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Archive for July 2012

India: FSSA ineffective in curbing food adulteration cases

The newly notified Food Safety & Standards Act, 2006, does not seem to be effective in curbing adulteration of food articles as is the case with previous Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954.

This has become evident from statistics which show that the Government of Kerala has failed to take stringent action against the issue during the period 2004-2012. An RTI application filed by the Human Rights Defence Forum (HRDF), Kerala, has revealed the details.

Explaining to F&B News, D B Binu, general secretary, HRDF, Kerala, said, “Surprisingly, out of the 95,261 samples tested between 2004 and 2012, 2,190 food samples were found to be adulterated and authorities initiated action in only 1,912 cases.”

Binu explained that the information was revealed to the organisation based on the RTI filed by it and further probe in the case evolved based on the number of food adulteration cases being reported in Kerala by the media.

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New Delhi, India: Food safety regulations to be enforced in city

After a year delay, the Delhi Government has decided to implement the Food Safety and Standards (Licensing and Registration of Food Businesses) Regulations 2011 from the first week of August. This means food safety licence would be mandatory for tea stalls, dhabas, fruit and vegetable sellers, grocery shops, milk vendors, canteens, caterers, restaurants, hotels, food processors in the national Capital. Even trucks and other vehicles engaged in transporting food will have to obtain licences to this effect.

On the delay in the implementation of the Regulation, Health Minister Ashok Kumar Walia told The Pioneer that the implementation had been extended six month by the Central Government. “As far as Delhi is concerned, a Hyderabad-based company will open six counters in the Capital so that hawkers and vendors could be registered,” Walia said, adding the Food Safety and Standards Act would ensure improved quality of food for the consumers and censure misleading claims and advertisement by those in food business.

The implementation of Food Safety and Standards Act will ensure improved quality of food for the consumers and censure misleading claims and advertisement by those in food business.

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FSSAI gives in, extends licensing deadline by six months; FBOs relieved

 

Responding favourably to various representations from all over the country, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has granted food business operators (FBOs) a six-month extension to the August 5, 2012, deadline for complying with the licensing and registration rules laid down by the Food Safety and Standards Regulations (FSSA), 2011.

While there is jubilation over the move in the industry, FnB News spoke to few representatives, mostly over telephone, for their reactions. Prabodh Halde, VP, Association of Food Scientists and Technologists (India), Mumbai chapter, said, “It is a welcome move. All food business operators will now be on their toes. When there was nothing, we got a year’s extension, and when things didn’t really progress along expected lines, we have to accept this six-month extension and hurry.”

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India: Food safety law to come into force from Aug 4

Senior officials of Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) here on Saturday informed traders, food processors and industrialists of the state that Food Safety Standards Act (FSSA) would come into force from August 4, 2012, under which everyone in the food production and supply chain has to be registered and seek license from the local area authorities, state and central government as per turnover and business.

At a programme organized by the Bihar Industries Association (BIA) on its premises, the joint director, FSSAI, Kolkata, D P Guha, said everyone in the food supply chain, including small traders, hawkers, itinerant vendors, dhaba owners, roadside snack and tea stalls, apart from other small and big producers, traders and suppliers will have to get registered under the Act before August 4.

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India: VTA sends letter to FSSAI seeking extension to licensing deadline

With August 5, 2012, the last date for compliance with Licensing and Registration under the Food Safety and Standards Regulations (FSSR), 2011, just around the corner, industry groups are urging the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), the country’s apex food regulator, to extend the deadline. In fact, one of them, the Nagpur-based Vidarbha Taxpayers’ Association (VTA), has called them pro-FDI regulations, which could bring the Inspector Raj back, and expressed hope that the deadline is extended by at least a year.

Tejinder Singh Renu, honorary secretary, VTA, and Nagpur Residential Hotels Association (NRHA), has sent FnB News a copy of a letter titled, “Appeal for extension to one year deadline expiring on August 4, 2012, as stipulated under Regulation 2.1.2 of Food Safety and Standards (Licensing and Registration of Food Businesses) Regulations, 2011.”

Technical and legal hurdles in obtaining product approval certificates, which are mandatory for getting the new FSSA licence, are forcing the newly formed Tamil Nadu Food Supplement Manufacturers and Traders Association (TFSMTA) to launch a legal battle over the issue, it is learnt. According to Thomas Philip, the advisor of the Association and the managing director of Stamin Millennium Nutraceuticals, the stringent norms in the Food Safety and Standard Act (FSSA) 2006 obstructs the growth of the industry and creates problems to the manufacturers. He argues that there is no need of product approvals and the provision should be quashed.

Technical and legal hurdles in obtaining product approval certificates, which are mandatory for getting the new FSSA licence, are forcing the newly formed Tamil Nadu Food Supplement Manufacturers and Traders Association (TFSMTA) to launch a legal battle over the issue, it is learnt.

According to Thomas Philip, the advisor of the Association and the managing director of Stamin Millennium Nutraceuticals, the stringent norms in the Food Safety and Standard Act (FSSA) 2006 obstructs the growth of the industry and creates problems to the manufacturers. He argues that there is no need of product approvals and the provision should be quashed.

“Our Association will approach the court seeking amendment to quash the provisions demanding product approvals. Government is now insisting product approvals (PA) for even ordinary products like milk protein, whey protein etc., which have been in the market for decades. Previously, Prevention of Food Adulteration (PFA) licence was enough for manufacturing food products. PFA licences were issued by the district health officials. Now for getting FSSA licence, we have to submit PA certificates for which we should approach the Delhi FFSA office,” he told Pharmabiz.

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India: In-principle approval for gutkha ban in state

The state cabinet has agreed in principle to ban the sale of gutkha and paan masala in the state. It has asked the Food and Drugs Department to come up with a formal proposal in the next weekly cabinet meeting. The issue was mooted even as the cabinet decided to upgrade dental health care in the state, when it was pointed out that gutkha was one of the major reasons for oral diseases such as cancer. Three senior ministers confirmed the development.

The state had unsuccessfully attempted to ban gutkha in 2002 first and then in 2008, but encountered legal hurdles to the ban. In 2010, the state banned the sale of gutkha and cigarettes within 100 metres of schools and colleges. States such as Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Goa and Bihar have banned the sale of gutkha.

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Chennai to host RAI meet on FSSA; licensing and registration the focus

 

With August 5, 2012 – the deadline by which all food business operators (FBOs) across the country have to obtain a valid licence or registration for each of their establishments under the Food Safety and Standards Act (FSSA), 2006 – just around the corner, the Retailers’ Association of India (RAI), in association with the Mumbai and Chennai chapters of the Association of Food Scientists and Technologists (India) [AFST(I)], is organising a one-day seminar on the Act on July 27, 2012, at Hotel GRT Grand, Chennai.

“The seminar will bring industry experts, officials from the regulatory body and other participants together under one roof. Its objective is to implement the Act and the Food Safety and Standards Regulations (FSSR), 2011,” said Gautam Jain, head, accounts and finance, RAI, and the main contact for delegate registration for the event.

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India: TNCCI meet on FSSA lauds Act, takes note of implementation bottlenecks

The Tamil Nadu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (TNCCI) along with Southern India Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Chennai, organised a Workshop on Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006, and Rules and Regulations 2011, recently in Madurai.

Chamber president N Jegatheesan said that the chamber welcomed the new Act by the Central government which was intended to provide safe and quality food in hygienic conditions to the people. The chamber had submitted several memorandums to the government for removal of many irritants and procedural bottlenecks in the new legislation, which were under the consideration of the government, he pointed out.

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Food Safety and Standards Authority of India to reward customers on info over wrong claims of manufacturers

Any information regarding misleading or extravagant claims about a food product may earn you a reward of Rs 500. The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has come up with this idea to bring about awareness among the customers and to keep a check on violations in manufacturing of packaged food products.

Under the provision of the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006, informants about violations by food manufacturers can be rewarded but it is only now that the FSSAI has decided to get the public into the picture – to seek information from them and reward them.

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India: Key flaw in FSSA, FBO guidelines missing

The Food Safety and Standards Act (FSSA), 2006, that has been drawing flak from different sections of the food & beverage industry, has not impacted the confectionery industry in a big way but according to B K Gurbani, chairman of the Andhra Pradesh-based confectionery maker Gurbani Group, “We do have minor objections to it.”

He goes on to add, “Since the Food Products Order (FPO), the predecessor to the existing Act, has been repealed, we have noticed one major flaw: all the guidelines of the FPO have not been incorporated in the FSSA.”

Further with regard to the contentious issue of licensing and registration, Gurbani states, “Yes, licensing and registration are indeed contentious issues. The new chapters on them in the Act are ambiguous.”

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Food adulteration menace: FSSAI drafts policy to reward whistleblowers

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is giving final touches to a draft reward scheme for whistleblowers providing information on cases of food adulteration. This was informed to FnB News in a chat over telephone by an official from FDA Maharashtra.

The notification has been proposed to cover areas such as information that would qualify for rewards under the scheme, persons who would be able to furnish information under the scheme, mechanism for receiving the information under the scheme and further processing of information, and disbursement of the reward and fund allotment.

As per Section 95 of the FSS Act – “The state government may empower the commissioner of food safety to order payment reward to be paid to a person who renders assistance in the detection of the offence or the apprehension of the offender from such fund and in such manner to be prescribed by the state government.”

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India: Few vendors in Ahmedabad want FSSA licences

The Centre’s deadline for registration of food joints in Ahmedabad under Food Safety and Standard Act (FSSA) is nearing, but the civic body has not been able to get many vendors to register themselves. In view of their callousness, the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) has decided to aggressively work on registrations this week onwards.

It was in August 2011 that the central government had implemented FSSA. The civic body was then given time till August 2012 to complete the registration for licences for all food vendors in the city. Interestingly, under Prevention of Food Adulteration (PFA) Act, around 7,000 vendors were registered earlier. With the implementation of FSSA, a total of around 35,000 food vendors have to be registered, out of which just 4,000 have been registered.

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India: FSSAI working on evolving standards for imported food, says Chandramouli

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is working on a mechanism to evolve standards for domestically consumed food items imported from abroad, Dr K Chandramouli, chairperson, FSSAI, said at an ASSOCHAM event held here on Tuesday.

“Our food exporters have to adhere to various stringent set of rules and regulations for exporting food, while we do not strain the same sort of stringency on imported food and thus it is imperative to evolve standards for domestically consumed food as we have been having a lackadaisical approach towards setting standards,” said Dr Chandramouli while sharing his views on initiatives being taken by FSSAI in the areas of regulation in the food sector while addressing an FMCG Summit organised by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM).

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Mumbai, India: FSO fury flares in Mumbai, across India; 18 states to protest

The controversial implementation of the Food Safety & Standards Regulations 2011, has taken a fiery turn with FBOs (food business operators) in Mumbai, who have so far been out of the protests, going to town about the harassment that they are facing at the hands of food safety officers (FSOs).

The situation in Mumbai, a city where skyscrapers jostle for space with sprawling slums of Dharavi (also a hub for the snack industry), is interesting. On the one hand, FBOs operating from the thickly populated bylanes of the city, have to contend with rodents, dust and overflowing garbage bins over which they have no control, and on the other, they are made to shell out hefty fines “for unhygienic conditions and improper labelling.”
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Gutkha provides govt with food for thought

An observation by the Supreme Court that gutkha is food has set off a tussle between the Health Ministry and the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India over regulating the product. The FSSAI wants gutkha banned but the ministry would rather have the former laying down food safety standards for the product.

Gutkha is believed responsible for 90 per cent of oral cancers in India; the industry is worth an estimated Rs 8,000 crore. In a case earlier this year concerning its packaging, the Supreme Court observed that since pan masala, gutkha or supari are eaten for taste and nourishment, they are all food within the meaning of Section 2(v) of the PFA Act.

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India : Hype claims, face court

FSSAI initiates legal action against 15 top firms for declaring wrong nutritional value

In a first, the country’s top food regulator has initiated legal proceedings against as many as 15 top companies —  makers of some of the most popular food products — for exaggerated claims and misleading advertisements.

The move comes close on the heels of the UK banning the Kellog’s ‘Special K’ advertisement for “misleading women” about the calorific value of a typical bowl of the breakfast cereal.

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Mumbai, India: Food outlets told to register with FDA by August 5

The state Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has given food business operators a deadline of August 5 to get registered with it as per the Food Safety and Standards Authority Act of India (FSSAI).

With around 45 lakh food establishments across Maharashtra, the FDA has insisted that not only restaurants and hotels but even roadside food vendors must apply for a valid licence.

“It is usually the small shops and vendors that pose a problem in terms of licence. As per the FSSAI, anybody involved in the sale of consumables should have a valid licence and be registered with the FDA,” said Suresh Deshmukh, assistant commissioner (Food) of FDA, Maharashtra. Deshmukh said the FDA had issued around 1.6 lakh licenses in the state in the past nine months.

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India: Gujarat FDCA launches awareness campaign on new FS&S Regulations, 2011

Amidst the chaotic opposition to the new Food Safety and Standards Regulations, 2011, the Food and Drugs Control Administration (FDCA), Gujarat, has taken a positive step towards ensuring acceptance of the new law by launching an awareness campaign on it across the state recently.

This was informed to FnB News in a chat over telephone by H G Koshiya, commissioner, FDCA, Gujarat. “The campaign was mooted following an opposition letter written to the Gujarat Chamber of Commerce and Industries by the Madhya Pradesh Chamber of Commerce and Industries against the new Food Safety Act,” Koshiya said.

He mentioned that it was not a difficult task to have a control over the situation as we acted instantly on the same whereby clarifications were given to few questions raised by the members of the industries.

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India: Ban on milk products’ import from China extended for year

The Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) on Monday issued the gazette notification extending the ban on import of milk and milk products from China till June 2013 in view of their poor quality standards.

The move came over a week after the top food regulator advised the Government to do so in view of reports of poor quality standards of milk in China.

On Friday, The Pioneer had reported that though the Food Safety and Standard Authority of India (FSSAI) had recommended ban on milk and milk products on June 22, the DGFT under the Commerce and Trade Ministry failed to do even by June 24 when the deadline had expired.

Waking up to the lapse, the DGFT has now issued the notification. It says, “Prohibition on import of milk and milk products (including chocolates and chocolate products and candies/ confectionary/ food preparations with milk or milk solids as an ingredient) from China is further extended till 23.6.2013 or until further orders, whichever is earlier.”

It was in September 2008 that India had banned milk and milk products from China for the first time for three months following reports of deaths and diseases in China due to the consumption of the milk-laced with melamine, a fatal chemical. Till then the ban has continued.

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