday in the wake of the Attukal Pongala festival. The Porotta Centre and Zamzam Bakery at Manacaud were served closure notices for serious violations which would risk the health of customers. Closure notice was also served on ‘One Take Away’ at Karamana for offering stale food items for sale. 
The raids which started on Thursday will continue till March 10. A total of 14 squads comprising 54 food safety officers are participating in the drive. Close to 97 shops were raided on Thursday. Of them, improvement notices were served on 47 establishments, a fine has been imposed on 10 establishments for serious lapses. The department has asked the public to raise complaints and suggestions over the toll-free number 1800 425 1125 or 8943346181, 8943346195, 7593862806.

Sampling drive: Notice served to trader in city

Jalandhar, February 26
A sampling and checking drive was carried out at Nadala, Begowal in Kapurthala today. A total of 14 samples of desi ghee (manufactured in another state), mustard oil, flavoured milk, besan, chana dal, Dalia, Biscuit bakery, Rusk, tea leaves 2, rajmah, fruit juice and rice puff etc were seized for analysis. During the course of inspection, a dealer of soft drinks was found storing expired food products along with fresh ones. A notice also served to him in this regard.
All food business operators dealing in sweets were asked to comply with the directions issued by FSSAI. Checking was carried out under Assistant Commissioner, Food and Drug Administration, Kapurthala.
Implementing a new order issued by FSSAI (Food Safety and Standards Authority of India) directing display of ‘Manufacturing’ and ‘Best Before’ date in case of sweets, the Food and Drug Administration also directed implementation of the order.
FSSAI Joint Director (RCD – Regulatory Compliance Division) had issued this order after reported instances of stale/expired sweets being sold to consumers, posing potential health hazards.
An indicative list of shelf life of various types of sweets is given in the Guidance Note on Safety and Quality of Traditional Milk Products which is available on FSSAI website.



City sweet makers to meet FSSAI over ‘best-before’ rule

The recent order from the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), asking all sweet manufacturers to print the manufacturing date of their sweets and “best before” declarations, has put city sweet manufacturers in a fix. They will now be going to meet the FSSAI bosses in Delhi on March 4 and 5 to look for a solution to the problem. It is likely that the state will support the Paschim Banga Mistanna Byabasayee Samiti in this and send a representative to attend the meeting.
Most of the big sweet makers in Kolkata, however, said they understand the intent of the FSSAI and support the move because this will stop “smaller” manufacturers from trying to sell stale sweets, which are often “covered in thick sugar syrup to hide their staleness”. The declaration of manufacturing and best-before dates will definitely put a stop to this, they felt. However, they agreed there were some logistical issues that need to be sorted out as well.
The meeting will be part of Ahara, a national food festival, to which city sweet manufacturers have been invited. “It is known that Bengal sweets are made of chhana, unlike mawa that is used by sweet makers of other provinces. Chhana as a raw material is extremely fragile and decays after 24 hours so we do not sell sweets that are beyond a day old. We are already writing “to be consumed within 24 hours” on our products,” said Dhiman Das, spokesperson for K C Das.
Most bigger brands said some sweets and their manufacturing processes are so delicate that they spoil within hours. In peak summer, rosomalai and rosogolla, if left unrefrigerated, can spoil in eight hours. “We mentally keep tabs on this. Now we will have to declare it. However, writing them on shelves and on boxes are two different ball games and involve additional hassles,” said Subhojit Ghosh of Banchharam. He insisted that because of the short shelf life of Bengal sweets, it is still considered a cottage industry that needs all the support it can get to survive.
Most sweet manufacturers said the inclusion of Bengal sweets within the GST net has already affected the industry because of the huge cost involved in upgrading accounts. But if the FSSAI declaration involves a complicated process, it will further affect business.
“We want the process to be uncomplicated. At the time of manufacture, we keep back-end records of each batch and we know when to stop selling which tray. We don’t mind declaring it, but we are a bit confused about the process,” Ghosh added.
A spokesperson for the 200-year-old brand Nalin Chandra Das echoed the thought. “We have received the circular to give these declarations by June 1. We don’t mind and we agree that customers have a right to know how healthy the sweet is. However, if we are once again channelled into complications, we will suffer,” said proprietor Tapan Kumar Das.

Kolkata’s street food still unhealthy for consumption

The civic body, in association with the WHO, Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) and two other agencies, conducted a survey and research on Kolkata’s street food with an objective to find easy and implementable methods to make street food safe in a sustained manner.
Acomprehensive survey on Kolkata street food, carried out jointly by the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) with World Health Organisation (WHO), and other agencies, revealed that poor disposal of garbage, lack of hygiene by vendors and re-use of oil, are still some of the major issues that continue to make the city’s street food unhealthy for consumption.
The civic body, in association with the WHO, Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) and two other agencies, conducted a survey and research on Kolkata’s street food with an objective to find easy and implementable methods to make street food safe in a sustained manner. The study is based on a total of 42 indicators and covered 10 zones as identified by KMC.
It covered 104 areas in two detailed surveys and 54 areas in the sample survey. Speaking on the results of the study, Mr Atin Ghosh, deputy mayor and member, mayor-in-council, health, said “The survey report has revealed that most of the street food items are largely safe. However, we cannot say it is 100 per cent safe since the minimum standard of food safety is still not maintained by all vendors due to socio-economic problems.
An NGO survey earlier had revealed Kolkata has the safest street food in India. Consumers and street food vendors have become more conscious about food safety than before.” He added, “KMC had begun full scale food safety drives from 2015 and in the following years, we have also take stern action against food vendors who were found violating food safety norms. We have 16 food safety officer teams for all the16 boroughs of KMC who carry out inspection drives from Monday to Saturday and compile a ward wise report.”
Commenting on the study, Dr. Indira Chakraborty, who was involved with the project, pointed out, “We used 42 indicators for the study which included water, vendor hygiene, raw materials and several other factors. A total of 10 critical issues were observed which continues to make Kolkata street food unhealthy. Firstly, garbage removal is still a huge issue and cooking near it is extremely unhygienic.
The vendors need to dispose organic waste properly. Secondly, lack of personal hygiene while cooking, continues to be a major problem since vendors don’t wash their hands. Many have been observed scratching or fixing their hair while cooking. The hand gloves remain unchanged and are reused for days. Thirdly, use of unclean water for cooking is rampant” “Another worrying factor is frequent reuse of cooking oil. Oil should not be reheated and used for cooking but it is apparent among the city’s street food vendors. Our survey covered all parts of Kolkata” said Dr Chakraborty.
Among the overall inferences derived from the study, one is that maximum number of vendors (74-76 per cent) prepare and sell food at the place of sale and hence onthe- spot awareness generation is possible. Most vendors were found more aware about basic issues than they were earlier.
It was learnt that future steps include conducting nationwide pilot assessments and sharing results with city authorities; creation of safe street food zones in identified areas in Kolkata which will include awareness generation, monitoring, provision of simple amenities etc. Conducting water quality monitoring in different food establishments was also recognised as vital.

Food Safety Enforcement News – India updates – Feb -22-2020


FSSAI sets limits for formaldehyde in 63 fish species

PANAJI: The limits of formaldehyde for 63 species of marine and fresh water fish have already been set by the food safety and standards authority of India (FSSAI), New Delhi. 
The food safety and standards (FSS) (Food Products Standards and Food Additives) Regulations, 2011, are being amended to add ‘Limit of Formaldehyde’- the naturally occurring formaldehyde for 63 different species of fish, the FSSAI informed the high court of Bombay at Goa on Thursday.
“The amount of naturally-occurring formaldehyde for 63 species has been laid down under sub-regulation 2.6.2 of FSS Amendment Regulations, 2020,” assistant director of FSSAI Pankaj Gera submitted to the high court.
During the hearing on Thursday, counsel representing FSSAI, Dattaprasad Lawande, told the court that a total of 693 samples of fish have been analysed till date by the Central Institute of Fisheries Technology (CIFT), Kochi to determine the naturally-occurring formaldehyde in fish.
On the request of petitioners that no checks of formalin in fish are being carried out, the high court asked the government to place the reports of random checks before it. Senior counsel J E Coelho Pereira told the division bench that the laboratory to test the presence of formaldehyde in fish at the SGPDA market in Margao, should in fact be set up at the wholesale market. 
Under its Rs 54 lakh collaborative research project ‘Natural level of formaldehyde in freshly harvested fin fish and shellfish’ initiated on July 3 last year, the FSSAI is expected to set formaldehyde standards for 72 major commercial species of fish which contribute to more than 90 percent of the fish production and consumption in India.
The central authority is expected to complete the exercise by August this year after analysing more than 1,000 samples of fish.

Marico to promote safe food habits in Gujarat

Through this program, Marico is working with 3 Eat Right Campuses, 5 Clean Street Food Hubs and 50 schools in Gujarat wherein it has introduced the Safe and Nutritious Food at School initiative, the company said in a statement.
New Delhi: FMCG company Marico said that it will extend its association with the Eat Right initiative started by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) to foster hygienic and safe food habits in the state of Gujarat. Through this program, Marico is working with 3 Eat Right Campuses, 5 Clean Street Food Hubs and 50 schools in Gujarat wherein it has introduced the Safe and Nutritious Food at School initiative, the company said in a statement.
The company has been a supporter of the program since its launch and in the last one year it has reached out to 200 schools benefitting more than 80,000 children across India, it claims. The program includes magic box tool kits to help students detect adulteration and canteen certification in 50 schools, reaching out to over 50,000 children across Gujarat.
“Marico has always been committed to making a difference in the community and support healthy living. In line with this, we are delighted to partner FSSAI to aid their Eat Right program. Having made a positive impact in the last 3 years, we are now expanding our initiatives in Gujarat through Eat Right Campuses, Clean Street Food Hubs and Safe and Nutritious Food at School programs, with an aim to promote healthy, safe and hygienic food habits,” said Dr. Sudhakar Mhaskar, CTO-Research, and Development at Marico.
As a part of its Eat Right Campus program, in accordance to FSSAI’s mandate, Marico has adopted the five star-rating mechanism which has a set of well-defined benchmarks on food safety and hygiene, food waste management, healthy diets, promotion of local and seasonal food and awareness building on healthy eating across campuses such as IIM Ahmedabad, NIRMA University in Gujarat, among others, the company said. Additionally, Marico will also promote food safety and nutrition through Health & Wellness Coordinators and Health Teams on campuses.
“I congratulate Marico Limited for initiating and supporting Eat Right Program at Gujarat, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, and Chandigarh. I appreciate the efforts taken by respective FDAs as well as auditing and training agencies. Food Safety is a shared responsibility and Marico has been our partner in the Eat Right program since its inception. My best wishes for the future programs,” said Pawan Kumar Agarwal, CEO, FSSAI.
With the support of local FDA and FSSAI, Marico aims to work with 100 schools, 10 Eat Right Campuses, and 11 Street Food Hubs and reach over 4,00,000 people across Gujarat, Chandigarh, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu in 2020, the company said.

“Monitoring food safety: Why BBMP, not Central authorities, should be in charge”

How often have we thought about how safe our food is or how sustainable our food practices are? What regulations exist to make our food secure? Who is enforcing these regulations, and how efficiently?
Everyday food is often laced with pesticide residues, as shown by the crippling attack of arthritis in over 300 people in Shimoga and Chikmagalur districts. In another instance, excessive levels of poisonous fungi were found in flour sold in parts of Karnataka. The fungi could cause a range of disorders – from jaundice to gastrointestinal bleeding.
Besides, India already faces a triple burden of malnutrition due to inadequate calorie intake among a large section of the population, obesity among another section, and pervasive micronutrient deficiencies. Fluctuations in food prices change the spending pattern and consumption of the poor, who are forced to buy poorer quality food or to settle for a diminished diet, continuing the cycle of undernutrition.
A comprehensive regulatory framework is urgently needed, to prevent exploitation of both producers and consumers, especially in cities where citizens are totally reliant on market sources. This must be in tandem with efforts to diversify and increase food production.
Regulations and enforcement are centralised
Currently, regulations on food are prescribed by the Food Safety and Standards (FSS) Act, 2006. And these are implemented and enforced by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), a central body under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
All food labs across India have been brought under the Indian Food Laboratory Network (InFoLNet), a centralised digital management system. Besides, the centre is implementing a ‘one-nation, one-food-safety-law’, which prescribes common standards for implementation, compliance and enforcement of regulations.
But this centralised approach cannot provide continuous monitoring of food. Nor can it accommodate local techniques in food production or fully involve various stakeholders.
Given our country’s diversity in agriculture production and food habits, food regulations should be decentralised, and local bodies should be included in the monitoring of producers and consumers. This would help strengthen community networks and institutions too.
No incentive to grow local crop varieties
Food habits are influenced by factors like geographical location, socioeconomic status and religious views. Farmers tend to grow crops that form the main diet of a particular region. But crops before harvest are also included as ‘food’ under the FSS Act, and hence farmers come under the purview of the central regulations.
These regulations do not consider productivity and land quality, the type of soil or other factors essential for the growth of a particular crop across various regions. If the regulations on a specific crop (especially if it’s grown in fewer regions) are more technical and call for stricter compliance, farmers would default to crops that are easier to grow and transport as per regulations.
Centralised regulations promote production of crops that are easier to grow and transport.
That is, the centralised, uniform set of standards and regulations gives no incentive to farmers to grow local crop varieties. This has led to increasing homogenisation of crop production.
How can local regulations help?
Local bodies like panchayats are traditionally assigned functions related to ‘neighbourhood’ public goods like sanitation and water supply. Food, being an immediate need sourced mainly from local, informal vendors, should hence come under the head of ‘neighbourhood’ public good, and should be regulated and monitored with the help of local bodies.
Local regulations and implementation can also lead to increased interaction between stakeholders like farmers, traders and consumers. As a result, regulations can be tailored for the diverse socio-economic characteristics of municipalities.
It can also allow pooling of resources including information, and encourage the innovation and spread of more artisanal production techniques, which are currently restricted by the centralised regulations.
Is this doable for BBMP?
Take Bengaluru. Section 247(1) of the Karnataka Municipalities Act, 1964, authorises a Municipal Commissioner, Chief Officer or any person authorised by the Council to inspect markets and other places used for the storage and sale of goods. The section also gives the authority powers to seize goods that are harmful or adulterated.
Additionally, BBMP’s functions include orderly development of the city with respect to health, hygiene, licensing, trade and quality of life. Since food is a fundamental and immediate aspect of life, its regulation and monitoring would fall within BBMP’s core functions.
Involving local bodies like BBMP would:
Make the process of approving products easier
Allow for more frequent checks and monitoring
Allow negotiation and mediation between various stakeholders as per local customs
BBMP should monitor raw food and vendors too
Urban local bodies can also widen the scope of their monitoring, from restaurants to raw foods and vendors. BBMP already conducts raids on restaurants and resto-pubs for unhygienic food, and has decided to conduct such raids at least twice a week. Expanding upon these functions, BBMP could examine raw produce before it makes its way to consumers’ houses.
For example, in fish markets in Bengaluru, formalin may be used to increase the shelf life of stock. FSSAI conducts checks only twice a month, but new stocks of fish enter markets every day and are being sold without adequate checking.
HAL fish market. Checks on fish quality need to be more frequent.
If checks can be done at least once a week, it would be more effective for the FSSAI to work alongside the BBMP. Currently, BBMP can only give or cancel licenses once FSSAI finds formalin. But if BBMP is allowed to conduct its own checks as well, the monitoring system would be more efficient. FSSAI could also then improve its food safety knowledge through increased access to data collected by BBMP.
Besides, BBMP would be better-equipped than FSSAI to conduct regular checks on the Public Distribution System (PDS). Thirty seven per cent of poor households obtain food from the PDS, where adulteration abounds. Examples are the adulteration of spices sold in an open, powdered-form, where the adulterants may even be carcinogenic; or the adulteration of milk, leading to undernutrition.
Restrictions in reporting unsafe food
Currently, the onus is on ill-informed consumers to report any infraction by vendors, to the Food Safety Department. And this is to be done through an online portal. This makes the system reliant on the information of a few individuals with the knowledge and resources to report violations.
To better involve consumers in food regulation, targeted programmes for public participation and consumer education should be initiated, as was done in the US by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1985. Under this programme, information was given on nutrition labelling, on food safety in the home, on the administrative procedures of the FDA, and so on.
Environmental concerns
The current regulations also show a poor understanding of the environment. Centralised systems increase the travel distance from the field to the marketplace. This is because the nearest FSSAI centre for food testing would be farther away than the nearest local regulator, especially in rural areas. This results in the planting of only those crops that can be easily transported and stored for longer periods of time.
Decentralisation essential for sustainable, efficient food system
Given these, FSSAI’s functions should be restricted to prescribing a structure, coordinating, and facilitating work, while allowing state authorities to set regulations that are specialised to their regions. Local bodies like BBMP can strongly enforce these regulations and can use their judgment to declare whether a food product is safe.
A centralised system is also incompatible with the Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) system which is supposed to prevent exploitation of farmers by their creditors. APMC Acts of different states have significant differences in commodity coverage and in the extent of powers of agricultural marketing boards. Differentiated and localised regulations would ensure there are no discrepancies in terms of commodities covered by the APMC Act of that particular state.
Furthermore, APMC Acts allow state governments to involve local governments in the process of regulation. The Karnataka Agricultural Product Marketing (Regulation and Development) [APM] Rules, 1968, under Section 92(1), empowers panchayats to check for licenses of sellers, to supervise sale, delivery, and other matters, thereby allowing a certain level of decentralisation. Section 91-A also looks at contract farming – ensuring through specific, localised rules – that farmers are not exploited.
To conclude, for a food regulation system to be efficient and environmentally sustainable, the regulations should be decentralised. Such regulations will also be region-specific and more accessible to all stakeholders.

Noida food safety officers to check milk products, snacks ahead of Holi

Ahead of Holi, the Gautam Budh Nagar food and safety department has made three teams to inspect snacks and milk products in the district. From February 24, officials will start focusing on shops and stores selling milk products and snacks.
“We have made three teams which will focus on snacks and milk products being sold at various sweet shops and food outlets. We have been receiving a lot of complaints regarding the quality of paneer being used by restaurants and food outlets in the district. Ahead of Holi, we will focus on the quality of milk products to ensure the safety of consumers,” Sanjay Sharma, food safety officer, Gautam Budh Nagar, said. “The temperature has started increasing following which the chances of milk products getting spoiled increases.”
“Each team that will conduct inspections will have three food safety officers (FSO),” Sharma added.
Between April 2019 and January 2020, the food department officials collected and tested over 440 samples. The results of around 380 samples have come, out of which 156 samples did not pass the quality tests. According to the officials, most of the failed 156 samples are milk products.
Officials can file a case against the persons from whose outlets the sub-standard samples were collected in the additional chief judicial magistrate’s court after taking sanction from the commissioner of the state food safety department in Lucknow. The defaulters can be imposed a penalty and even imprisoned from one to six years by the ACJM court.
For the last 20 days, officials have been focusing on canteens and restaurants in the district and have conducted around 150 inspections until now. From February 24 to March 10, officials will be inspecting sweet shops and restaurants which are visited by many people during festivals.
“In the coming three weeks, we will mostly be checking sweets and snacks in the district. We have collected several samples in the last 20 days and found many sub-standard food milk products,” Sharma said.
On January 1, the state government had ordered that every FSO in the district needs to conduct at least 40 inspections a month. There are nine FSOs in the district and as per the new orders, they will need to conduct at least 360 total inspections in a month.
The order has also said that all the details of every inspection and the suggestions made for improvement to owners of food outlets should be documented in a report. The detailed report should be submitted to the senior officials concerned within three working days.
In January, officials had conducted more than 349 inspections and served 28 notices to various restaurants, canteens, manufacturing units among others.

Canteen operators in schools to undergo food safety training

Ambala, February 19
In order to ensure food safety standards in schools and colleges, the Food and Drug Administration has asked institutes to ensure that canteen operators get the food safety training through the FSSAI authorised trainers by March end.
Selling food items without food safety and training certificate may attract a penalty ranging from Rs 2 lakh to Rs 5 lakh.
As per the FSSAI, it is mandatory for food business operators and people engaged in preparing food items to get the training, as per the Food Safety and Standard Act -2006 and Food Safety and Standard Rules-2011 from the FSSAI authorised training partners.
Subhash Chander, Food Safety Officer, Ambala, said, “People who have been running restaurants, hotels, dhabas and even street vendors are being provided food safety and training certification. Schools and colleges have also been asked to get the training of their canteen operators done before March end. Besides private schools, the Education Department has been asked to ensure training of midday meal workers as well.”
Deputy District Education Officer Sudhir Kalra said, “Midday meal workers are provided training by the department to maintain hygiene while preparing food. We also keep taking the feedback from children about quality of food. If the department wants to provide special training then we will organise training sessions and call the cooks in batches.”
Joint Director Secondary Education Department Satinder Siwatch has expressed concern over the quality of food being served to students in schools.
Siwatch said, “The students are being provided junk food in schools. They should be served nutritious food.”
Kulbhushan Sharma, president, National Independent Schools Alliance, said, “We want to provide healthy food to students and the Central Government is preparing a policy in this regard. We had a meeting with the FSSAI in this regard.”

Digital push to pull up illegal hawkers in Jamshedpur

Drive to ensure only licensed vendors operate, and to keep check on food quality
Street vendors in Sakchi, Jamshedpur, on Thursday.
The city civic body will digitise licensed street vendor’s records to end the perennial problem of traffic congestion and to ensure quality of food dished out in commercial hubs.
More than 4,000 licensed street vendors in commercial hubs of the city will have smart chip cards containing the biometric data and all details of the licence holder including name, age, address, contact number, licence number and photograph.
Hawkers selling food will need to have the food safety licence from the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), which is issued by district civil surgeon.
“We would be issuing tender to a private agency for making the smart chip card for the vendors soon based on the survey record,” said Vishal Kumar, city mission manager, Jamshedpur Notified Area Committee (JNAC). “It will help us in knowing the locations where these vendors put up their stalls. The private agency will put in the data. We will also ask vendors to enter their details at our office in the next few weeks. We hope to have the smart chip cards ready by April and implement it from then.”
He said the move will help enforcement squads take action against illegal vendors.
“Our enforcement squad will have the QR code scanner machine and during special drive against illegal vendors we will scan the smart chip cards to get entire details,” Kumar said. “If the vendors are found putting their stalls in a location other than the one in which they are allotted we will confiscate their goods and levy fines. We hope that after regularisation of vendors the problem of squatting on roads leading to traffic congestion would be curbed to a great extent.”
Now, authorised vendors have hard (paper) copies of their authorisation and it is often difficult for the enforcement squad to verify the details because the vendors make other people man the stalls. “It (digitisation) would make our task easier to know if they have the mandatory FSSAI license which is renewed annually by the district health department and is aimed at curbing sale of adulterated and poor quality food,” said the JNAC city mission manager.
There are dedicated vending zones in Golmuri, Sidhgora, Kadma and Bistupur but vendors often prefer to squat by roads to attract customers.

Food Safety Enforcement News – India updates – Feb 16-2020

Food Safety Enforcement News : India updates – Feb -09-2020



Crackdown on roadside eateries

Three roadside eateries were found to be operating without licences during an inspection carried out by the Food Safety Department on Thursday.
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Three roadside eateries were found to be operating without licences during an inspection carried out by the Food Safety Department on Thursday. Another food joint that was located near Pattom Junction was found to be using a non-permissible colour in a non-vegetarian dish. “Thirteen establishments including five mobile food stalls were inspected. Athazam, Irani Hotel, Keerthi (Sasthamangalam), food stalls in Manaveeyam Veedhi and near the Secretariat were among the 13 food joints inspected by our night squad. The food stalls found to be operating without a licence have been issued rectification notices,” said Sangeeth S, food safety officer. 
However, according to food safety authorities, the number of irregularities found in the food sold by roadside eateries are on the decline. Awareness drives and the raids which were carried out by the Food Safety Department two months ago were the two factors that helped improve the safety standards of roadside eateries. “A majority of the street food outlets have shifted to stainless steel and provide tissues and water dispensers for drinking and washing purposes. The use of synthetic food colours has also decreased,” said Sangeeth. Despite facing a shortage of staff, the Food Safety Department is planning to conduct at least one raid every month to check food safety violations in the city. 
The authorities had also conducted raids on major fish markets located in the district over the last few days. “Ten kilograms of stale fish were seized from a vendor at the Kesavadasapuram fish market on Tuesday. A preliminary test is needed to find out if there are any anomalies in the 29 samples that we had collected from the markets,” said a food safety official. 
To create awareness on food safety, training for 50 hotel staff will be given by the food safety authorities as part of the Food Safety Training and Certification Programme (FoSTaC) of the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) on February 28. “We are also planning to organise training regarding food safety for those at roadside food stalls soon. They will be given a food safety certificate after completing the training,” said Alex K Issac, assistant food safety commissioner. 
Despite facing a shortage of staff, the Food Safety Department is planning to conduct at least one raid every month to check violations

Stale food seized from hospital canteens, notices issued

The raid was conducted in the wake of coronavirus cases reported in the state
Food safety officers inspecting the kitchen of SAT Hospital canteen inside the Government Medical College during the raid conducted in Hospital canteens of the city on Monday
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Stale cream buns and banana fritters were seized from the SAT Hospital canteen, located inside the Government Medical College during a food safety raid on Monday. The canteen which also sells aerated drinks was fined and issued a rectification notice by the Commissionerate of Food Safety for selling old food to the public.
“Rectification notices were also issued by the authority to the Regional Cancer Centre and the main canteen located inside the Government Medical College Hospital and cafes at GG Hospital, Cosmopolitan Hospital, General Hospital and SUT Hospital,” said S Sangeeth, food safety officer, Vattiyoorkavu circle.
“Improper storage of food inside the freezer and water logging in the kitchen were the major anomalies found during the inspection. One canteen was found to be making cutlets in an unhygienic condition,” said Sangeeth.
If the eight hospital canteens fail to rectify the anomalies within two to three days, a re-inspection along with fine will be imposed on the offenders. 
According to the food safety officials, the raid was conducted in the wake of coronavirus cases reported in the state. “It was necessary to carry out inspections as the virus is partially food borne. We are also planning to conduct a similar raid on other hospitals of the city by the end of this month,” said Sangeeth.
Food safety officers, Anilkumar N (Nemom circle) and Shini V S (Parassala circle) were also part of the inspection.
“Quality of drinking water, use of synthetic food colours, food additives, reusing of cooking oil, medically fit food handlers and safe and hygienic storage conditions were a few parametres on which the inspection was conducted,” said Alex K Issac, assistant food safety commissioner. The commissionerate is also planning to conduct further raids in markets within the city limits soon.


Packaged food items banned

Imphal, February 06 2020: The Directorate of Health Services has banned import of packaged food items made in China, Myanmar and other South East Asian countries which does not comply with the Food Safety and Standards (Import) Regulations, 2017 .
A notice issued by Health Director Dr K Rajo also asked all the people to avoid consumption of packaged food items which are made in China, Myanmar and other South East Asian countries which violate the Food Safety and Standards (Import) Regulations, 2017 .
It also directed all the designated officers to inspect, seize such packaged food items and keep strict vigilance against them.

Manipur raises nearly Rs 7 lakh as penalty for violation of food safety standards

Manipur collected a revenue of Rs 6,89,000 as penalty for violation of food safety standards in as many as 12 cases in the financial year 2018-19.
Manipur has the highest amount raised in the form of penalty for violation of food safety standards in the Northeast. This was reflected in the state-wise report of Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) on annual public laboratory testing reports 2018-19.
However, the report released through the Press Information Bureau (PIB), revealed that no one was convicted in the 12 cases in which penalties were imposed. It is learnt that 18 cases were taken up by the state government of which most of the cases were civil.
The report further said that the FSSAI received altogether 388 samples from Manipur for analysis of which 56 were found to be non-conforming, 28 found with labelling defects and 28 more substandard ones.
Of all the North Eastern states, Mizoram, Sikkim and Tripura could not raise any revenues as there was no case in which penalty was imposed as per the report.
Meghalaya raised second highest amount with Rs 1,93,700 in three cases including one criminal case.
While Assam moved seven criminal cases, penalties were imposed on five cases only raising Rs 77,000 only including 14 civil cases. Arunachal Pradesh also moved one criminal and seven civil cases and raised Rs 2,100 .
In terms of non-conforming samples, Manipur has the highest number followed by Nagaland with 202, added the report.
The PIB report stated that the implementation and enforcement of Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 primarily rests with the state/UT governments. FSSAI has been impressing upon the states/UT the need for strengthening regulatory infrastructure at state/UT level, including the need for addressing shortage of regulatory staff and placement of full-time officers, improvement in sampling and testing facilities among others, through quarterly meetings of central advisory committee, regular video conference with officials of food safety departments of concerned states/UT, it said.
Moreover, it pointed out that the FSSAI has released a sum of Rs 269.69 crore for the upgradation of 38 state food testing labs in 29 states/UTs by way of improvement of physical infrastructure, purchase of high end equipment and setting up of microbiological laboratories.
In addition, 54 mobile food testing laboratories, called Food Safety on Wheel, have also been delivered to 32 states/UTs, it added.

Food safety drive conducted

Feb 4 (DIPR): Food safety authority of Tamenglong with district police conducted food safety drive at the Tamenglong DHQs today.
The drive led by Th Sunilkumar Singh, Designated Officer, visited hotels, food stalls, shops and inspected the food items. Many banned tobacco products and expiry food items/products were also seized during the drive. Food items from the grocery shops found without manufactured dates and batch no, expired items and products not certified by fssai were confiscated and destroyed.
The team also advised meat vendors to maintain hygiene and store the meat covered in glass cases.
All workers engaged in hotels and restaurants should cover their mouths with masks, wear hand gloves and aprons when preparing and serving food, he advised the food business operators. He also advised people to make sure all packaged products they buy bear the trade mark ‘FSSAI’ (Food Safety and Standards Authority of India).
All shops and food business operators must obtain license from the office of the Food Safety Authority Tamenglong, situated at CMO’s Office, said Th Sunilkumar.

Restaurant fined for serving substandard food

Adjudicating officer cum District Magistrate Bokaro slapped a fine of Rs one lakh under the Food Safety and Standards Act, to a multicuisine restaurant – ‘Mansarovar’ at City Center, Sector-04 in Bokaro Steel City.
Mansarovar Restaurant has been fined Rs 1 lakh for being found guilty of serving substandard quality food to customers, informed R K Bharti DPRO Bokaro.
On 14 October 2018, during the search conducted by Dr. Anil Kumar, Food Safety Officer, Bokaro, under the Food Safety Standards Act – 2006, necessary samples of food items were collected at Mansarovar multi-cuisine restaurant, Sector-04 in City Center. After analysis, the analyst found that the quality of food samples are substandard and not suitable to eat, informed DPRO. 
“The owner of the restaurant was consistently found absent in the court during consecutive hearings even after being given the last chance during the hearing of the ongoing chance in such a serious case. Following which, the said restaurant has been fined Rs one lakh,” he added.
According to the instructions the fine amount has to be deposited through a Demand Draft in the favour of the Deputy Commissioner-cum-District Magistrate, Bokaro within 15 days from the date of issue of the order. DC also directed to the
Sub-Divisional Officer, Chas to take necessary action in order of cancelling the license of the restaurant, informed DPRO.

Food Safety Dept asked to ensure jaggery’s quality production

Punjab Health and Family Welfare Minister Balbir Singh Sidhu, after reviewing the status of quality of gur (jaggery) production in the ghulaaries, on Wednesday directed the state Food Safety Department to ensure jaggery’s quality production in the State.
It was observed that few of the units, especially run by migrant labourers, are indulging in the unscrupulous practice of using unapproved chemicals for making gur, said the Minister.
The State’s Food and Drug Administration commissioner Kahan Singh Pannu informed the Minister that there are 617 ghulaaries in Punjab, which are engaged in processing of sugarcane to make gur and jaggery. These are small scale units normally functioning along the major roads, he said.
Pannu said all the unit owners have been provided one day training regarding good practices of making jaggery by Punjab Agriculture University (PAU), Ludhiana. It was also informed that a large number of ghulaaries in Punjab are producing good quality gur or jaggery which is even exported to other countries.
Sidhu asked the FDA Commissioner to conduct a thorough sampling of jaggery producing units.
He further asked the Commissioner to act strictly, including the closure of jaggery units, which are indulging in wrong practices which are harmful for human health.
The Minister directed that joint teams of officers of departments of Agriculture and Health should be constituted to complete the process of inspections of all the units in a period of 15 days.
In December, the jaggery processing tips were imparted to all the stakeholders under the Tandrust Punjab Mission.
Pannu, who is also the Tandrust Punjab Mission director, said that a similar exercise was conducted during the previous year as well wherein about 600 people were imparted training on ‘Sugarcane Juice Processing to Safe Jaggery’ by PAU.
During this season, nearly 200 people have been trained with the primary focus on enhancing the quality and hygiene of the produce, besides teaching them about chemical-free or organic formulation of jaggery.


Joint action to curb smuggling and sale of banned tobacco products

Banned tobacco products seized during a joint raid by the police and food safety officials. 
‘Spot fine will bring down the sale of gutkha in Coimbatore’
The crackdown by the police and Food Safety Department on the sale of banned tobacco products is yet to cut the inflow of the contraband from other States to Coimbatore.
On Friday, the police seized 214.5 kg of banned tobacco products from a resident of P.N. Pudur on Maruthamalai Road. The seized products included multiple brands of gutka, manufacture and sale of which are banned in many States, including Tamil Nadu.
The police and Food Safety officials cite manpower constraints as a hurdle for full-fledged and dedicated action against the smuggling and sale of banned tobacco products. On an average, five to 10 cases are registered by the Coimbatore city and rural police a day under provisions of the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act (COTPA), 2003. The numbers go up on days when special drives are conducted, say officials.
Coimbatore city police alone registered close 1,400 cases under the COTPA in 2019, majority of which were registered against those running petty shops. Sources with the Coimbatore rural police said that around 1,500 cases were registered in the rural limits for the offence in the same period.
In Coimbatore city, Police Commissioner Sumit Sharan has tasked Deputy Commissioner of Police (Law and Order) L. Balaji Saravanan to enforce the ban by deploying police personnel attached to the 15 law and order police stations. A senior police officer attached to the city police said that the main challenge in enforcing the ban was manpower constraints. The official admitted that police were also not able to take investigation to the next level to trace the supply chain of the contraband due to the same reason.
Officials with the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) said they were hopeful of bringing down the sale of banned tobacco products as the Food Safety Department recently empowered Designated Officers in each district to issue spot fine to those found stocking or selling the items.
K. Tamilselvan, Designated Officer of the FSSAI in Coimbatore, said that it booked 50 persons, most of them running petty shops and grocery stores, for stocking and selling prohibited tobacco products.
“We expect that the spot fining will bring down the sale of gutkha in Coimbatore as the fine amount slapped on the offender is high. Fine amount to the tune of ₹2.5 lakh was collected from the offenders during special checks conducted to enforce spot fining in the last one month,” he said.
While first time offender is slapped with a fine of ₹5,000, the fine amount doubles to ₹10,000 when a person is caught selling the products for a second time. A fine of ₹25,000 and cancellation of FSSAI’s registration certificate are the penalty for third-time offender.
District Collector K. Rajamani said that a meeting of officials from the police, FSSAI, Revenue Department and the local bodies will be held soon to discuss modalities to enforce the ban.

FSSAI destroys artificially coloured eggs

Food Safety officials destroying artificially coloured leghorn eggs in the city on Sunday. 
3,900 leghorn eggs destroyed
Officials of the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) in Coimbatore on Sunday destroyed 3,900 leghorn eggs that were artificially coloured to look like eggs of country chicken, which are superior in terms of quality.
They found that the sellers were using colourants, including decoction of tea, to give the brownish tint to the egg shell.
K. Tamilselvan, Designated Officer of the FSSAI in Coimbatore, said that simultaneous checks were conducted at various markets namely the whole sale fish market and retail fish market at Ukkadam, Uzhavar Santhais at Vadavalli, Singanallur and R.S. Puram, and MGR Market Anna Market on Mettupalayam Road.
“The checks were conducted based on a complaint which said that vendors were selling white leghorn eggs as country chicken eggs after colouring them. Food Safety officers found that egg sold by at least 10 vendors were coloured white leghorn eggs. A total of 3,900 coloured eggs were seized and destroyed,” he said.
According to Dr. Tamilselvan, most of these vendors were procuring white leghorn eggs of small size from poultries in Namakkal and Salem and later colouring them to give the effect of country chicken eggs.
“While one leghorn egg is sold for ₹5 to ₹5.50, the vendors were selling coloured eggs for ₹7 and above.
They were selling such coloured eggs as eggs of free-range country chicken which is superior to eggs laid by chicken grown in farm,” he said.
Food Safety officials did spot checks to find the adulteration by soaking suspected eggs in water and the colour was found dissolving in the water. Apart from destroying the 3,900 coloured eggs, officials warned the vendors not to sell adulterated eggs in the future.