Imported Pulses Safe : FSSAI

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) on Thursday said that imported pulses and beans are safe and that based on tests conducted in the past one month it has found no reason for concern regarding the presence of glyphosate in these commodities.
Earlier, FSSAI had instructed its import offices at ports to start monitoring the presence of glyphosate in pulses and beans as these are mainly imported through Mumbai, Chennai and Tuticorin ports.
“After the order dated 12.10.18, monthly data pertaining to glyphosate level in pulses received from ports directly handled by FSSAI was analysed and it has been observed that of the 319 consignments tested, glyphosate residues were found in only 7 consignments and that too were within the prescribed Maximum Residue Levels,” FSSAI it added.
Pawan Agarwal, CEO, FSSAI said the food safety regulator will continue monitoring imported pulses for some time till “it is established for sure that there are no residues of glyphosate in imported pulses.”
FSSAI had also directed testing of glyphosate levels in imported pulses as per Codex standards as India does not have its own standards for residue levels in pulses.

EU team visits fishing harbours, processing units to audit standards

EU teams visits fishing harbors, processing units to audit standards

A two-member team today started evaluating the control systems governing the production of fishery products intended to be exported to the nations, in the backdrop of widespread speculation that the is considering a ban on Indian shipments.


The delegation which is in since November 21 comprises Markus Brunner, Team Leader, European Commission, DG Health and Food Safety and Maria Lyons Alcantara, member of the commission along with representatives of the Exports Inspection Council (EIC) and Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA).
None of the exporters is keen to comment on the issue.
Tara Ranjan Patnaik, chairman of Falcon Marine Exports Ltd, the country’s largest exporter, termed their visit a routine one.
The visit assumes significance as there is widespread speculation that the is considering a ban, citing quality issues, especially the presence of antibiotics in Indian shipments. is the third largest market for India accounting for about 18 per cent of the country’s seafood exports valued at $5.7 billion.

is seriously worried over the use of antibiotics in Indian shrimps- a fact that has surfaced continuously in its findings. It is also dissatisfied with the response it got from the Indian authorities and is, thus, considering a ban.

Exporters in the states said on the conditions of the anonymity a meeting arranged for the delegation by the seafood exporters was declined by the guests.

The team has already the fishing harbor in Paradip and also the processing units of Falcon Marine Exports and Shimpo Seafoods in Bhubaneswar and farms in Astaranga in Puri district. They are expected to visit the units of Magnum Seafood Pvt Ltd and have a meeting with officials of the state fisheries and animal resources development department. The audit team is also slated to visit Chennai to inspect the testing labs.

An official of declined to comment on the visit, citing sensitivity of the matter.

Last year, the had strengthened its inspection norms for aquaculture products sent from India. Earlier, the norm mandated testing samples from at least 10 per cent of the consignments, which was enhanced to 50 per cent in 2016. Some exporters even fear a ban.

Ivan Bartolo, regulatory affairs advisor at Seafish, representing the UK seafood industry had told Business Standard that the team will evaluate the performance of competent authorities and other authorized entities in their implementation of official controls concerning residues and contaminants in live animals and animal products eligible for export to the 

It will also inspect products to ensure that they do not contain residues of veterinary medicinal products, pesticides and contaminants at concentrations in excess of maximum limits, he had said.


Board begins quality tests for Nepal tea

Domino effect:The Darjeeling tea industry shutdown due to political agitations may have led to rising imports.AFP  

Demand for import variety surges

Amid reports of rising imports of teas from Nepal, the Tea Board of India has unveiled an exercise to test the teas.

Samples of these teas are being tested at the regulator’s Quality Control Laboratory in Siliguri in North Bengal, itself a major tea-trading centre. The testing is being done to check whether the teas conform to the Food Safety & Standards Authority of India norms, sources said.

This facility was created mainly to cater to the needs of the Darjeeling tea industry, almost 80% of which is exported. The laboratory has facilities for testing for the presence of pesticide residue, of heavy metals and to analyse microflora and other toxins. The presence of these elements not only compromises the quality of tea, but also impacts consumer acceptance of the beverage in domestic and global markets.

Cheaper option

For the past few years, rising imports of Nepal teas have been a source of concern to the Darjeeling tea industry.

Import of teas from Nepal to India stood at 11.4 million kg in 2015, rising to 12.2 million kg in 2016. Between January to July of 2017, about 4.3 million kg was imported according to official statistics. India imports these teas under the India Nepal Free-Trade agreement and the teas are substantially cheaper than the Darjeeling brew.

There are now fears that the recent Gorkha Janmukti agitation, which led to a prolonged shutdown of the Darjeeling tea industry, has paved the way for increased imports of tea from Nepal, which is similar to Darjeeling teas.

This development comes at a time when the Darjeeling tea industry is limping back to normalcy after the 104-day strike.

A meeting of the Area Scientific Committee of the Tea Research Association took place in Kurseong, where planters and scientists got together to hammer out a strategy to overcome the crisis situation, discussing the practices to be adopted for plucking.

“The need to ready the gardens for the first flush plucking beginning in March, and the possibility of salvaging some leaves for now was discussed,” according to official sources.

Participants discussed issues such as clearing and weeding the gardens and managing the overgrown tea bushes and pests.

FSSAI issues red flag against Pepper imports from Vietnam contaminated with high pesticide residue


Authorities say the imports may be contaminated with a high dosage of pesticide residue
The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has instructed various nodal agencies and its offices across the country to check the import of pepper into the country. The authority feels pepper coming from Vietnam may be contaminated.
Raj Kumar, FSSAI’s joint director (imports), in a note to the various nodal agencies, said the authority had received information from the Department of Commerce that Vietnamese pepper, contaminated with high pesticide residue, may be diverted to India via Sri Lanka. He has asked officials to be vigilant about such imports.
The development comes at a time pepper growers have raised concerns over cheap and low-quality imports. The industry has requested the government to fix a minimum import price (MIP).
Nishant R Gurjer, an executive committee member of The United Planters’ Association of Southern India (Upasi) and a leading pepper planter, said while production had stagnated, domestic demand was growing. Domestic demand was growing at four per cent annually, with the current demand estimated at 60,000 tonnes per annum. 
To utilise this opportunity, cheap pepper is coming from Vietnam through Sri Lanka, with whom India has signed a free trade agreement (FTA). Cheap Vietnamese pepper coming into the system could be sold as Indian pepper, Gurjer said. According to reports, pepper imports in general attract a duty of 70 per cent. Under an Asean agreement, a duty of 54 per cent is levied on pepper imported from Vietnam. But pepper from Sri Lanka attracts a duty of just eight per cent, since it is a part of Safta (South Asian Free Trade Area).

FSSAI bans import of food items with less than 60% shelf life

FSSAI bans import of food items with less than 60% shelf life

Imported with less than 60 per cent of left will not be allowed to enter Indian market as per the new issued by regulator

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of (FSSAI) has notified the Food Safety and Standards (Import) Regulation 2017, making it mandatory for importers to obtain its license.

Metabolism Disorder – FSSAI allows import of special food

Giving a ray of hope to the babies born with genetic metabolism disorders in the country, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has allowed import of special foods meant to cater their nutritional need.

The top food regulation body has recently identified 15 Inborn errors of Metabolism (IeM) disorders, for which specialty foods can be imported for the next two years — by the time which the FSSAI hopes to frame standards for such products.

IeM are rare genetic (inherited) disorders in which the body cannot properly turn food into energy. The disorders are usually caused by defects in specific proteins (enzymes) that help break down (metabolise) parts of food. Long term treatment requires a special diet. The diet includes a man-made infant formula with low levels of the amino acids depending on the metabolism disorder.

IEMs can lead to permanent neurological, cognitive, tactile, and physical damage in the child but if detected early enough, they can all be treated leading to completely normal development. One of the factors contributing to their high prevalence in India is said to be consanguineous marriages and marriage within communities over generations.

Studies indicate that up to 15 per cent of new born sick babies could have treatable metabolic disorders which go unknown leading to mental retardation and death.

“Such specialty foods for such babies are not readily available in India. Moreover, in the absence of the standards for such items, it is difficult to import them in the country. FSSAI has been receiving representation from various organisations for allowing these foods in the country”, a senior official from the authority said.

While we have already started the process to work in this direction (framing standards), in the meanwhile, to ensure patients do not suffer, we have allowed the import of such foods with certain conditions so that the move is not misused, he said.

As per circular issued in this regard, the import has  been allowed for two years or till the standards for such food items are framed. The labels on such foods should clearly mention the medical conditions for which they have to be used. The importers will also have to ensure that they are given to the patients under the supervision of the medical professionals.

 Some of the IeMs identified by the FSSAI are Maple Series Urine Disease, Glutaric  Acedmia Type 1, Amino Acid Metabolic Disorders, Urea Cycle disorders and Hypoallergenic conditions like severe allergy due to multiple food protein intolerance that  cannot be effectively managed by extensively hydrolysed formula, severe allergy due to intact milk protein and soya protein. 


MTR Sambhar powder recalled – FDA found Salmonella in it

recalled Shri Shiva sambar powder packageShri Shiva Foods Inc. is recalling MTR branded sambar powder because it may be contaminated with Salmonella.

The company, based in Long Island City, NY, sold the packaged sambar powder from January through October through two wholesalers, one in New York and one in Ohio. Distribution beyond the wholesale level is not included in the recall notice posted on the Food and Drug Administration website.

Consumers can identify the recalled MTR sambar powder by looking for specific information on individual 200-gram packages, which weigh about 7 ounces. The coding “LOT NO# 15J27C, MFD.27.10.15” is printed on the plastic pouches.

No illnesses had been reported as of the posting of the recall notice on Monday afternoon.

The FDA discovered the potential contamination through previous product sampling, according to the recall notice..

Consumers who purchased the product are urged to return it to the place of purchase for a full refund. Consumers with questions may contact the company’s consumer affairs at 347-581-7931, Monday through Friday 10 a.m.-5 p.m. EST.

Anyone who has eaten the recalled multi-spice powder and developed symptoms of Salmonella infection should seek medical attention and tell their doctor doctor about the possible Salmonella exposure.

Salmonella is a microscopic organism that can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Healthy people infected with Salmonella often experience fever, diarrhea that  may be bloody, nausea,vomiting and abdominal pain. In rare circumstances, infection with Salmonella can result in the organism getting into the bloodstream and producing more severe illnesses such as arterial infections, endocarditis and arthritis.


Hazards of a long supply food chain – Sale of time expired product

Image result for fonterra new zealand

Poor old Fonterra!  The New Zealand dairy giant is in the news again for a problem with milk powder in China, but this time it could have been any food company.  Its product has been on-sold several times, and time-expired milk powder has been repackaged and sold at a discounted rate.

I haven’t been able to find out whether the original powder packaging was marked with a “Best before” date, or a “Use by” date and these terms are not used in China.  According to National Standard GB7718-2011, the General Rules for the Labeling of Prepackaged Foods, in China, the labeling consist of production date and date of minimum durability.

Clearly, Fonterra is blameless in this case, and, with a long supply chain, it is difficult for the company to control what happens to its product.

The obvious concern in China, beyond any illegal activity, is the potential hazard to the consumer.

Image result for fonterra new zealand

Can time-expired milk powder be hazardous to the consumer?  In my opinion, this is highly unlikely.  Properly packed and stored milk powder will keep for years – bacteria will not grow in the very low water activity in the powder.  However, repackaging offers the possibility of contamination.  The most likely issue is that the powder may become oxidised, leading to taste defects.

So, is this a big deal?  Yes – the consumer is entitle to receive food products in good condition and not be sold inferior goods, and this includes not receiving perfectly safe but time-expired products.

India – NZ concludes Food Safety cooperation arrangement

New Delhi, Oct 26 (PTI) To boost trade in food products, India and New Zealand today announced conclusion of food safety cooperation arrangement to encourage greater coordination between food authorities of the two countries.

This was announced in a joint statement of India and New Zealand. John Key, Prime Minister of New Zealand, is on a state visit to India from October 25-27.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and New Zealand Prime Minister John Key expressed their wish for greater bilateral trade and investment.

They announced the “conclusion of a Food Safety Cooperation Arrangement to encourage greater coordination between New Zealand and Indian food safety authorities, and supporting more efficient trade in food products.”

The arrangement was made between the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) and the Ministry for Primary Industries of New Zealand regarding Food Safety Cooperation, according to the list of outcomes.

FSSAI has been established under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 as a statutory body for laying down standards for food articles and regulating manufacturing, processing, distribution, sale and import of food so as to ensure safe and wholesome food for human consumption.

FSSAI came into the limelight after Maagi controversy.

Krishna Food Corp recalls Bikaju Chowpati Bhelpuri because of possible health risk

Krishna Food Corp of Neshanic Station, New Jersey is recalling 16 cartons of BIKAJI Chowpati BHELPURI, NET WT: 300g 10.58 OZ Batch no 2016 F97 Best Before June 2017, because it has the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella, an organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Healthy persons infected with Salmonella often experience fever, diarrhea (which may be bloody), nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. In rare circumstances, infection with Salmonella can result in the organism getting into the bloodstream and producing more severe illnesses such as arterial infections (i.e., infected aneurysms), endocarditis and arthritis.

Product was distributed in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania states, through retail stores.

The product is packed within a pouch pack.


No illnesses have been reported to date.

Recent tests conducted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration show this product to be contaminated with Salmonella.

Consumers who have purchased the product are urged to destroy it. Consumers with questions may contact the company at 1-917-478-3225 Monday – Friday, 9:30 am – 6:00 pm, ET


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