Now farmers can gauge market

JAIPUR: Addressing the valedictory session of the three-day Global Rajasthan Agritech Meet (GRAM) in Kota on Friday, Union minister of state for consumer affairs, food and public distribution, C R Chaudhary said that the time has come for the farmers to gauge the market for their produce

Knowing the forthcoming agri-trends in the market will not only get them the right price but also will prove to be a deterrent for the losses they suffer, said the minister. He also cautioned the farmers against the sheep mentality of following the same crop trend which has done well in a particular period.

 

The minister said that Kota division was most appropriate for organizing first of the divisional ‘GRAMs’. The division has 50% of the assured irrigated land as compared to the 30% of the entire state. GRAM will bring about a comprehensive change in the techniques of agriculture and allied sector as increasingly more farmers adopt modern technology, he further said.

 

During the valedictory session, farmers were facilitated for their contributions in the fields of agriculture, animal husbandry and dairy.

 

On the last day, MOU worth Rs 112.50 crores was with a private firm Shiv Health Foods LLP for setting up a manufacturing unit of high quality soy proteins.

Food items to be cheaper under GST

Most of the food items will be cheaper as the rate on them has been kept within 5 per cent range, Union minister Harsimran Kaur Badal said today.

The Goods and Services (GST) will be rolled out from July 1.
“I am happy that the rate (on food items) has been kept within five per cent range. Lot of things will be cheaper. Food items are definitely not going to be expensive,” the Food Processing Minister said at Today’s round table conference here.

The minister said that she had requested the minister to keep food items in ‘exempt’ category or lowest rate slab.

On being asked whether Indian food standards were in line with international level, the Union minister said the food safety regulator FSSAI was harmonising Indian standards with the global level.

Earlier, there was a delay in product approval as each product clearance used to take time and there was “stagnation” in the approval process. However the system has been fastened in the last one year, she said.

“In the last one year, we have got rid of the product approval system and got on to the way it is done internationally where ingredients are approved,” Harsimran said.

More than 12,000 ingredients have been approved as of now, she said.

On being quizzed whether the government has taken steps to double farmers’ income, the minister said agriculture and other ministries concerned were taking adequate measures to achieve the goal by 2022.

“I believe that food processing sector will play a pivotal role in doubling farmers’ income by 2022. We are creating infrastructure so that farmers can do value addition to their produce and boost their income,” she added.

FSSAI launches new initiatives for FBOs, Consumers , Citizens

India’s food regulator, has launched a new website <foodsmart.fssai.gov.in> to make you a food smart consumer by providing a complete food safety guide.
New Delhi : The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), India’s food regulator, has launched a new website <foodsmart.fssai.gov.in> to make you a food smart consumer by providing a complete guide to food safety.
If you are worried about the safety of food that you buy and eat, if you want to know “which oil is good for my family” or know about safety of re-using oil, or about the health benefits of dietary fibre or all about the packaged food or whether your packaged water safe, just log into this website to get all authoritative answers.
Better to check here instead of trying to find answers from the Internet as all those having vested interests in their products may put there all sorts of false claims to mislead you.
An FSSAI official said the regulator is working with the street vendors, places of worship serving food and railway and institutional caterers to establish a “safe and nutritious food culture” as it wants to remove the impression of being “danda-wielding” bureaucratic authority.
FSSAI wants to make this website interactive and so it wants the consumer’s feedback, asking all to send queries, concerns, comments and complaints. Better download FSSAI’s Food Safety Connect App that will instantly empower you to raise a food grievance with the authority. You can check the website to get answers to any query you have or just read answers to many other queries regularly uploaded. The website was being developed for quite some time but it officially went online only on Tuesday.
On May 8, someone wanted to know safety of re-using oil and FSSAI warned that repeated frying causes change in the physicochemical, nutritional and sensory properties of the oil. On May 9, there was a query on health benefits of dietary fibre and FSSAI advice to eat more fibre found mainly in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes.
 

Indian eatery in UK could close after human meat report

 

HIGHLIGHTS

  1. ‘KarriTwist’, an Indian restaurant in the UK could be forced to shut down.
  2. This follows a fake news report that claimed it serves human meat.
  3. The owner had to call in the Police as people threatened to vandalise the building.

File photo of 'KarriTwist', a restaurant in south east London. (Facebook.com)

File photo of ‘KarriTwist’, a restaurant in south east London. (Facebook.com)
LONDON: An Indian restaurant in the UK could be forced to shut down after a fake news report claiming it serves human meat went viral on Facebook, according to a media report.

Shinra Begum, the owner of ‘KarriTwist’ in south east London, said people have threatened to vandalise the building and police officers have been called in.

However, the article originated from a prank news site where anonymous users can submit their own fake news before sharing the stories on social media, metro.co.uk reported on Wednesday.

“One person said he would have broken the windows if our shutters weren’t up. One member of the public did report it to the police. It has greatly affected our business. We have had people call us up telling us how dare you serve us human meat. If it wasn’t happening to me I would laugh about it,” Shinra said.

“This has done the rounds everywhere and people are believing this. We have had it for 60 years and it could shut down after somebody wrote something like this,” she said.

“Even though the article, consisting of just a single paragraph, was littered with spelling and grammatical errors, people believed it was true,” Shinra added.

It was shared on Facebook with the headline: ‘ASIAN RESTAURANT SHUT DOWN FOR USING HUMAN MEAT.’

The story read, “Last night Indian restaurant owner Rarjan Patel was arrested for using human meat in his food recipes at his New Cross Restaurant, it is said that a total of 9 human body’s were found frozen ready to be processed for meat, Rarjan Patel remains in custody for further questioning whilst the restaurant has been closed down.”

The prank news site contains a number of fake stories, including false reports claiming people have died and that certain individuals are paedophiles.

Shinra said she has seen a drop in customers since the story showed up. As a result, some staff have had their hours cut.

Mothers welcome ban on Junk Food ads

To reduce consumption of unhealthy food by children, authorities have recommended a ban on junk food advertisements.
Artist Lakshmi Nambiar with her daughter Tamaara and Dancer Hima Bindu Kanoj with her daughter Laasya.
The attractive advertisement showing the cheesy gooeyness of a burger may soon be a thing of the past. The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), who had earlier recommended additional tax on processed foods and sugar-sweetened beverages, has now recommended a blanket ban on the advertising of junk foods and beverages on children’s channels and content for children across television, websites and social media.
The ban was recommended following the report ‘Consumption of fat, sugar and salt (FSS) and its health effects on Indian population’, which suggested many ways to reduce consumption of unhealthy food by children.
While we are all aware about the ill-effects of junk food, it doesn’t stop people from getting those products home. Welcoming the ban, Hima Bindu Kanoj, dancer and parent to six-year-old Laasya, says, “Children are very familiar with what goes on in television channels. They know about the schedule and what advertisements come in between. So if the ban is being imposed, nothing like it. It will help divert the child’s mind to something more concrete.” She adds, “Then again, all the blame can’t be put on advertisements; parents also need to be more cautious. One can let children indulge twice a month and the rest you can monitor.”
“I am really shocked with this step. Now, how will I get to know which chips have been added on with vitamins and minerals?” asks Avish Juluri, the nine-year-old son of artist Sravanthi Juluri. “Avish is not much of a junk food eater, but he likes to buy things either because they look attractive or his friends have eaten them. The ban will be a boon for the parents. Less visibility means less peer pressure to try and eat it at least once,” says Sravanthi.
According to fellow artist and parent, Lakshmi Nambiar, her daughter Tamaara gets enticed with the advertisements which get aired every few minutes in between a show. “Kids remember every minute detail which is showcased in the ads. If that is restricted, I think we have a win over junk foods,” says Lakshmi.

Surprise checks on schools Mid Day Meals

NAGPUR: From the upcoming academic session, zilla parishad officials will be cracking down on schools that fail to implement midday meals (MDM) scheme properly.

Nilesh Waghmare, district in charge for MDM said, “There will be increased supervision and lot of surprise checks at schools to ensure that children are getting nutritious, tasty and hygienic food.”

Waghmare’s statements comes two days after a baby snake, also known as a ‘snakelet’, was found in the food served to students in a school in Uttar Pradesh. The academic session for state board schools in city, where MDM is served, will begin from either June 26 or 27. The task for Waghmare will definitely be tough because there are over 2,000 schools in district serving MDM and the staff dedicated for this task is less than a dozen. As per MDM guidelines, the primary responsibility for checking the food lies with the school’s principal.

Waghmare said, “Safety of children is our main goal and we will ensure that they get good quality food as per the guidelines. Nagpur district has lakhs of students benefiting from the MDM scheme and it is a huge responsibility. I am drawing up plans to ensure that random checks will be held in schools on a regular basis.”
In city, schools get raw rice in bulk quantity from Food Corporation of India (FCI) godowns based on requisition sent to Waghmare’s office. The rice is delivered directly to school campus by contracted transporter. But other items like pulses, vegetables, oil and spices have to be purchased by schools and then the bill is reimbursed by ZP.
In the last two years there have been only two cases of food poisoning reported in the district. Waghmare said, “Starting surprise checks does not mean that we are accusing anybody in particular. It’s just a method of double checking how things are being implemented at the ground level. We will act both on information received from public and random geographical selection of schools.”
He added that neglecting to adhere to guidelines is considered a serious problem. Waghmare said, “This puts the lives of hundreds of kids in danger, so we are looking at a major problem. In food poisoning cases anyway the police get involved and we also conduct a separate inquiry into the incident.”

FSSAI panel turns heat on junk food, bats for tax, ad ban

New Delhi :

An expert panel set up by food regulator FSSAI has recommended additional tax on highly processed food items and sugar-laced beverages as well as a ban on advertising of junk foods on children’s channels or during kids’ shows on TV.

The report by the 11-member panel on ‘Consumption of Fat, Sugar and Salt (FSS) and its health effects on Indian population’ suggests ways to cut consumption of unhealthy food products and reduce rising burden of chronic diseases like cancer and diabetes.

The FSSAI had constituted the panel consisting of experts from different fields like medicine, nutrition and dietetics from well-known medical research and academic institutions.

“The report recommended having balanced diet which should provide around 60-70 per cent of total calories from carbohydrate, 10-12 per cent from protein and 20-30 per cent from fat,” the FSSAI said.

This report will serve as a guideline document for all the stakeholders, including the industry, the FSSAI and consumers, in reducing consumption of fat, sugar and salt through processed food products.

The panel recommended “additional tax on highly processed commodities and sugar sweetened beverages”.

“Imposing additional tax on the purchase of commodities such as pre-packaged foods with high salt and fat content, sugar sweetened beverages, etc can be a pragmatic approach to reduce their intake,” the report said.

According to the panel, imposition of excise tax on unhealthy eating products would lead to positive health effects among population.

The nutrition-related programmes of the government can be supported through profit from taxing unhealthy food products.

As for the advertisements, the committee said, “Advertisement ban for foods high in FSS during children TV shows or kids TV channels is urged. In fact, we should progress towards a total ban law as being done in a few other countries like Chile.”

It further said the celebrity endorsements of such foods need to be discouraged, adding that online social media websites should also comply with advertising ban for unhealthy foods.

The panel also pitched for reliable monitoring systems to examine FSS intake periodically at the national level.

It felt that the industry should be encouraged for “voluntary reformulation” of food products to cut down FSS intake in packaged food items.

The panel is of the view that informations like total calories, amount of carbohydrates, sugar, fat, protein, sodium, dietary fibre, amount of trans-fat added in food should be mandatory for labelling in food products.

“In India, the rising burden of mortality and morbidity due to chronic diseases such as cardiovascular, respiratory diseases, diabetes and cancers is alarming. In the next 25 years, the burden of chronic diseases will tend to increase continuously as a ramification of the rapidly transitioning food intakes, changing dietary patterns and other lifestyle factors,” the report noted.

The Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006, does not define the term “junk food”, the panel observed.

On nutrient-specific recommendations, the panel said fats should be largely consumed in the unsaturated form.

That the consumption of unsaturated fatty acids, especially the long chain mono- and poly unsaturated-fatty acids, should be encouraged in everyday diets was among the recommendations.

“A total of 10 per cent of total energy is allowed as added sugars in our daily diet. Simple sugars and refined carbohydrates should be reduced. These come largely from sugar sweetened beverages and processed snacks with high added sugar content,” the report said.