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Archive for February 2013

Registration deadline for food operators extended again


With not many food business operators (FBOs) registering under Food and Safety Standard Act of India (FSSAI), Food Safety Standard Authority has extended the deadline by a year from February 2013 to February 2014.

This is the second time the deadline has been extended. The first time it was shifted from August 2012 to February 2013.

Of the 4.5 crore-odd FBOs in the country, only 11 lakh have registered with the authority. Maharashtra has seen the most registrations, 3.5 lakh of the 10-15 lakh FBOs in the state.

“All FBOs — big and small — will have to register under FSSAI. Transporters that carry food products — ready or raw — will also have to register. The purpose is end-to-end quality control,” said Mahesh Zagade, state Food and Drugs Administration commissioner.

Food enterprises with a turnover of less than Rs 12 lakh can register by paying Rs 100. Larger food industries will have to comply with demands of schedule IV of FSSAI Act, including internal auditing and checks.

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Draft norms on labelling of scented supari have growers up in arms

Areca growers have objected to the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) draft regulation on labelling scented supari (areca).

This follows a draft regulation issued on December 27 by the authority on labelling, which asks the paan masala manufacturers to caution buyer that chewing supari ‘injurious to health’ on the package.

The draft said: “Every package of paan masala and/or and other similar products containing supari (betel nut) as one of the ingredients and advertisements relating thereto shall carry the following warning. Taking objection to this proposal, Srinivasa Achar, President of All-India Areca Growers’ Association, said that supari, (betelnut/arecanut) is not injurious to health. “Supari is being consumed by vast majority for thousands of years without any health hazard. Any additive, if found injurious, may be banned in paan masala packets,” he said. It is wrong to target areca/supari instead of targeting tobacco and liquor, he said.

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FSSAI extends deadline for licensing, registration to Feb 4, 2014

After getting the notification from the health ministry, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has further extended the licensing and registration deadline for Food Business Operators (FBOs) to February 4, 2014. This is the third time the country’s apex food regulator has granted an extension to FBOs.

Even after a one-and-a-half-year time frame, which included a six-month extension, FSSAI was able to register 11 lakh out of the country’s five crore FBOs and gave licence to only three lakh FBOs so far against the target of 50 lakh. Even though FSSAI was not in a mood to extend the deadline, the pressure from the health ministry compelled it to extend the deadline for registration and licensing for one more year.

The first deadline to obtain licensing and registration was extended from August 4, 2012, to February 4, 2013, under FSSAI and now the deadline has been extended to February 4, 2014.

As per the new rules, anybody who was engaged in selling anything edible – roadside tea stalls, dhabas, fruit and vegetable hawkers, grocery shops, milk vendors, canteens, caterers, restaurants, hotels and food processors failing to get licence or register by February 4, 2013, were to be penalised by the food regulator.

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Indians want their fix of gutkha & pan masala despite ban

It’s not without reason that India tops the list of smokeless tobacco users in the world with nearly 83 per cent consumers. Indians are so addicted to flavoured tobacco — pan masala and gutkha to be precise — that despite the ban on its manufacture and sale in 11 states so far, consumers are still getting hold of their daily fix, courtesy contraband sales.

The ban in Delhi and 10 other states including Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Mizoram, Kerala and Bihar, among others, has resulted in black marketing of the product. This has impacted price, which has gone up significantly.

Consider this: A sachet of branded pan masala such as Rajnigandha (from Delhi-based DS Group) and Manikchand (from Pune-based Dhariwal Group) has almost doubled to Rs 15 from Rs 8 in the last two months. Local brands that cost Rs 2 are now available for Rs 5, while gutkha is available for Rs 3 from Rs 2 earlier.


Food Safety and Standards Authority unable to implement a uniform licence scheme in Noida

NOIDA: February 4 was the deadline to get the FBO licence – for all eateries be it small restaurants or a chain – from Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI). If a restaurant is found without licence, the authority can penalise it with hefty fine and even shut it down.

However, there are challenges for both FSSAI and restaurants. “FSSAI has begun with a few random checks to see if licences have been renewed or fresh licences have been attained for starting a food business. However, the central food authority faces trained manpower crunch but will surely act upon consumer complaint,” Ashwin Bhadri, business relations head at Equiniox Labs, which works as a consultant for FSSAI and does lab checks on its behalf.

There are anywhere between 50 lakh and 60 lakh eateries in the country. Food safety has been a perennial challenge in India with frequent cases of food adulteration and food poisoning.

Noida restaurateurs and other food business operators have welcomed the central food authority, FSSAI’s push for the implementation of the food business operator licence and registration to operate. It is an attempt to streamline and regulate the country’s burgeoning Rs 50,000 crore eating-out industry.

The deadline was for food business operators, who need to renew their licences but those starting a new business will have to mandatorily acquire FSSAI licence in order to operate.

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FSSAI deadline for registration, licence extended again

Even after a two-year timeframe, including a six-month extension, just 11 lakh out of the country’s 5 crore food business operators registered themselves with the apex food regulator and only around 3 lakh food licences have been issued so far against the target of 50 lakh.

This has compelled the Food and Safety Standard Authority of India (FSSAI) again to extend the deadline for registration and licence for the food industry by six months, to August 2013.

The first deadline was extended from August 2012 to February 4, 2013 under the Food Safety and Standards Act (FSSA), 2006.

As per rules, anybody engaged in selling anything edible — roadside tea stalls, dhabas, fruits and vegetable hawkers, grocery shops, milk vendors, canteens, caterers, restaurants, hotels, food processors — failing to get licence and registration by February 4 were to be penalised by the food regulator.

One of the objectives of the enforcement is to ensure that registration/licensing provisions are fulfilled and food items are safe, hygienic, wholesome and free of contaminants.

However, given the haste shown by the FSSAI in introducing the new regulation without adequate consultation with the States and the poor awareness, the regulator is finding it difficult to convince the food business operators, particularly middle and smaller ones, to get themselves register under the new regime.

In fact, various food business associations have been opposing the regulation alleging that it will result into harassment of the small dhabas and vendors who will also have to take registration in addition to all other licences required from State Government agencies.

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Quality issue in warehoused pepper

The Kerala unit of the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has sealed the entire quantity of pepper stored in six warehouses at Kochi, Kerala, about 5,000 tonnes worth Rs 18 crore, after saying it found traces of mineral oil in the stock. The warehouses were accredited by the National Commodity & Derivatives Exchange ( NCDEX).

FSSAI acted on complaints by a couple of participants in the exchanges. Said an FSSAI official from Kochi, “We have sent the sample of pepper to the laboratory and the report is awaited. We have asked the warehouse keepers not to engage in any trading without our permission.” Chillies and other spices stocked in these godowns have also been blocked for delivery.

Used to improve pepper’s appearance, mineral oil’s use here is prohibited globally. Tasteless and odourless, it is used in baby lotions, cold creams, ointments and cosmetics. Following the fssai global norm, the Indian government has prohibited its use in food articles.

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