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Archive for November 2012

Salmonella: US FDA suspends operations of Sunland Inc.; alert in India

Salmonella outbreaks have been dominating US headlines for sometime now but the latest strike by Salmonella Bredeney seems to be the deadliest as it has resulted in suspension of operations of one of the offending companies and USFDA alert on tainted products at an international level including India.

In the latest incident, the bacteria has sickened 41 people in 20 states in USA, and hence, apart from usual actions such as issuing food alerts and ordering recalls, this time the US Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) has ensured suspension of operations of a peanut butter plant belonging to Sunland Inc. The company, a producer of nuts and seed spreads, also has a history of violations.

Interestingly, this was the USFDA’s first use of its registration suspension authority, under the new Food Safety Modernisation Act. This new authority enables the agency to take this action when food manufactured, processed, packed, received, or held by a facility has a reasonable probability of causing serious adverse health consequences or death to humans or animals, and other conditions are met.

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OHRC seeks report on milk purity

BHUBANESWAR: Days after a national survey on milk quality pointed out adulteration of 100 per cent samples in the state, the Orissa Human Rights Commission (OHRC) on Friday sought a report from the government.

Taking suo motu cognizance of the survey by Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), the OHRC has called for a status report from the fisheries and animal and husbandry secretary within three weeks, OHRC registrar C R Mohapatra said.

The FSSAI survey had found that none of the 50 samples analysed in the state conformed to the prescribed standards. While deviation was found for fat content in 26 samples, 14 did not conform to solid-non fats (SNF). The FSSAI had highlighted mixing of detergent, water and neutralizers in the samples across the country.

India, Mumbai: 40% food wastage due to lack of infrastructure in post-harvest mgmt: AIFPA

India’s food processing industry is estimated to be worth nearly Rs 5 lakh crore market and presumed to be growing at the rate of 11 per cent per annum, but according to K L Radhakrishnan, senior official, All India Food Processors’ Association (AIFPA), the lack of proper infrastructure in post-harvest management is responsible for the wastage of food, estimated to be about 40 per cent.

He said the Indian food processing industry is the fifth-largest industry in the country. The demand is also increasing day by day and the reason for it is that a majority of the population lives in the urban areas. The number of working women is increasing. People are more interested in ready-to-cook (RTC) and ready-to-eat (RTE) food. The need for processed foods is growing at a rapid pace.

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FSSAI asked to make new guidelines for junk food in schools

The Delhi High Court has given the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) a six month period to come out with guidelines on implementing rules to ban junk food in and around schools. The two  judge bench gave the order on January 11. The next hearing is scheduled for July 25.

The court passed the order on a Public Interest Litigation (PIL), filed by Uday Foundation, a non-profit in Delhi, which alleges that junk food causes damage to health and mental growth of children. The PIL was filed in 2010. The foundation works on children’s health, and has sought a ban on sale of junk food in schools and within 500 metre radius of educational institutions.

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FSSAI Formulating Guidelines on Health Food in Schools

The Delhi High Court has been informed that the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has tasked a consultant to frame guidelines on making available quality and safe food in schools.

The FSSAI said this in a status report during the hearing on a public interest litigation that has sought a ban on the sale of junk food near schools.

The petition by Rahul Verma and Rakesh Prabhakar of Uday Foundation said: “It is… time we change the way kids eat in schools. Such a ban will set new standards for healthy food. On the one hand, children are taught in classroom about good nutrition…, on the other, we continue to make junk food available to them.

Karnataka HC upholds verdict on FSSA, mandates BIS for packaged water

The Karnataka High Court has upheld the verdict that packaged drinking water comes within the purview of Food Safety and Standard Act, 2006.

Further, the court has said that certification from the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) is mandatory for packaged drinking water.

It also directed the state government to take action to prohibit and prevent the manufacture and sale of packaged drinking water without BIS certification.

A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Vikramajit Sen and Justice Aravind Kumar passed the order while disposing of a public interest litigation (PIL) petition by Lochamesh B Hugar of Hubli complaining inaction by the authorities against manufacturers of packaged drinking water operating without BIS certification, and a batch of petitions filed by the manufacturers claiming that certification from BIS was not necessary.

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India, Mumbai: Intertek commissioned to undertake testing,inspection,auditing of FBOs.

Intertek has been commissioned by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) to undertake the testing, inspection and auditing of food business operators (FBOs). The work will enable the FBOs not only to demonstrate compliance to requirements under the Food Safety and Standards Act (FSSA), 2006 and Regulations, 2011, but also lead to issue of FSSAI licenses and its renewal thereafter.

The Intertek food laboratory in Gurgaon has been accredited by the National Accreditation Board For Testing Laboratories (NABL) and offers state of the art facilities and technically competent staff to fulfill all the requirements for achieving the national and international accreditation.

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Karnataka bans movement of poultry birds from CPDO’s surveillance zone

The Karnataka government has now issued a complete ban on marketing and movement of poultry birds and eggs not just from surveillance zone of the Central Poultry Development Organisation (CPDO) at Hesaraghatta in the outskirts of Bengaluru, but also from other states till November 15, 2012.

The scrutiny area covers a radius of 10km around the CPDO. The Karnataka government has also issued a ban on the entry of poultry from farms in Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Kerala. The ban began from October 25, 2012, when the Union government had notified the outbreak of avian influenza at the turkey unit after about 3,600 of the turkeys succumbed to the deadly virus infectious avian influenza (H5N1).

Meanwhile the CPDO has gone on to cull all the poultry birds at its 90-acre campus. The ban was extended to ensure that the pathogenic virus does not affect the poultry farms in the neighbouring areas and those birds coming into Karnataka from other parts of the state.

According to Arvind Jannu, principal secretary, Department of Animal Husbandry, Government of Karnataka, there is a different process of culling adopted for each of the poultry birds. The dead birds are then buried with a multi-layered chemical process to prevent any possible contamination.

Around six teams, involved in the surveillance work, collected 175 samples in the surveillance zone. No unnatural deaths of birds were noticed in this area at CPDO or in any other part of the state, according to a communiqué issued by the Department of Animal Husbandry.

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India, Bangalore: Improve food safety standards in retail: Analysts

With much importance placed on FDI in retail, food analysts sought strict implementation of food safety standards.

Speaking at a conference on ‘Enhancing Food Safety in Food Retail Chains’  organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), they felt the need for revisiting and strengthening the food control systems to improve safety standards in the entire value chain of food processing.

Deputy director of Food Safety and Standards Authority of India Dr G Srinivasan said food safety (FSSAI) is a shared responsibility of all stake holders.

“As sourcing is globalised, India can become bread basket of the world if we pay more attention to standards,” he said.

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India: Junk food ban plea: Food product makers move court

The All India Food Processors Association (AIFPA) Wednesday approached the Delhi High Court, pleading that the court should hear them before passing any final order on a petition that seeks ban on carbonated beverages and junk food in school and college canteens.

The AIFPA in its application filed before the division bench of Acting Chief Justice A.K. Sikri and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw sought to become a party in the petition filed by NGO Uday Foundation.

The AIFPA told the court that its members were dealing with processing of fruits and vegetables, meat and fish, milk and milk products and biscuits and confectionary products.

Senior counsel Mukul Rohtagi, appearing for the association, told the court that the petitioner had failed to specify as to what kind of foods should be included in the definition of junk food or fast food.

He said the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act did not define anything as junk food or fast food.

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India, bengaluru: CPDO comes to 3-m standstill as Rapid Response Teams cull poultry birds

The Central Poultry Development Organisation and Training Institute (CPDO) seems to have come to a standstill as the Rapid Response Teams are culling entire poultry birds.

Following the avian or bird flu or H5N1 which affected the poultry birds at the 90 acre campus of CPDO located on the outskirts of Bengaluru, the Union government sent in Rapid Response Teams to dispose off the birds. The culling operation was carried out as per the Union Government Action Plan as part of the containment and eradication of H5N1 virus infected dead birds.

The Rapid Response Teams have culled 13,342 ducks, 369 emus and one ostrich. All the birds are disposed off as per Government of India Action Plan to contain and eradicate H5N1 virus. There has been no human fatality reported so far or no news of poultry birds outside the campus or anywhere in Karnataka affected by the avian flu has come in.

“We have culled all the birds and the next process is to sanitise the place,” said Arvind Jannu, principal secretary, department of animal husbandry.

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New packaging norms under Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Rules, 2012

In tune with the announcement by the ministry of consumer affairs, food and public distribution that the new packaging norms – the Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Rules, 2012, under the Legal Metrology Act, 2011 – would come into effect from Nov 1, 2012, a communication issued on Thursday notified the standard sizes for various commodities.

The commodities and specified packaging standards include:
Baby food: 25 gm, 50 gm, 100 gm, 200 gm, 300 gm, 350 gm, 400 gm, 450 gm, 500 gm, 600 gm, 700 gm, 800 gm, 900 gm, 1 kg, 2 kg, 5 kg and 10 kg.

Weaning food: Below 50 gm no restriction, 50 gm, 100 gm, 200 gm, 300 gm, 400 gm, 500 gm, 600 gm, 700 gm, 800 gm, 900 gm, 1 kg, 2 kg, 5 kg and 10 kg.

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