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Archive for August 2012

India, Mumbai: Food Safety and Quality

 

MUMBAI: Out of the total 20,359 samples of food articles which were examined across states during 2011-12, 1,950 were found to be adulterated, as per information provided by the Minister of State for Health & Family Welfare in the Lok Sabha today. The Ministry has collated the information from the various states and union territories (U.T) across India.

As per the information, in states such as Bihar, where 1,779 samples were examined during the year, 292 were found to be adulterated. While in Punjab, out of 6,946 samples, 588 were adulterated. In Goa, on the other hand, 13 out of 224 samples were found to be adulterated. In Meghalaya, 4 out of 23 samples were adulterated, while in Dadra & Nagar Haveli no adulteration was found in the 7 samples that were examined during the period.

Random samples of various food articles including fruits, vegetables, and pulses are drawn regularly by the State/U.T Governments and penal action is taken against the offenders, in cases where samples are found not conforming to the provisions of the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006,” the ministry informed.

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India: Apply for product approval before seeking import licence, FBOs advised

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has issued an advisory notification on applying for product approval before seeking a licence to import or manufacture foods.

According to the Authority, the product approval would be based on categories prescribed by FSSAI in the Indian Food Codes as on June 25, 2012.

The notification explained that applications from manufacturers and importers of products and ingredients could be sent for approval in format that has been prescribed with the fee of Rs 25,000 payable to the FSSAI.

Other specifications include submission of documents such as notarised Rs 100 stamp paper affidavit, copy of the label and safety data, according to a source from FSSAI.

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India: Few takers for food safety authorities’ registration drive?

The registration drive by the apex food regulator, the Food Safety Standard Authority of India, to regulate food industry under the new food regulation has remained a non-starter.

Just around 23 lakh out of five crore food business operators in the country have enrolled under the legislation in the last one year. Also, only around two lakh food licenses have been issued so far against the target of 50 lakh. This has compelled the FSSAI to extend its registration and license drive by six more months.

As per the FSSAI regulations of 2011, all the food business operators including small-time food vendors have to be registered with the local authorities. Those having annually turnover of above Rs 11 lakh have to procure food license to operate their services in the absence of which their business would become illegal.

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FSSAI: Gutka makers can’t challenge ban

The state government on Tuesday justified the ban on the manufacture, sale and storage of gutka and paan masala sachets on the grounds that it is its duty to “improve public health and raise the level of nutrition”.

This was stated in an affidavit filed by Kamlesh Sankhe, joint commissioner (food) of the food and drug administration, before the Bombay high court in reply to many petitions by gutka and paan masala manufacturers challenging the government notification of July 19.

A division bench of chief justice Mohit Shah and justice Nitin Jamdar had restrained the government from destroying gutka and paan masala sachets seized during raids after the notification was issued. The manufacturers have sought quashing of the notification and two regulations of the Food Safety and Standards Act (FSSA) under which the ban was brought into effect.

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India: Fi Conferences to Organise Food Lytica 2012 in New Delhi

India is on one of the most attractive markets globally for food and beverages, and a significant importance is now attached to ensuring the safety and quality of these products by domestic food processors. This can be majorly attributed to the rapidly changing dynamics of the Indian markets with additionally stringent regulatory implications, increasingly aware set of consumer base and extensive penetration of MNCs.

Fi Conferences is launching FoodLytica 2012 at New Delhi from 30 October 2012 – 2 November 2012, focusing on these issues and led by renowned experts in food safety and quality testing methodologies. Here from the FSSAI and the NABL on the regulatory standards and get solutions to complicated issues of Traceability, SOPs and SSOPS, Chemical Analysis, Microbiological Testing, Nutrient Profiling, Validation of Test Methods, Calibration of Instruments and many more.

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India: Little joy, fear about Govt’s handling of 17 pending cases against Act

When business resumed after the weekend the original deadline for registration (August 5, 2012) elapsed, food business operators, manufacturers and office-bearers of various trade associations in Madurai expressed mixed feelings about the six-month extension to it. P Subash Chandra Bose, vice-president, Tamil Nadu Foodgrains Merchants’ Association (TNFMA), informed FnB News via e-mail, “There is little joy about the extension.”

“There are more than 20 interim stays in various High Courts across the state. Recently the Madras High Court had vacated interim stays in three of those, following officials from the Centre. Though our argument was a perfect one, the High Court did not pay heed to it. We are afraid the government may follow the same tactics in the 17 pending ones also. However, we will continue filing writ petitions in the High Court,” he said.

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Patna, India: BCC, BIA welcome deadline extension

The Bihar Chamber of Commerce (BCC) and Bihar Industries Association (BIA) on Thursday expressed satisfaction over the decision of the Union government to extend by six months the deadline for registration and procurement of licenses by the manufacturers, suppliers and other operators in food supply chain under the provisions of Food Safety and Security Act (FSSA). Earlier, the Centre had fixed August 4, 2012, as the last date of registration and getting license.

BCC president O P Sah said the six months’ extension was imperative as the FSSA and its regulations were quite complicated. The FSSA came into force from 2006, the year when it was enacted by the parliament, but its regulations were framed in 2011. Hence, there was need to create proper awareness about this among the stakeholders.

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India: Gutkha, pan masala come under food category

The state government, defending its one-year ban on manufacture and sale of gutkha and paan masala, on Tuesday told the Bombay High Court in an affidavit that the two products come under the category of ‘food’ under the Food Safety and Standards Act (FSSA), 2006.

Five gutkha manufacturers had challenged the state government’s notification of July 19 banning the manufacture, distribution, storage and sale of gutkha and paan masala. The ban has been invoked under the FSSA.

The manufacturers had contended that gutkha, which contains six to eight per cent tobacco, has no nutritional value and hence, cannot be brought under the purview of the FSSA. They stated that it would come under the Tobacco Act, 2003.

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Sanjay Dave steps down as director of APEDA; deputed as advisor to FSSAI

After being re-elected as the chief of CODEX Alimentarius Commission, a world food standards body, for the second time, Sanjay Dave, has stepped down from the post of director of Agricultural and Processed Foods Export Development Authority (APEDA) recently.

Dave who served APEDA for about 12 years as director was able to successfully carry out responsibilities such as developing different schemes, upgrading food testing laboratories, launching pesticide monitoring system for grapes and pomegranate, and introducing traceability system or the Grapenet.

Summing up his tenure at the APEDA, Dave said, “In the long run, I am happy to note that India had received approval for Indian wines to European Union and also various international agreements for organic food products for USA, New Zealand and EU.”

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FSSA impractical; don’t expect changes even after February: VTA’s Renu

Tejinder Singh Renu, secretary, Vidarbha Taxpayers’ Association (VTA) and Nagpur Residential Hotels Association (NRHA), feels that the six-month extension granted to the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India’s deadline to obtain licenses under the Food Safety & Standards Regulations, 2011, is a mere lull before the storm that will hit all those directly or indirectly engaged in the food and beverage industry in 2013.

“I don’t think these regulations are practical, and because of the lackadaisical attitude of both parties – the policy-makers and the stakeholders – the movement is losing steam. Barring a few pockets of the country, such as Madhya Pradesh (notably Ratlam), Nagpur and Tamil Nadu, which have been very aggressive in their campaign, no one has been coming forward,” he said.

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India: FSSA licensing, registration for dairy industry

The Food Safety & Standards Act, 2006, which was formed for laying down science-based standards for articles of food and regulate their manufacture, storage, distribution, sale and import, to ensure availability of safe and wholesome food for human consumption and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.

The food authority and the state food safety authorities specified in Sections 30(1), 36(1) & 37(1) of this Act shall be responsible for the enforcement of the provisions of the Act. It empowers the said authorities to monitor and verify that the relevant requirements are fulfilled by food business operators, maintain a system of control, public communication on food safety and risk, food safety surveillance and other monitoring activities covering all stages of food business.

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India: Impact of FSSA on corporate groups & Canteen Management

The year 2011 would be marked in gold in the history of India, as the government finally decides to give due importance to the cause of general health and hygiene by way of ensuring food safety. The Food Safety & Standards Act (FSSA), 2006 will be implemented as a law with effect from August 5, 2011. A one-year compliance period was given, which ends on August 4, 2012.

COMPANIES’ WORRY

What does a BPO (business process outsourcing) in Malad West and a corporate business park in Andheri East have in common? A cafeteria for its employees. This facility provided to the employees can become a business risk pretty soon.

In most of the cases, the food served at these places are catered by private companies or food business operators (FBO). Ensuring food safety and hygiene becomes all the more difficult under this outsourced business model. Because of the highly discounted pricing structure of the caterers, they have to operate on very thin profit margins.

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India: Two stay orders challenging FSSA’s Regulation 31(7) vacated in Panruti

The Madras High Court has vacated stay orders against two petitions. One was filed by the Panruti Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Panruti, Tamil Nadu, and another by a private firm. Both of these challenged the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) regulations, particularly Regulation 31(7).] These have now gone for appeal to the Divisional Bench.

R Kaleeswaran, honorary secretary, Karaikudi Bakery Owners’ Association, told FnB News via telephone, “There has been an interim stay on all cases. Tamil Nadu’s food safety commissioner had specified counter grounds to include the FSSAI as one of the respondents.”

“All the cases before the Madurai Divisional Bench have been transferred to the Madras High Court. There has been no counter-objection on the cases on which interim stays have been obtained in Madurai yet,” he said.

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Food safety Act tough to abide by: Hoteliers

While the union government has made it mandatory for every food business operator (FBO) to maintain a certain level of hygiene and cleanliness through the Food Safety and Standards Act (FSSA), 2011, city restaurateurs associated with Indian Hotel and Restaurant Association (AHAR) feel the Act’s clauses are impossible to follow, especially for the small businessmen.

The FSS Act makes it mandatory for every FBO having a turnover Rs12 lakh to obtain a licence and those below Rs12 lakh to get themselves registered. This implies that excepting big eateries all FBOs, from road-side chat sellers to vegetable vendors and from milkman to caterers, all need to be registered.

As per the FSSA, all FBOs (into manufacture, storage, transport and serving of food) must maintain a record of the inventory of raw food, stored food, water, food and air testing and pest control regimes. Also, they must record their source of vegetables and grocery, apart from checking if the seller is registered under the FSSA. Their food handlers too should have annual medical fitness checks.

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