TN : Govt run temples to get certification from FSSAI

Chennai sources added that an official said as many as 47 major temples in Tamilnadu run by the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Department will get Food Safety and Standards Authority of India certification for their ‘prasadam’. Accordingly prasadam, a material substance of food, is a religious offering and is normally consumed by devotees after offering prayers. 
Meanwhile the exercise, aimed at ensuring quality and bringing in standardisation, began with the prasadam of the famous Sri Palani Murugan temple’s (Dhandayuthapaniswamy temple) ‘Panchamirtham’ (a mix of banana, ghee, honey, sugar and dates). The official said “Palani Murugan temple was our pilot project. We have initiated the process of getting FSSAI certification in other 46 temples as well”.
Moreover the official said, “Quality assurance is our priority incidents of people taking ill after consuming prasadam in some private temples drew our attention and we decided to go in for licensing.” Earlier in April this year, two women died and over 30 people took ill after consuming prasadam provided by a privately administered temple at Mettupalayam near Coimbatore. Moreover Madurai Meenakshi Amman temple, Rameswaram Sri Ramanathaswamy temple, Srirangam Ranganathaswamy temple and Tiruvannamalai Arunachaleswara temple are among the major shrines of Tamilnadu.

Food Safety Dept . launches ‘Eat Right Kerala’

Waste not, just eat it

UN estimates global leftover food products enough to feed 3.3 billion people
A lot of food is wasted in our houses, restaurants, supermarkets and at social events.
More than a decade ago, a Taiwanese friend took me to an all-you-can-eat seafood restaurant during one of my visits to Taipei. We had to take raw food materials from the refrigerators and boil them in the individual ovens placed in the dining tables before eating. However, there was something else that amazed me more. According to the restaurant rule, one needed to pay a penalty for leftover or wasted food, which was charged according to its weight.
A seafood restaurant called Hachikyo in Sapporo, Japan also imposes a fine if you do not finish your meal. The explanation is that the fishermen work in harsh and dangerous conditions. It is forbidden to waste even one grain of rice in your bowl as a mark of gratitude. The fine really works; hardly anyone leaves food unfinished.
The consciousness for not wasting food is slowly becoming more pronounced in this part of the world. In early 2019, a Telangana restaurant named Kedari Food Court was in the news for following a ‘carrot and stick’ policy to restrict food wastage. It would charge a fine of Rs 50 for wasting food, but give a reward of Rs 10 for a finished meal. Interestingly, the owner observed that people going there had become very careful not to waste food, and as a result, the number of times that the penalty was imposed had come down.
According to a Condé Nast Traveler report, several restaurants in Germany have started imposing a fine on customers failing to finish their meals. In 2016, Christian Schmidt, who was then Germany’s agriculture minister, said that the country would have an ambitious strategy to halve food waste by 2030.
A lot of food is wasted in our houses, restaurants, supermarkets and at social events. Upon learning that 40 per cent of the food produced in the United States of America ultimately gets discarded, the Canadian filmmaking couple, Grant Baldwin and Jenny Rustemeyer, made the entertaining documentary, Just Eat It: A Food Waste Story (2014), where they conducted a six-month experiment of eating only food that is discarded or will be discarded. Several food activists interviewed in the documentary spoke about the flimsy reasons for food wastage — largely aesthetic and economic.
Let us consider the case of the United Kingdom in 2017. About 6,00,000 tonnes of food in the restaurant business — a third of total production — is wasted every year in the UK. For every meal eaten in a restaurant, nearly 500 grams of food is wasted — through preparation, spoilage and leftovers on diners’ plates. According to the Waste and Resources Action Programme, food waste costs UK restaurants around £682 million per year, which has a huge financial and environmental impact. The US wastes $165 billion worth of food a year; 15 per cent of the wastage comes from restaurants.
The United Nations found that “global leftover food products are enough to feed 3.3 billion people”. Several food waste reduction programmes worked effectively in different parts of the world. These include waste-fed pigs in Japan, and a garden education curriculum in New Orleans. A disposal programme has reduced household food waste by 30 per cent in South Korea: food waste recycling devices installed in many areas automatically weigh the discarded food and disposal fees are billed based on the weight of the food waste that a family generates.
Food wastage in India is also immense. The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India was reportedly drafting rules to check wastage at restaurants and social events such as weddings, and was dealing with issues such as hygiene and transportation of the leftover food. The Delhi government was also preparing a draft policy to keep a check on food wastage at social events in the capital. Public consciousness is important; so is the strict imposition of fines. For example, charging small amounts for plastic bags has drastically reduced their use in US supermarkets. Food, after all, must go into our stomachs, not garbage bins.

Aavin Ghee no more Agmark

Airline meal in Banana leaf

FSSAI inks partnerships with those it is meant to regulate

FSSAI sleeping with ‘enemy’


The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has entered into several partnerships with organisations floated by food companies, sparking off concerns about conflict of interest since these companies are to be regulated by the Authority. 
On its website, FSSAI lists its partnerships, which include one with an organisation called CHIFFS (CII-Hindustan Unilever Initiative on Food Safety Sciences). The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) is an industry association that lobbies for corporate interests and Hindustan Lever’s well known food brands include Knorr soups, Brook Bond tea, Lipton, Cornetto and Kissan.
The initiative includes other companies such as Dupont, Keventer Agro, Rasna, Nestle and Dabur. The partnership is “to co-produce food safety as a shared responsibility”. 
The witnesses for the MoU signed between FSSAI and CHIFFS include the regulatory affairs official of Coca-Cola and the executive director of Food and Agriculture Center of Excellence (FACE). FACE is a joint initiative of CII and Jubilant Bhartia, better known for Dominos Pizza and Dunkin Donuts. FACE and CHIFFS seem to have many common people in various capacities. 
FSSAI’s ‘Eat Right India’ campaign has involved several food businesses that have “come forward to voluntarily make commitments” on reducing transfats, sugar and salts in packaged foods and to promote healthier food options. 
The website of the campaign, which lists almost every big food company as a partner, states that food businesses have been nudged to promote healthier food options in several ways. An industry notorious globally for resisting and even flouting regulation is being “nudged” for voluntary commitments though self-regulation by it hasn’t worked in any other country.
Resource Centre for Health Supplements & Nutraceuticals (ReCHaN) is yet another “collaborative initiative of FSSAI, International Alliance of Dietary/Food Supplements Association (IADSA) and CII”. Partners of ReCHaN include DSM, one of the biggest multinationals manufacturing micronutrients, HerbaLife, Amway and SunPharma. IADSA described itself as a “global platform to guide the evolution of policy and regulation in the sector”. It is primarily composed of 50 member associations representing over 20,000 companies worldwide and meant to give its members a part in shaping regulation globally and in individual countries. 
FSSAI has also partnered with Global Food Safety Partnership (GFSP), a public-private initiative established by the World Bank “to improve food safety in low and middle income countries”. GFSP’s collaborators include food MNCs such as Unilever, General Mills, Cargill, Mars Inc and Nestle. GFSP is supporting FSSAI set up an International Training Centre in Mumbai and is also “facilitating study visits of FSSAI or Indian delegations to various countries”.
In collaboration with Tata Trusts, and various international NGOs working in the field of nutrition, FSSAI is establishing a Food Fortification Resource Centre to “promote large-scale fortification of food and to nudge and facilitate food businesses to adopt fortification as a norm”. Several Tata companies are under FSSAI regulation. The international NGOs involved include Food Fortification Initiative and Nutrition International. Almost all identify themselves as public-private collaborations with collaborators including some of the world’s biggest micronutrient manufacturers, food companies or associations and research institutes floated by the food and beverage industry. 
FSSAI CEO Pawan Kumar Agarwal told TOI that the partnerships were being wrongly interpreted. “Food safety is globally seen as a shared responsibility with focus shifting from prosecution to preventive action to ensure food is safe in the supply chain. We are extremely careful in partnerships as far as conflict of interest is concerned. Capacity building of food businesses and consumer awareness building are important parts of our roles,” said Agarwal.
CII defended its partnership stating that CHIFSS initiatives were focused on building capacity and capability in high-risk areas and that there was no room for any conflict of interest in its initiatives.