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Archive for January 2012

Unlicensed food firm served PM at Pravasi Bharatiya Divas function

A food safety officer has been suspended and three others were transferred after a report revealed that an unlicensed catering firm had served meals to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and other VIPs during the recent Pravasi Bharatiya Divas.

Flight catering company Sky Feast, which had served meals to the VIPs at the Sanganer airport, was operating without food licence, a mandatory requirement under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006. “AIR India had given the contract to serve the food to the catering company. Our food safety officers were deputed to take samples of the food to check its quality. The hotel was not having the food license and the officers did not take care of it, which is a negligence on their part,” an officer of the state medical and health department said.

Deputy secretary (medical and health) Sunil Kumar Sharma in two separate orders issued on Friday suspended Shree Ram Mishra and transferred three officers – Sandeep Agrawal, Sandeep Agrawal and Rajesh Tinkar.

[SOURCE]

The Expert’s Thought: Unfortunate Incident. It’s so inappropriate that the PM was served by unlicensed firm. The Governmental officials seem to be so careless.

Traders’ body seeks to defer Food Safety Act

The merchant community in Madurai has termed the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 as detrimental to the interests of farmers and self-help groups in its present form and urged the Centre to postpone the enforcement of the Act.

Hoisting the tricolour to mark the Republic Day, S P Jeyapragasam, president of the Madurai-based Tamil Nadu Foodgrain Merchants’ Association said the Act that has come into force from September last year would curtail farmers’ opportunity to sell products at remunerative prices. “According to the Act, farmers who grow the food products and traders are liable for action for deficiency in the products. The deficiency in quality of agro products due to changes in weather should also be taken into account,” he said.

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The Expert’s Thought: The act is meant to provide better food safety standards for the industry rather than curtailing the livelihood of an individual farmer.

No Milk Sample in Delhi Found Contaminated: Delhi Govt

Giving a clean chit to all leading milk suppliers here, the city government today told the Delhi High Court that no sample of milk was found having material injurious to health.
“No sample of milk was found having detergent, added urea, neutraliser or any other material injurious to health,” said Delhi government counsel Zubeda Begum to the bench of Acting Chief Justice A K Sikri and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw.

Claiming that milk suppliers have followed the prescribed standard under the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, the counsel added “no survey sample of milk in Delhi lifted and analysed by the Food Safety Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) was found deficient in fat or solid not fat as prescribed by the Act.”

Earlier this month, taking suo motu cognisance over a news report that 70 per cent of milk samples lifted from the national capital were found contaminated, the bench had sought the city as well as central government’s response.

In its reply, the lawyer told the court that the Department of Prevention of Food Adulteration had held a meeting with the suppliers, including Mother Dairy, DMS, Amul, Paras and other dairies, which have assured the government to take all steps not to supply substandard quality milk in the market.

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The Expert’s Thought:  Its a complete white lie. Contamination testes have proved the adulteration in the milk.

HRD can develop food processing faster

Food and beverage products chuck over 30 per cent off the consumer wallet and two-third of it is spent on primary and secondary processed products.
Also, an increase in the throwaway incomes of Indians and their changing attitudes towards processed foods has catalysed the food processing growth speedily. As per a recent FICCI-Ernst & Young study, while the per-capita disposable income is up by 8 per cent in the last five years, it has led to an increase of 20 per cent in per-capita food consumption expenditure.

“Another booster for food processing is rise in the number of working women. This shows hectic lifestyle and the need for convenience, the Indian consumers are adapting to processed food consumption,” the report said.

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The Expert’s Thought: The development would create more jobs in the industry.

Tricks to expose food adulteration

In a country where official systems set for food safety and prevention are constantly outdone by a booming adulteration business, the onus of safeguarding one’s family against contaminaed food, unfortunately falls on citizens themselves. From loose packed ground spices, to wet produce such as milk, khoya, paneer, to dry spices and grains, almost everything you can buy has a potential of being adulterated, if purchased from an unauthorized vendor in a box unmarked and tested by either Agmark or ISI.

While some of these could be less harmful, such as water or bran, chemicals and colouring agents such as Metanil Yellow, Lead Chromate, Sudan Red III, are known to be carcinogenic. The chairman of the Consumer Guidence Society of India, Dr Sitaram Dixit lists a few commonly used food items, and suggests simple home tests to check for their most common adulterants. In case the test asks for the presence of an acid, you could use common toilet-cleaning acid, or easily found citric acid or even lemon juice.

1 Turmeric, dals and pulses such as moong or channa
Adulterant

Metanil Yellow and Kesari Dal (Added to enhance the yellow colour of a food substance)

Test
Dissolve half a spoon full of besan or turmeric powder in 20 ml of lukewarm water. Add a few drops of hydrochloric acid or any commonly available acid at home. If the water turns pink, violet or purple, it shows the presence of Metanil yellow.

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The Expert’s Thought: Adulteration is the act of debasing a pure or genuine commodity for pecuniary profit, by adding to it and inferior or spurious article, or by taking from it one or more of its constituents.

Karnataka plans new food lab, hires staff for better FSSA implementation

Karnataka has now speeded up efforts to ensure preparedness in terms of infrastructure and personnel to help the industry adhere to the Food Safety & Standards Act (FSSA), 2006.
The state, which has four food labs, is now looking to have a fifth facility in Bangalore, under the Karnataka Health Systems Development Project, which is funded by the World Bank.

The state is also contemplating on setting up mobile vans to simplify the surveillance of food units at a faster pace. Further efforts are on to offer online issue of licences and renewal. In this regard, the Union government has now software to network the state food commissionerates across the country. Karnataka is hoping to be among the first to install the same.

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The Expert’s Thought: Lab would be the markers of authenticity of the better Food & Hygiene  Practices. More labs would be the check pint for the Industry  and moreover the check can be done at regular basis.

January 31 is last date for registration for food manufacturers in Patiala

The health and family welfare department, Government of Punjab, has made it mandatory for those in the business of manufacturing and selling food products for human consumption to register by January 31, 2012.

During a brief telephonic conversation with FnB News, Dr Virinder Singh Mohi, Patiala’s civil surgeon, said, “The health department is committed to providing hygienic food to the residents of the city.”

He said, “The state government implemented the Food Safety and Standards Act in August 2011 according to the guidelines issued by the Central government. Under this Act, all establishments dealing with food have to complete their registration and acquire the requisite licenses.”

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The Expert’s Thought: Only 8 more days to go !!! Looking for positive response from the Industry.

125 food testing labs on cards

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has proposed to set up 125 food testing laboratories in the country. The authority has also proposed to form guidelines to keep a check on flavoured drinking water, said V N Gaur, chief executive officer of FSSAI. The proposals have been submitted to the Union government for approval.

Gaur was speaking at the two-day 21st Indian Convention of Food Scientists and Technologists organised on the theme ‘Innovations in food science and technology to fuel the growth of the Indian food industry’. Swapan Kumar Datta, deputy director general, Indian Council for Agricultural Research, New Delhi, Vasudha Kamath, vice-chancellor, SNDT University, Mumbai, and G Venkateswara Rao, acting director Central Food Technological Research Institute, Mysore, were present for the convention that started on Friday.

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The Expert’s Thought: Its good that Government is thinking about to establish Food Laboratories. This would bring about more Hygiene Practices and cheaper food evaluation costs in the county.

FSSA is a representation of GLP, GMP to make industry accountable: Experts

The food industry in the small-, medium- and large-scale segments will now need to gear up to adhere to the Food Safety & Standards Act, 2006. This was pointed out at a seminar on Challenges on Effective Implementation of the New Food Safety and Standards Law: Consumer’s Perspective organised by the Bangalore Chamber of Industry and Commerce.

The Act is the representation of good laboratory practices (GLP) and good manufacturing practices (GMP), which are mandated in the production of food. It will help in preventing the scores of food poisoning cases in the country and will make the country’s food industry more accountable, according to experts present at the meet.

Elaborating further on the topic, Bejon Misra, international consumer expert and former member, Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), New Delhi, said, “The key to food safety is prevention at the source.”

[SOURCE]

The Expert’s Thought: Balanced representation is a must for effective implementation of the laws.

Tamil Nadu Chamber seeks corrective measures for implementation of FSS Act

The Tamil Nadu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (TNCC) has sought corrective measures for serious implications of Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006, and Rules and Regulations, 2011, enforced by the government on food processing industries and has submitted memorandum to V N Gaur, CEO, Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), in this regard.

S Rethinavelu, senior president, TNCCI, said, “Even though the object of the Food Safety and Standards Act is laudable, the Act which is being enforced after repealing the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954, which has been in force throughout the country for over 60 years, is replete with a number of inconsistent, incongruous and deleterious provisions and impracticable procedures which will severely impact food business operators throughout India including food processing industries.

[SOURCE]

The Expert’s thought: It’s indeed a good approach by the Chamber of commerce for the Implementation.

Food licensing goes online in Mumbai, Thane with launch of new software

The heap of files, signature statement of any government office in India, is soon going to be a thing of the past at least at the headquarters of Maharashtra Food and Drugs Administration. This is going to be possible as computerisation is slowly taking over to save the officers from spending ounces of energy browsing through old files.

The software for processing applications for food and beverage licensing and registration was made online on January 12 by Maharashtra FDA. The software was launched for the Mumbai and Thane wing of the FDA. The launch was presided by Maharashtra food safety and FDA commissioner Mahesh Zagade.

Software engineer Parminder Singh Saini from Logic Soft Solutions, deputed for the job said up till yesterday, around six licenses and three registrations were done using the software for Mumbai branch while Thane did three registrations.

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The Expert’s Thought: This is the best thing what Maharashtra FDA has done. However, the effective use of technology is going to be the biggest challenge.

Govt ignoring Food Safety Act

Recent expose about adulteration in the milk products in the State once again underlines the State Government’s lack of seriousness about implementing Food Safety and Standards Act.

Under the law the State Government should come up with separate department of Food Safety. Besides, it should also appoint Commissioner of Food Safety for the State and designated officers who would function under him for each district.
A designated officer has to perform various functions including issuing and canceling licenses of food business operator, prohibit the sale of any article of food which doesn’t make the prescribed standards, to receive the sample from food analyst and recommend to the Commissioner of Food Safety to launch prosecution in case of contravention of provision of FSS Act.

The food safety officers, on the other hand, are required to conduct regular inspections, guidance to food business operator, sampling and prosecution.
The law also lays down that the State Government should provide adequate infrastructure -manpower, building, space, office, equipments – for enforcing the Act.  The law also provides for the establishment of Special Courts.

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The Expert’s Thought: The FSSAI Act was enacted to decrease the Food Poisoning Cases in India and also make Law more stringent as  US-FDA law. Unfortunately, neither is effective because of low man Power and lack of law know-how among government officials.

Cereals, Yoghurt gaining ground in 2012

The Year 2012 looks favourable for those players in the market who wish to outstand themselves with new food products, catering to their customers to meet the growing demand and change of tastes.

Undoubtedly, today the trend has turned towards cereals for breakfast, yoghurt, sugar-free, fat-free and gluten-free food products considering the rising health-consciousness of the consumers in the scenario.

Therefore, cereals and yoghurt might be some of the food products that would be on the floors, this year with major players like Kraft Foods and Nestle gearing up for launches.

Easy-meal solutions
In this regard, Kraft Foods, USA, one of the brands of supermarket food items is reportedly updating a line-up by launching more than 70 brands whereby all these products have been created for those consumers who look for easy-meal solutions with new flavour combinations.

[SOURCE]

The Expert’s Thought: Its a good news that People are considering low Fat diet and the breakfast which is traditional and yet healthier in its way.

Food samples found adulterated after milk

In a shocking revelation, the Food Safety Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has found that around 13% of food stuff is contaminated across the country. The results of the study came a day after another survey found that milk, an important nutritional component, was found to be adulterated across almost all major cities.

As per the data released by the FSSAI, the high percentage of adulteration in food samples puts a question mark on the safety measures taken by the health ministry.

The testing showed adulteration rates as high as 40% in Chhattisgarh, 34% in Uttarakhand, 29% in Uttar Pradesh, 23% in Rajasthan and 20% in West Bengal and Himachal Pradesh. Besides, nearly 17% of the food samples tested in Bihar and Chandigarh, 16% in Nagaland, 15% in Punjab, Madhya Pradesh and Orissa, 14% in Haryana, 12% in Tamil Nadu and 10% in Maharashtra were found to be adulterated. Interestingly, adulteration rates in Delhi were low at 4%, while in Karnataka it was just 5%.

FSSAI examined over 1.17 lakh samples of food articles and tested them in 2010. The result was shocking that around 13% of the samples were found to be contaminated.

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The Expert’s Thought: Its a major concern which has to be urgently overlooked by the government. The government must consider fast track courts for food adulterators, with harsh punishments. Such people condemn the public to ill-health and diseases. Not to mention harming future generations.

Technical errors delay online licensing, registration process for new FBOs

The procedure for application of local license/registration for starting or renewing a food business operation in Mumbai and Thane was supposed to go online on Saturday. However, due to technical difficulties with the software it has been postponed to the next week.

This was informed by Suresh Annapure, assistant commissioner, food, Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Thane division.

“Food and drugs commissioner Mahesh Zagade would be inaugurating the software,” Annapure informed.

Currently, the provision for making an online application is only present for central licenses, and Maharashtra will be the first state to have local licenses and registration procedure placed online.

[SOURCE]

The Expert’s Thought: Though late, its a great idea by the FDA to have online system so that there would be less inconvenience to the consumers.

Food and Safety Authority of India to invite suggestions

The Food And Safety Authority of India is issuing shortly a notification inviting suggestions from the public and trade bodies regarding 400 standards fixed for various food items,a top official said today. The present Act had been brought amalgamating seven different acts concerned with the food industry,V.N.Gaur, Chief Executive Officer of the Authority, said. “We have taken the old standards into consideration during the framing of the act.We are not happy with the present standards and there is scope for improvement and polishing”. he said participating in an awareness programme on Food Safety Standards Act.

The suggestions will be examined by a scientific committee,under which a panel of 120 scientists are working. The CEO rejected the argument that the Act would come in the way of feeding people,starving in the country. He said the issue(setting standards will come in the way of feeding poor people)was discussed even at the World Food summit where a resolve was made to bring down number of people suffering from chronic hunger from a billion to 50 per cent by 2015. While Government’s philosophy was not to hang wrongdoers,it wanted punishment to be deterrent for violators, he said. “We want the stake holders to come along with us.

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The Expert’s Thought: The Scientific community and expert’s from Food Industry have been asked to submit reviews and suggestions regards to food safety.

Food Safety Act: hotels, eateries asked to register soon

In a major step towards an effective implementation of the Food Safety and Standards Act, all hotels, eateries and road side food vendors have been asked to register their particulars with food safety officials at the office of the Deputy Director of Health Services in Viswanathapuram here.

J. Suguna, who has been appointed as the designated officer of food safety for Madurai district, has said on Sunday that the Food Safety Act will be strictly implemented in both urban and rural areas and officials now have now powers to enforce the rules.

Ten food safety officers were appointed for Madurai Corporation and16 food safety officers there exclusively for rural areas in the district, she said.

“All the 26 officers meant for implementing the Food Safety Act will check the licences of hotels, restaurants, eateries and petty shops supplying food through roadside vehicles. Since public health is the main concern of this act, the officers will function in their respective areas to see that food hygiene and other mandatory aspects are followed,” Dr. Suguna said.

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The Expert’s Thought: It’s been a year since FSSAI has been launched and yet many companies, food industries are waiting for the last day. Hope, they act fast and wise. The tentative date for last date for registration is August, 2012

Understanding Food Safety & Standards Act for processed & packaged food

Changing lifestyles, growing income of the middle-class and rising production of fruits, vegetables and milk, are turning north India, comprising Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh and parts of Jammu & Kashmir, into hub of the food processing industry.

Financial incentives from Himachal Pradesh and Haryana and liberal policies of the Punjab Government have helped attract big players to this region. In addition, a large number of local brands have also strengthened their hold over the market. The Indian food market is set to more than double by 2025. The market size for the food consumption category in India is expected to grow from US$155 billion in 2005 to US$344 billion in 2025 at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.1 per cent.

Investment target

In India, the food processing industry is one of the largest in terms of production, consumption and export prospects. The government has set an investment target of Rs 1,00,000 crore for the food processing sector by 2015. This is expected to almost double the country’s presence in the global food trade to three per cent. The investments of one lakh crore, as estimated by the government will, undoubtedly, catapult the growth of this sector, and put it at the higher growth trajectory.

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The Expert’s Thought: FSSAI is the milestone in the Food Industry. If it is effectively implemented, it would ensure food security, food safety and Hygiene aspects of the Industry.

Despite SC order, FSSAI’s scientific panel has 3 members from industry

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is yet to take out three industry members from its scientific panel.
This has been discovered in spite of the fact that earlier in February 2011, the Supreme Court in its order sought the removal of industry members from the scientific panels and scientific committee of the FSSAI and instead have independent members.

The Authority had re-constituted the panels which had 20 industry members. Out of these 20 members, the FSSAI excluded few members and reabsorbed others after completion/termination of their services to the industries by taking them into the panels as industry consultants.

However, the status of the three members remained unchanged till today. These members who are still on board belong to private organisations. They are Dr Deepa Bhajekar, proprietor and chief executive officer, Micro Chem Laboratory, Mumbai; Dr Mridul Salagme, managing director, IADFAC Laboratories, Bangalore; and Rashmi Kulshrestha, expert in pesticides residues and contaminants, food and pharma regulatory consultant, Regulatory Wisdom.

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The Expert’s Thought: Its a sad news for the entire Industry that industry representatives are not included in Scientific panel for FSSAI.  Its may lead to a misrepresentation of the Food and Beverage and Health – Hygiene sector. However, the SC jurisdiction is abiding and cannot be challenged.