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Archive for January 2013

Tea Board to use social media to promote tea consumption

“We will use the social media like Facebook and Twitter intensely to promote consumption of the beverage highlighting its health-related aspects,” Tea Board Chairman M G V K Bhanu told PTI. The campaign would start in two months time, Bhanu said.Domestic consumption of tea has been growing at an absolute amount of 20-25 million kg per annum, considered by the industry to be a decent one.
Bhanu said that production was commensurate with domestic consumption which was largely met by the contribution of small tea growers estimated at 250 million kg per annum.
About exports, Bhanu said that the focus countries were USA, Russia, Kazakhstan, Egypt and Iran.
“We want to develop exports in these five countries in a focussed manner. We have increased our participation in the exhibition in these countries,” he said.
Regarding Pakistan, he said exports had slowed down largely due to increased prices of Indian tea. “Pakistan is now lifting tea from Vietnam. This is not a border issue,” he said
Regarding Pakistan, he said exports had slowed down largely due to increased prices of Indian tea. “Pakistan is now lifting tea from Vietnam. This is not a border issue,” he said.
When asked to comment on the Parliamentary panel’s recent observation about exports of bad quality tea, Bhanu said that the Tea Board had taken the matter very seriously.
“Two tea councils had been formed, one each in North and South India,” he said.
Bhanu said Tea Board would take strict action against gardens manufacturing bad quality tea and not conforming to Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI).
“Tea councils under Tea Board will check the quality of tea. Last week, 1000 kilos of tea was destroyed in South India for not conforming to FSSAI,” Bhanu said.

Food companies try to meet safety norms

NEW DELHI: Food retail outlets and restaurants are busy revisiting their working models with the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) cracking the whip to ensure stricter food safety measures in the sector. While large chains claim to have ensured adherence to the new norms already, small-to-mid level restaurant chains are gearing up to avoid being penalized after the February 4 deadline this year.

FSSAI had mandated in August 2011 that all eateries in the country, which includes multinationals such as KFC, Pizza Hut, McDonalds and domestic restaurant chains, canteens and cafeterias will need a ‘food business operator’ licence from the authority.

The organization had also come up with a list of stringent hygiene measures to be practiced at these outlets. Failure to ensure compliance with these measures would subject companies to “heavy fine”, an FSSAI official said. The norms, which were to be implemented from August 2012, were postponed by six months to allow more time to companies. FSSAI has a wide range of measures to ensure food safety at eateries, but officials said until now food companies could voluntarily approach the authority in case of any safety related issues. Under the new norms, FSSAI will randomly conduct checks at these outlets as well as increase the frequency of such inspections.

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FSSAI files cases against 15 F&B companies for misleading advertisement

In a bid to crack down on tall claims in the print and electronic media, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has filed cases against 15 food and beverage companies, which have been found violating Section 24 of the Food Safety and Standards Act (FSSA), 2006 – which pertains to misleading advertisements – and the Food Safety and Standards (Packing and Labelling) Regulations (FSSR), 2011.

Nineteen top nutritional products marketed by 15 companies were found to have violated the rules and regulations, with claims that they make school children stronger and boost the stamina of sportspersons. The country’s apex food regulator has scrutinised the products and posted the names of the companies and products, along with the descriptions of their violations, on their website.

The errant companies are Heinz India Pvt. Ltd (Mumbai); Glaxo SmithKline Consumer Healthcare Ltd (Haryana); Emami Biotech Ltd (Kolkata); Marico Ltd (Mumbai); Hari Vegetable Products Ltd (Rajasthan); Trophic Wellness Pvt. Ltd (Mumbai); Kellogg’s India (Mumbai); Britannia Industries Ltd (Kolkata); Cadbury India Ltd (Mumbai); Today Tea Limited (Delhi); Abbott India Ltd (Mumbai); Dabur India Ltd (Delhi); Amway India Enterprises Pvt. Ltd (Noida); Hindustan Unilever Limited (Mumbai); and Rajdhani Flour Mills Ltd (Delhi).

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Inclusion of alcohol in FSS Act, 2006, no clash with Excise dept: FSSAI

Although alcoholic drinks have been included in the Food Safety and Standards Act (FSSA), 2006, and all the food business operators (FBOs) who sell alcoholic drinks like whisky, beer, rum, and vodka have to apply for licensing and registration, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has denied the possibility of any clash of interest with State Excise Departments.

A number of associations and organisations have made representations against licensing and registration for the business of alcoholic drinks. There has been apprehension that due to alcoholic drinks being included in the FSS Act, 2006, there is duplication of work with the Excise departments of states.

The matter has been examined and it has been clarified that the FSSAI will regulate with the framing of the standards of alcoholic drinks and issues concerned with the safety aspects of alcoholic drinks only from production to sale.

S N Mohanty, former CEO, FSSAI, said, “There will be no clash of interest between Excise department and FSSAI, because our work will be to issue licences to and register the FBOs which deal with the business of standard alcoholic drinks and wines. All FBOs may need to apply for licences and registration to the authorities at the Centre or state/Union Territory as per their capacity turnover.”

He added, “The other issues like revenue, trade, etc. will be dealt by the Excise departments of states and Union Territories. So there is clear-cut demarcation of the activities and no conflict in jurisdiction.”

Ganesh Naik, state excise minister, Maharashtra said, “We will be working in collaboration with FSSAI and the reason there will be no conflict in working of both authority.”

Supreme Court reserves order on plea against soft drinks

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court today reserved its order on a plea for setting up a committee to evaluate the alleged harmful effects of soft drinks on human health and to properly label the beverages, detailing their ingredients.

A bench of justices K S Radhakrishnan and Dipak Misra reserved its order after a detailed hearing on the Public Interest Litigation petition, filed in 2004.

The plea alleged the ingredients of carbonated drinks have “serious deleterious effects on human health” and no action has been taken to test and assess the risk posed by such beverages.

Soft drink major Pepsi, however, opposed the PIL with its counsel senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi arguing that the Food Safety and Standards Act aimed at regulating the standards of beverages was “sufficient” and all the regulations were in place.

The Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL), in its petition filed in 2004, had also sought directions to the cola firms to disclose the contents/ ingredients on the label of their bottles and to regulate “misleading” advertisements targeting children.

Earlier on November 23 the apex court had asked the the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) to file “records” relating to proceedings of its panels, formed following a judicial order on the PIL filed by the NGO.

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70% of milk in Delhi, country is adulterated

NEW DELHI: Beware, your daily glass of good health could actually be doing you harm. As much as 70% of milk samples picked up from the capital by a government agency failed to conform to standards.

Of the 71 samples randomly taken from Delhi for testing by the Food Safety Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), 50 were found to be contaminated with glucose and skim milk powder (SMP), which is usually added to milk in the lean season to enhance volumes.

Elsewhere in the 33 states and UTs study, milk was found adulterated with detergent, fat and even urea, besides the age-old dilution with water. Across the country, 68.4% of the samples were found contaminated.

Only in Goa and Puducherry did 100% of the samples tested conform to required standards. At the other end were West Bengal, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Orissa and Mizoram, where not a single sample tested met the norms.

Other prominent states fared just a shade better. Around 89% of the samples tested from Gujarat, 83% from Jammu & Kashmir, 81% from Punjab, 76% from Rajasthan, 70% from Delhi and Haryana and 65% from Maharashtra failed the test. Around half of the samples from Madhya Pradesh (48%) also met a similar fate.

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FSSAI to fund states for developing infra facilities

Food Safety and Standard Authority of India (FSSAI) today said that of the Rs 4,500 crore cleared by NDC under the 12th Five Year Plan, 70 per cent would be given to states to develop infrastructure facilities.

“Around 70 per cent of the Rs 4,500 crore granted by the National Development Council (NDC) for five years period to us shall be given to states to set up infrastructure facilities,” FSSAI Director Enforcement Dr Surender Singh Ghonkrokta told PTI.

“We have 640 districts across the country, and fund allocation will be district wise. There is a plan to have at least one FSSAI accredited testing laboratory over five to six districts,” he said on the sidelines of a seminar related to Vibrant Gujarat-2013 event.

The food sector regulator estimates that with the new Food Safety and Standard Act-2006 coming into effect, the number of licensees under its fold could go upto 40-50 lakh, from the current 3.5 odd lakh.

“The licenses issued have gone up from one odd lakh to 3 to 3.5 lakh. With change from old to new regime we expect 40-50 lakh licensees to be there as new food business operators shall join in,” Ghonkrokta said.

He said effort is to have a self-compliant and participative enforcement structure like shown by few states such as Gujarat and Maharashtra.

According to Ghonkrokta, Gujarat’s good governance model on ensuring street food safety is likely to be replicated in eight other cities like Bhubaneshwar, Delhi, among others.

Industry estimates say nearly 80 per cent of consumers are accessing street food.

“Gujarat is among the first few states to show good governance model to regulate street food vendors through a co-operative like movement. This model would be replicated in other states,” he said.

“Eight cities have been identified where model of street food regulation shall be replicated,” Ghonkrokta said, referring to food street at Law Garden area here.

The Gujarat Food and Drug Control Administration (FDCA) has joined hands with Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) to ensure food safety and implement hygiene standards at the street food stalls situated in Law Garden here

Odisha govt issues notification banning manufacturing, sale & use of gutka in the state

Odisha government today issues notification banning manufacturing, sale & use of gutka in the state. It should be noted that earlier on January 1, 2013, Health and Family Welfare Minister Damodar Rout  announced that State-wide ban on the manufacture, sale and use of gutkha and chewing tobacco containing nicotine.

According to Food Safety and Standards (FSSAI) Act, 2011 and its section 2, 3 and 4 the state government has banned the production and sale of nicotine items that are used as food item.  It should be noted that Odisha is the 15th state in the country to ban ‘gutkha’. While union territory Chandigarh has effected a ban on it, Kerala banned pan masala and gutkha containing tobacco under the Food Safety and Standards (Prohibition and Restriction on Sales) Regulation, 2011.
The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), a statutory body under the Union health ministry to handle food-related issues, notified the new regulations on August 1, 2011. States and UTs which have already implemented the FSSAI regulations are Kerala, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Punjab, Rajasthan, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Haryana, Mizoram, Delhi, Chhattisgarh, Sikkim, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and Chandigarh. Goa had already clamped a ban under its State Public Health Act much before the FSSAI regulations were penned.
Under rule (234) of the FSSAI regulation, “Food products will not contain any substance which may be injurious to health: Tobacco and nicotine shall not be used as ingredients in any food product”.

FSSAI to reward whistleblowers exposing food adulteration

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has laid down a trap to intercept manufacturers involved in production or marketing of adulterated food items.

To encourage inflow of information from all stakeholders regarding adulterated/unsafe food, the FSSAI has proposed to introduce a scheme of rewards for whistleblowers and informants from the funds being made available to the state governments under a Centrally Sponsored Scheme.

In this regard, Section 95 of the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006, has a provision for rewards to be given to the whistleblowers who provide any relevant information on food adulteration.

For receiving information under the scheme, a nodal officer will be nominated in each office of the state Food Safety Commissioner and one at the FSSAI headquarters in New Delhi. The names, telephone numbers, e-mail addresses, etc. of the nodal officers will be widely publicised

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FSSAI CEO Mohanty is now DG (supplies & disposal) in commerce ministry

S N Mohanty recently stepped down as chief executive officer, Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) and took charge as director general, supplies and disposal, in the Ministry of Commerce and Industry on January 1, 2013.

He became the chief of the country’s food regulator on May 7, 2012, a few months after the Food Safety and Standards Regulations (FSSR), 2011, came into effect. He stated that the ministry would take a call on his successor.

Parting note
Speaking to FnB News about his experience as FSSAI’s CEO, Mohanty said, “Great moments are created out of great opportunities. I was lucky to be part of it for brief while. All of us who stay with FSSAI are expected to create these great moments. Great opportunities are lying there. But crafting great moments out of there opportunities, is not an easy task if not possible. But amazing people do it all the time,” the outgoing CEO added.

Mohanty said, “To top it, amazing people are not born, but they just decide to stay the course, stick to their job and rise to an amazing level. When the temptation will be to do the work and get done with it, they are the ones who see a greater communion with their work, the work as it relates to society, fairness of life, and indivisibilty of goal will see a higher purpose and that is the course to great achievement.”

He added, “The field we deal with requires a myriad skill-set, in-depth knowledge and a stirring conscience. This means teams will be required without fail rather than individuals. Individuals will have to work with team spirit without losing sight of the super-ordinate goal of providing safe food to 1.2 billion people. This is a journey which involves FSSAI, the states, the industry, all FBO’s, consumer activists and citizens.”

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