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Archive for February 2012

Our codes already go hand in hand with the FSSA

Advertisements are playing an important role today as more and more companies are coming up with new products to meet growing demands of consumers. But in the process, they tend to deviate from ethics and fall under the “misleading ads” category, which has shaken the industry.

Archana Aroor, in conversation with Allan Collaco, secretary-general, the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI), a self-regulation mechanism body, explores more on the topic

The Union government is looking to set up a separate inter-ministerial committee for checking misleading ads? As a council member what would you suggest?
Yes, ASCI’s suggestion is that we have been self-regulating on ads, since 26 years. We are willing to work with the government to ensure that consumers’ interests are protected completely. For this, we have held a conference in New Delhi on Nov 17, 2011, to discuss the various issues and to look at the major challenges faced. What is being conveyed to us from the conference was that ASCI needed to look into the speed that it takes for checking misleading ads.

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The Expert’s Thought: Advertisements are everywhere. Consumers have a need and advertisements direct the consumer to the company that has a solution for their need.They cater to your physical senses and bend your mind to what is possible.

New law makes Commissioner of Food Safety licensing authority

The Chennai Corporation will no longer issue food licences due to the Food Safety and Standards Act (FSSA) replacing the erstwhile Prevention of Food Adulteration Act (PFAA). It has directed hotels, restaurants and retailers in the city to approach the office of the Commissioner of Food Safety for issue of food licences henceforth. The FSSA designates the Commissioner of Food Safety as the licensing authority.
Hotels, bakeries, tea-shops, sweet and savouries stalls, departmental stores, vegetable and fruit vendors, everybody selling food items would be coming under the purview of the new Act, say those in various trade associations.
Associations including the Chennai Hotels Owners Association and Tamil Nadu Vanigar Sangakalin Peramaipu have raised objections to provisions relating to fine and penalty clauses, the amount of licence fee fixed under the Act and the standards of various products.
K.T. Srinivasa Raja, president, Chennai Hotels Owners Association, said the uniform licence fee would affect small hotels. “We don’t know why the government is treating this as revenue instead of as nominal fee. We have already sent a letter to the Central government in this regard and hope we would hear something positive from them,” he said.

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The Expert’s Thought: I wish that the new law would make up the flaws in the Indian Food Industry.

Mumbai to host seminar on FSSA awareness for retail industry on Feb 22

The Retailers’ Association of India (RAI) and the Mumbai chapter of the Association of Food Scientists and Technologists (India) – AFSTI are organising a day-long seminar on Food Safety and Standards Act (FSSA) at Hotel Hilton Mumbai International Airport, Andheri (East), on February 22, 2012.

Those participating in the seminar can interact with experts from the retail industry and regulators and do their bit towards the implementation of the new FSSA regulations. Expected attendees include the chief executive officers, owners, legal, technical and operational heads of firms in the retail industry, merchandising heads, independent retailers and retail managers.

The seminar will commence at 9 am with the inauguration, welcome address and initial remarks by the organisers. S B Dongare of the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) will deliver a special address and Mahesh Zagade, commissioner, Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Maharashtra, will be the chief guest.

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The Expert’s Thought: Such seminars would be useful for the Food Industry and would provide them the insight of the Industry, the law and how to follow it.

FSSAI makes it convenient for food importers; payment system goes online

The long-awaited online payment gateway system for food importers introduced by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) for convenient processing of payment finally came into effect from February 15, 2012.

A copy of this information has been sent to the Central Board of Excise and Customs, department of revenue, ministry of finance, and National Institute of Smart Governance (NISG), the FSSAI has revealed on its website recently.

Speaking to FnB News, Shailesh B Nimbalkar, representative of FSSAI in Mumbai, stated, “The online payment gateway system had been operationalised on Dec 28, 2011, and the payment towards lab analysis by the food importers would be effective from this month.”

He explained the process of registration, thus; the importers should fill a form and attach all the necessary documents required for the food sample processing. Following which, a consent letter would be sent to them after review of the documents by the FSSAI through the officers’ online account. After which, the importers would be eligible for applying.

“A user name and a password would then be provided to them,” Nimbalkar informed. He added that the importers could pay through online henceforth and check their status 24/7, once they submit the details of the samples.

[SOURCE]

The Expert’s Thought: It’s nice to hear that India being an IT-Dominant county is finally using its IT capability for serving many Government offices.

Ensure food safety by March 7, roadside eateries told

The Food and Drug Administration Department of Food Safety Directorate has fixed March 7 as the deadline for owners of roadside, small eateries and food vendors using pushcarts to fall in line with the provisions of the Food Safety and Standards Act of 2006 to ensure hygiene and food safety.

Designated Officer for Food Safety R. Kadiravan, Food Safety Officers K. Chandran and R. Govindarajan on Thursday sensitised owners of small, roadside eateries and food stalls on pushcarts to the provisions in the Food Safety and Standards Act of 2006 compared to the repealed Prevention of Food Adulteration Act.

The owners will have to apply for licence and registration before March 7 failing which they will be evicted from their places of business. If the vendor has applied for licence and there is a delay in its issuance then he/she is at liberty to carry on with the business and the Act insulates him/her from action. The Department will provide identity cards with photo and certificates to them.

[SOURCE]

The Expert’s Thought: The deadline is more important than its effective implementation and compliance by the food industry.

New food safety licence irks traders

With the Union Health Ministry making it mandatory for all traders and dealers of food items to obtain a new licence under the new Food Safety and Standards Act (FSSA), traders in Bangalore say it will burden them further.

The Food Safety and Standards Act (FSSA), passed by Parliament in 2006, replaced the erstwhile Prevention of Food Adulteration Act (PFAA) with effect from August 5, 2011. This means that all traders should obtain the new licence by August 4, 2012 failing which they will attract a six-month imprisonment along with a hefty penalty.

At an interaction with C.R. Srinivasa Gowda, Joint Director of State Public Health Institute on Wednesday, members of Federation of Karnataka Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FKCCI) expressed their displeasure over the new licence being made mandatory.

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The Expert’s Thought: The FSSAI Law is a milestone in Indian Food Industry however there are many challeneges ranging from effective implementation to regulation.

Equinox launches Hygiene Shield, a certification standard for food industry

Mumbai-based Equinox Labs has launched the unique concept of Hygiene Shield, which according to the company, is an ideal certification standard for the food industry which is still staggering way behind when it comes to ensuring food quality.
“The Concept of Hygiene Shield was born 2 years ago, Equinox Labs soft-launched the concept four months ago. There was an overwhelming response from the market. The Hygiene Shield was officially launched on January 26, 2012,” informed Ashwin Bhadri, head, business relations, Equinox Labs, to FnB News.

According to Bhadri, one of the major problems being faced by the existing food safety standards in the country like ISO (International Organisation for Standardisation) 22000, HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point System) and now FSSC (Food Safety System Certification) is that these are not followed by majority of the food businesses because of their inherent complexities and cost.

Bhadri believes that Hygiene Shield is a physical proof which would showcase that a particular establishment is hygiene certified.

[SOURCE]

The Expert’s Thought: Hygiene Shield, a representation of Hygiene Certification, is an answer to all the above mentioned concerns. The Hygiene Shield is a Physical Representation of the fact that this particular establishment is Hygiene certified, safe for human usage and its products are safe too.

Hooch tragedy points to rampant prescription drug abuse

The recent toxic liquor tragedy killing 33 persons in Cuttack and Khurda districts has brought to the spotlight at least eight types of medicines being misused by addicts in various parts of the state.

The latest deaths occurred due to methyl alcohol in Epee-Carm Carminative and concentrated Cinnamon water. That may be a routine misuse going horribly wrong, because ethyl alcohol got replaced by methyl alcohol and the latter is poisonous.

Doctors associated with de-addiction medication said abuse of cough syrups (codeine), anti-depressants, sleeping tablets, inhalants, anti-spasmodic, tonics, Opioid pain relievers and stimulants for intoxication is widely prevalent in the state.

Dr Surjeet Sahoo, a psychiatrist and de-addiction specialist, said cough syrups are perhaps the most widely used intoxicants by addicts. “We get lots of teenaged patients addicted to cough syrups.

[SOURCE]

The Expert’s Thought: Gujarat had banned alcohol consumption since 1961 as a homage to Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. However bootlegged alcohol, known as Hooch, is widely available, allegedly under the patronage of the local police. Gujarat has witnessed several occasions of alcohol poisoning, claiming the lives of more than 400 people after the ban was enforced.

Food authority to set standards for alcoholic drinks

Having framed safety standards for a variety of food products from honey to dietary supplements, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is in the process of drawing up standards for alcoholic beverages—right from the amount of alcohol content to the quality of grain used to produce it.

The authority’s expert group is at present working on the draft standards and officials say if things go as per schedule, new standards for all kinds of alcoholic beverages — spirits, wines and beer — should be notified by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare by July 1 along with those for health drinks and caffeinated beverages (energy drinks).

“…any item one ingests is to be classified as food. That is why we have decided to take up safety standards for alcohol. The standards will deal with everything from alcohol content to physical characteristics like boiling point, permissible amount of water, and even the quality of grains to be used for brewing beer. We will also frame standards for wines,” said a senior FSSAI official. The standards will also deal with the permissible amounts of moisture in the beverage and presence of pesticide residues in the bottled product.

The FSSAI has been mulling standards for alcoholic beverages for several months now, but the Distillers Association of Maharashtra had moved the Bombay High Court challenging its powers to legislate on alcohol on the grounds that it is the prerogative of the states to legislate on alcohol and that there are already a slew of state laws governing the manufacture and sale of liquor.

Source: Indian Express

The Expert’s Thought: Its good news that Government is thinking over the laws for alcohol regulations. This would bring less death due to bad level of alcohol.

India’s wine industry booming

Standing in front of a wine tasting class of restaurant managers, wine importers and producers, Cavaliere Subhash Arora declares: “People in India waste too much time in matching wines to food.”

The crowd looks up from their booklets filled with notes about each wine and stares at him curiously. Matching wines with food is why many of them are there. But most understand the frustration of trying to match wines with the spices in traditional Indian dishes.

“We had a dinner last night with the Indian Wine Academy and we heard members say it was hard,” Michele Shah, an Italy-based wine critic, told the audience about a dinner of 44 enthusiasts at the Hyatt Regency hotel in Delhi. “There aren’t that many wines to match to Indian food spices.”

Shah says it is best to find a rounder and fuller wine with pairing Indian dishes.

“In particular, wines that are fruit driven and have softer, velvety tannins are a better match,” Shah said.

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The Expert’s Thought: The Wine Industry in India is on the growth curve. This report traces the development of the Wine Industry in India and its efforts to become a global entity.

Food Safety Act will protect consumers

A two-day national seminar on food safety which aims at creating greater awareness on the Food Safety and Security Act (FSSA) commenced here on Saturday.

The topic for the seminar was ‘Emerging trends’ in Food Production and Safety. Food Safety and Security Authority of India CEO VN Gaur spoke on the additional provisions in the Act that make it more powerful than the previous Acts on food safety.

This is an integrated law with an autonomous authority to act on it. There will also be a fast track judicial system to enforce its provisions. “The act can work only if the people become watchdogs,” said Institute of Hotel Management’s former principal BP Tripathy. The FSSA will act as a subset of the Consumer Protection Act, he said.

Gaur spoke on the the apprehension of many about the licence raj because of the Act. “By introducing the Food Safety Act we have to pay a price, but in the absence of such an Act, we would have paid a greater price,” said Gaur. Statistics show that around 30 per cent of diseases are food-related, 20 per cent of hotel food is unsafe and around 30 per cent fruits perish due to lack of storage facilities. These figures make it necessary to go for better measures on food safety, he said.

With the increasing use of pesticides, the focus is shifting to organic farming. Therefore, the seminar will focus on cost effective hygiene. Deliberations on new food products and GM crops will be done. There will also be discussion on new packaging materials, shelf-life enhancing technologies.

SOURCE: IBN LIve

The Expert’s Thought: Good Initiative.

Implement food safety act

The two-day seminar on “Emerging trends in food production and safety” that concluded here on Sunday strongly urged the State Government to implement the Food Safety Act and post a senior officer as Food Safety Commissioner. An officer, not less than the rank of Secretary, should be posted as the Food Safety Commissioner, the experts unanimously agreed at the end of the seminar which was addressed by Health Secretary Anu Garg.

There was consensus that there is need for meeting food safety standardisation keeping in view the national and regional needs and inspection as well as surveillance programmes must be strengthened. Ensuring health surveillance effectively will make risk management decisions easy, the seminar concluded and called for systems on hazard analysis and critical control point system.

The seminar was jointly organised by Institute of Quality and Environment Services Pvt Ltd, Rotary Club of Bhubaneswar Heritage and Institute of Hotel Management, Bhubaneswar.

[SOURCE]: IBN Live

The Expert’s Thought: Food Safety Act is one of the best drafted laws in the country. It has ensured better consumer safety, health and preventing the needs of the better hygiene.

Food regulator showcause to majors over tall claims in ads

Tall claims in advertisements by major food product manufacturers and pharma majors have finally caught the eye of the country’s food regulator. The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has issued showcause notices to their promoters to justify their claims failing which they will be liable for action against them

Those in the FSSAI’s firing line are advertisements for brands such as Complan, Pediasure, Bournvita Little Champs, Maggie Noodles, Top Ramen, Nutrichoice biscuits, Horlicks Juniors and Heart Care among others. Their

promoters have been given a fortnight’s deadline to respond to the allegations regarding various violation of code of advertisement for food items, supplements and propriety foods.

Sources in the Health Ministry told The Pioneer that the Authority’s move, though much delayed, was taken after it noted that the firms had been blatantly violating various codes on advertising of foods that prohibit them from depicting personal changes in intelligence, physical ability or exceptional recognition unless scientifically substantiated.

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The Expert’s Thought: Mis-branding is a crime and moreover you lose the trust of the consumers. Ethical practices has to be adopted for better market value.

FSSAI issues advisory to states clarifying on renewal of expired licences

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has issued an advisory to the states giving clarification on the expiry of licences prior to August 5, 2011, which have been applied for renewal to the concerned authorities.

A number of queries have been raised by Food Business Operators (FBOs) regarding applications for the renewal of the licence under FPO/PFA/MMPO/MFPO or any other Order which have been repealed after the enactment of the FSS Act and applied for renewal well in time but were under processing with the concerned officials in the Centre as well as state governments.

The Authority informed that these licences were being treated as new applicants. The matter had been examined and it had been decided that all such cases, where the FBO had applied for renewal of licence within a time limit and delay for issuance of licence could not be attributed to the FBO but to the time taken in processing the application by concerned licensing officer, may be considered under the category of renewal of licence. However, the fee & documents, if any, would be taken as per the requirement for each case.

SOURCE: FnBnews

The Expert’s Thought: The states should ensure that all  Food  Business  operations get themselves registered soon.

Traders stage protest against Food Safety Act

Food producers, dealers, traders and merchants joined hands to stage demonstrations simultaneously at 32 places across Tamil Nadu on Thursday demanding that the Central Government must postpone the implementation of the Food Safety and Standards (FSS) Act 2006, which was notified and implemented from August 5, 2011.

In Madurai, members of trade and industry bodies such as Madurai District Tiny and Small Scale Industries Association, The Tamil Nadu Foodgrains Merchants Association (TNFMA), Tamil Nadu Vanikar Sangangalin Perammaippu and Tamil Nadu Vanikar Sangangalin Peravai besides associations representing farmers and commodity dealers took part in the agitation.

TO CORPORATES

Terming it as beneficial only to corporates, the agitators said that the food standards under the new Act had been drafted without factoring in local ground conditions and were suited only for Western countries, where even a small farmer possessed over 100 acres.

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The Expert’s Thought:Its very unfortunate that the people of India for whom the law was framed are unhappy. The GOI should figure it out what is their concern with the Act.

Milk safety as a global market factor

Analysts cite developing nations as the main source of world milk production growth over the next five years. Researchers at Rabobank say more than 80 percent of new milk will come from emerging markets, with China and India alone accounting for about 40 percent.

There are two important factors to remember when contemplating the implications of that kind of growth: 1) Even should emerging markets deliver, they still will not have enough milk to meet rising domestic demand, and 2) emerging markets, particularly China and India, face major milk safety questions that could both slow their milk output gains and encourage purchasing of import rather than locally produced products.

It is already happening in China. And India could find itself in the same position if it does not adequately address recent reports of rampant milk adulteration.

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The Expert’s Thought: Dairy products are perishable foods and must be stored in the refrigerator. Proper storage and handling of dairy foods will prolong shelf life and ensure food safety.

Ministry, FSSAI at loggerheads over import of damaged, impure food grains

If the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), the country’s food regulatory body, is to be believed, the ministry of consumer affairs, food & public distribution is not concerned about the health of the people of India and continues to back the import of food grains that are not of good quality.

An importer from New Delhi, who spoke to FnB News via telephone on the strict condition of anonymity, said, “We cannot pinpoint who is responsible for the import of damaged food grains and those that contain hazardous foreign matter and impurities, but yes, that is rampant here.”

“When quizzed about it, the importers of these sub-standard food grains offer the flimsy excuse that India is not producing enough of the same. It is not that the farmers in this country cannot produce adequate and high-quality food grains,” he pointed out.

The ministry, backed by a group of influential importers, had appealed to the FSSAI to consider relaxing the existing norms for the import of food grains (including wheat, maize, jowar and bajra) and pulses, although they contained extraneous matter, including animal and mineral matter.

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The Expert’s Thought: Its sad that the trade is getting  affected  between the two ministries war. This is absolutely affecting the  country brand image

FSSAI rejects Ministry’s bid to back import of ‘sub-standard’ food grains

If the Consumer Affairs Ministry had its say, imported food grains and pulses containing hazardous foreign matter would have made its way on to the Indian platter. In fact, import of damaged grains too would have been a possibility – on the pretext of the country witnessing inadequate food grains’ production.

The Ministry, besides a number of importers, had called for a relaxation in the existing set norms for the import of food grains including pulses, even if it had extraneous matter or impurities.

But citing health reasons, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) – the country’s food regulator, turned down the Ministry’s request.

Sources in the FSSAI confirmed to The Pioneer that besides the Consumer Ministry, various food grains and pulses importers had been representing to the Authority urging it to be “lenient” in implementing the standards in respect of foreign matter “including animal origin” found in the food items.

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The Expert’s Thought: The rollback of the Imports would lead to trade deficit worth billions of rupees but at the same time food safety of the consumer should be taken care off.

With 80,000 licences issued, Maharashtra FDA leads licensing under FSSA

Maharashtra is one of the leading states with regard to converting the old licences under Prevention of Food Adulteration, Act, 1954, into those under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006.
Till now over 80,000 PFA licences from the existing 1,07,000, have been converted. This was confirmed by Maharashtra food safety commissioner Mahesh Zagade, in a one-on-one with FnB News.

The new licensing regime was initiated on August 5, 2011, when the FSSA had come into force. It aims to bring the food industry under one umbrella by scrapping all old licences.

Now, Maharashtra FDA (Food and Drug Administration) targets March 31, 2012, for completing the licensing and registration procedure in the state. Although, the work done till now is more than the combined effort put together by enforcement wings across India, claimed a source from the industry connected to the FDA.

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The Expert’s Thought: Excellent work is done by Maharashtra FDA under the able Leadership of Mahesh Zagade. However, the major task lies in the fact of getting people involved and it’s effectiveness  practically.