Saturday 24 September 2011

FSSAI to synchronise operations with 12th Plan, says Gaur; explains FSS Act

September 24, 2011

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) will be synchronising its operations with the upcoming Twelfth Five Year Plan.

In a proposal sent to the Planning Commission, the FSSAI has sought setting up of a National Science and Risk Assessment Centre. This, according to the FSSAI, will be the nodal lab for the country, which will entail an investment of Rs 150 crore. This was informed by V N Gaur, interim chairman and CEO of FSSAI.

Gaur was addressing the Industry Regulatory Meet, arranged by the Mumbai Chapter of Association of Food Scientists and Technologists India (AFSTI). The AFSTI has been playing an active and important role in facilitating the transition of the industry from the old Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954, (PFA 1954) to the new Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006, by regularly holding regulatory meets and mediating between the industry and the regulatory FSSAI.

Gaur, appearing composed and in-control of the situation, patiently responded to more than 70 questions shot at him by the stakeholders.

Further, elaborating on strategy for lab strengthening, he said that setting up of at least 125 NABL (National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories) accredited food testing laboratories for chemical and microbial testings has been proposed. Each lab will cater to five districts.

"Currently, the country has 72 food testing labs and most of them are "sub-functional." Thus, in addition to setting up the new labs, the FSSAI will focus on upgrading these existing labs to capacitate them to testing all parameters. These labs would be brought up to a level where they were able to obtain the NABL certification and each lab would cater to 10 districts," Gaur suggested.

Besides, two important labs for Kolkata and Mumbai will be set up, which will act as controlling labs, for the other laboratories. The proposal for the same has already been sanctioned by the government, said Gaur.

An important effort by the FSSAI will be towards interlinking all laboratories, as well as enforcement officials like the DOs (Designated Officers), FSOs (Food Safety Officers) and the AOs (Adjudicating Officers). All the applications could be forwarded online and all operations would be computerised. The purpose here will be to create a national data bank for the reference and utility of the industry.

In this way, Gaur assured that the FSSAI would initiate a huge campaign to reach out to the small food processors.

The country needs huge human resource with right qualification to implement the new Act. Gaur admitted to the shortage of staff and said that the Plan proposal would also include setting up of a national training centre in the country. "In this regard, a national workshop on human resource prospective planning has already been organised towards October-end this year wherein, all leading institutes like the AFSTI and industry stakeholders have been called upon to participate," said Gaur.

About the implementation of the Act and the surrounding controversies, Gaur admitted that some states have already implemented the Act smoothly while others have not moved at all.

On Tuesday, a central advisory committee's meeting for food commissioners will be held where the performance of the states will be reviewed.

Addressing the concerns being consistently published in the media about different clauses and regulations in the Act, Gaur had a quick question-answer session with the audience wherein he gave a brief idea on the status of different provisions of the Act.

1) Stevia:
The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has constituted an expert panel to look into the stevia issue. Stevia as an artificial sweetener is currently banned in the country. The ICMR panel, will in all probability, submit its report to the scientific committee of the FSSAI by October-end.

2) Licensing:
Migration to the FSSAI licence will not entail separate fees for the FBO (Food Business Operator). If the company is operating in more than one city and has production of more than 2 tonnes per day, then it may require a Central licence and local licences from the places where it operates. Before issuing the central licence, the FSSAI would consider the capability of the company to equip itself with a food safety plan for its other units.

Also, for those FBOs whose licences are expiring early, their applications will be considered on priority basis while issuing the new licence. Maharashtra is ready to issue the Central licence, according to Gaur.

3) Energy Drinks:
The issue of energy drinks is under consideration. Those manufacturing units which currently have the PFA licence may continue to operate, while those seeking new licences are advised to wait for a final assessment by the Authority.

4) Food Product Order (FPO) number on labels:
The food business operators will be assigned new FPO numbers. However, till the transition they can use the old number as the migration will take some time.

5) Whether pending PFA cases will be brought under the new Act:
Gaur said that at least a million cases are pending under the PFA and that there is no straight answer to this. However, the Authority has suggested that the state government can set up a fast-track court to deal with the pending cases. The cases can be divided into trivial and non-trivial. As at least two thirds of the cases will fall under non-trivial category, they will get a resolution. It is the call of the state government, Gaur said.

6) Potable water testing:
The task of deciding the frequency for testing of potable water has been left to the industry. The industry could use its own rationale for testing the water, based on its risk assessment.

7) Penalty:
Gaur said in the matter of court some checks and balances have to be exerted. Though there is no lower limit to the amount of penalty being levied on an offence committed by the FBO, leaving him vulnerable to higher penalties, his past conduct on safety will be taken into consideration while imposing a penalty on him.

8) Dealing with Inspector Raj:
Gaur said that the food inspectors, who are now the FSOs, are being trained to bring in a complete cultural change. The most important part is the training which is being conducted to change their mindset. Up till now, these officers were never trained for executing their job and thus a newly evolved crop of officers was likely to be seen, which did not compromise on integrity. FSOs and DOs are being given an induction training of six months, a refresher's course every five years and also periodic training on specialised subjects.

New appointees will be trained at least for 15 days before they assume their charge. This will strengthen their character. Inspector Raj is not likely as inspectors (FSOs) alone would not have the complete veto power for deciding penalties, other officials too would be involved.

9) Flavoured Water:
A draft is expected within a period of 6 months. 

Source: FnB News

Friday 23 September 2011

Walia Threatens Action Against Food Adulterators

September 22

Minister of state for health AK Walia has threatened that adulteration in food items will invite strict action against defaulters. He has instructed the prevention of food adulteration (PFA) department to book the adulterators.

Officials of the department lifted 289 samples during a drive launched from August 5 to September 21. Of them, eight samples were declared unsafe. Cases have been registered in respect of these samples.
Another 10 samples were found substandard and eight misbranded.

The samples of rice were found infected by insects while those of black pepper were fungus-infected. Boondi laddoo, Karachi halwa and coconut burfi were found to be having more synthetic colour than permitted.
The samples of cheese were found to be having less fat than the limit allowed whereas samples of full cream milk and toned milk were not up to the mark. The samples of butter and mustard oil were not pure.

Walia instructed the department to go all out to lift samples in view of the forthcoming festive seasons. It has also been told to take rounds of weekly bazaars and act against loose spices being sold at cheap rates. It has also been told to keep an eye on imported fruits.

Upgrade the existing laboratory and set up another advanced lab, he said.

Source: The Tribune

Thursday 22 September 2011

Your street food just got healthy

In a bid to raise hygiene standards, Health Ministry asks FDA to issue licences to roadside vendors as well as upscale eateries, if they meet its benchmark of cleanliness.

In a move that will bring the food vendor at the corner of your street at par with five star hotels, and all categories of diners in between, the Centre has decided to issue them licences, provided they meet its yardstick of hygiene.

As a recent notification issued by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare states, the state Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will now be the authority to issue licences to all eateries across the state -- be it the neighborhood chaat wallah or the posh seaside hotel, all will have to, and have the right to, get registered with the FDA.

The catch lies in the fact that they will have to hold fast to international standards of hygiene (see box). Until now, you had only beheld this measure of sanitation at malls and high-end diners, but it may just seep through to Mumbai's streets. 

The notification states that under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006, the FSAS Authority Of India will issue a new licence under the name of Food Safety and Standards (licensing and registration of food business) Regulations, 2011. From a chai tapri to an Udipi restaurateur, every food trader will have to obtain the licence, after, of course, tackling the hygiene rider, which is a big deal in this country, officials said.

The move, seen to be a leveller by some and biased by others, has far-reaching ramifications for different stakeholders.

The foremost is that your pani puri wallah will now be legalised, given they meet the sanitation standards (see box).

As of now, lakhs of vendors in the city are running illegally. But under the amended FSAS Act, their business will sail smoothly after registry.

Conflicting laws
The Central law, however, clashes with the bye-law here: While the BMC does not issue licences to street vendors, the FSAS Act has permitted them to get registered with the FDA. Incidentally, only 350 vendors in the city have the BMC permits to function.

Anil Bandiwadekar, BMC's executive health officer, said, "There is confusion over the entire law, which we are trying to clarify. As far as sampling of food and food safety is concerned, it is the FDA that will be authorised to act on it. Where the Shop and Establishment Act licence is concerned, the BMC will look into it."

Asked whether BMC has issued any license to street food vendors, he added, "Since 1972 we have not issued any licence to them."

But GH Rathod, joint commissioner (food), FDA, said that the civic authority's role is obsolete in this matter. "All those who sell food will have to seek licence from the FDA. The BMC will have no role to play," he said, adding, "Street food has now been now legalised from August 5. Anybody who seeks the FSAS licence will be issued it in accordance with the norms."

An FDA official revealed that a team of FDA in Maharashtra is conducting a series of meetings with hotel owners, other representatives of the hospitality industry, and people from sampling and labelling industry across the state. "The meeting is to give them a clear brief about the rules and regulations, the act and guidelines about the amended FSAS Act. As the law is applicable all over the state from August, making people familiar with the law is important. However, the department is going slow on this, as we want the licensee to get things in place. The rule will be followed stringently only by next financial year."

Omprakash Sadhwani, joint commissioner (Law), said, "Any food business with a turnover of Rs 12 lakh and above will have to seek the FSAS licence, whereas those whose turnover is less than that will now have to get registered with the FDA."

The strongest critic of the amendment is the hotel lobby.

"A hawker, who prepares food in open spaces, will be a legal entity. This is partiality with those who are into the organised food business. This means people who run restaurants are fools, running legally and giving customers a good ambience. All will then turn into street vendors by paying the licence fee. We have urged the department to look into the pros and cons of it," fumed Sudhakar Shetty, president of Indian Hotel and Restaurant Association (AHAR), an umbrella body of over 8,000 restaurants and bars. 

Shetty said that according to an apex court ruling, roadside cooking has been banned.

Sukesh Shetty, vice-president, AHAR, said, "A number of taxes, VAT, Octroi etc have burdened the hotel industry already. We fear that the power given to the authority may be misused. Though, we have been assured that false complaints against hoteliers will not be entertained."

High-giene standards
Only those establishments will be registered where the following practices are in place:
>> Wearing gloves
>> Ensuring regular cleaning of machine and equipment
>> Ensuring no food is exposed in premises not separated from a privy, urinal, sullage, drain etc
>> Testing food for chemical and microbiological contamination
>> Maintaining ideal temperature throughout the supply chain, from the place of procurement till it reaches the end consumer
>> Manufacturer or distributor shall buy and sell food products from registered vendors
>> Hotel owners selling or exposing food for sale shall put up a notice board containing lists of articles which have been cooled in ghee, edible oil, or vanaspati for the benefit of purchasers
>> Food business operator selling cooked food shall display notice board containing the nature of articles being exposed for sale

Businesses that fall under the Act
>> Hotels and restaurants with an annual turnover not exceeding Rs 12 lakh
>> Permanent and temporary stallholders
>> Hawkers (itinerant/mobile food vendor)
>> Home-based canteens/ dabbawallas
>> Petty retailers of snacks/teashops
>> Manufacturers/processors
>> Repackers
>> Food stalls/arrangements in religious gatherings, fairs etc
>> Milk producers/milk vendors (who are not members of dairy cooperative society) who procure or handle or collect up to 500 litres milk per day
>> Dhabas
>> Fish/meat/poultry shops/sellers with a capacity of slaughtering two large animals or 10 small animals or 50 poultry birds per day

Comply, or pay up
>> Penalty for substandard food: Rs 5 lakh;
>> Penalty for misbranded food: Rs 5 lakh and above;
>> Penalty for failure to comply with the directions of the food safety officer: Rs 2 lakh;
>> For possessing adulterants: Rs 2-10 lakh;
>> Punishment for unsafe food, not resulting in injury: Six months imprisonment and Rs 1 lakh fine; In case of death: Seven years imprisonment and Rs 10 lakh fine
>> Carrying on business without licence: Six months imprisonment and Rs 5 lakh fine;
>> Failure to renew licence: Rs 100 fine each month

Source: Mid Day

Wednesday 21 September 2011

FMCG firms add too much to ads

Britannia’s Nutrichoice claim of providing “diabetic-friendly” biscuits, Horlicks’ assertion of making kids “taller, stronger and sharper”, Rajdhani Besan’s “no cholesterol and low glycaemic index” claims, Kent RO Systems’ “duniya ka sabse shudh paani” and many such other “exaggerated” ads now find themselves in the firing line.

The country’s top food watchdog is  ready to crack the whip at all those food and health supplement manufacturers who have been exaggerating claims about their products through advertisements and “consequently cheating consumers”.

The move follows the recently notified new FSS Act, which empowers the Food Safety & Standard Authority of India (FSSAI) to impose penalty of Rs 10 lakh on such manufacturers who give misleading ads. The Act also lays down guidelines for food manufacturers to follow.

“Our committee has already zeroed in on a set of companies including top brands of packaged foods. Top in the list are firms like Kellogg’s, Britannia, Rajdhani Besan, Horlicks, Kent RO Systems and Complan which will be among the first to get notices to reply on what basis they have been making such tall claims for their particular food products,” FSSAI director (media and administration) Asim Choudhary told The Pioneer.

He said the authority in the last two months had been intensively scanning all the advertisements in main newspapers as well electronic channels. “The firms cannot take people for a ride with misleading advertisements. They need to have scientific evidence before making claims about the health benefits and the products being a substitute for fresh fruits, vegetables or meals,” Choudhary added.

The move aims to restrict them from adopting such marketing tactics “which are enough to influence the consumers at the cost of their health as is being done in the developed countries”.
For instance, in 2008, the UK’s Advertising Standards Agency had upheld complaints against two ‘misleading and inaccurate’ adverts for Nestle’s Maggi noodles and GlaxoSmithKline’s Horlicks which made unsubstantiated health claims.

FSSAI CEO VN Gaur said the authority is working on rules to regulate advertisements by food companies which are misleading or false with respect to nutrition claims. “We are also seeking legal view in the matter (on issuing notices to the erring firms),” he added.

According to FSSAI guidelines, companies are not allowed to put advertising and communication of the food and beverages in a misleading or deceptive manner. Also, the advertisements should not encourage excessive consumption or inappropriately large portions of any particular food and not exploit consumers’ lack of experience or knowledge.

The code also points out that the advertisements should not undermine the role of parental care and guidance when children make food choices.

Though there is the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) which makes necessary request to withdraw such ads, it has remained a toothless body in ensuring implementation of the rules.

Source: The Pioneer

Monday 19 September 2011

Indian Fetish For Fatty Food Ups Disease Risk

19 September 2011

Indians are consuming high amounts of oils, fats and salts in their daily diets, exposing themselves to non- communicable diseases (NCD), including coronary heart ailments, hypertension and diabetes, a new report said.
The intake of high- fibre foods like fruits and vegetables, which act as a shield against NCDs, is very low in India as compared to the recommended level of five servings or at least 400 grams daily, a publication by the public health foundation of India, said.
By contrast, intake of oil has increased a whopping 50 per cent — from 18 grams a day in 1992 to 27 grams a day in 2005, while fat intake rose from 41 to 52 grams over the same period.
High income groups have reported 32 per cent of their energy intake from fats alone, as against 17 per cent among low income groups, it said.
The publication was brought out on the eve of a landmark UN summit on NCDs scheduled to be held in New York on Monday.
It also said protein consumption remained stagnant at 56 grams a day over the stated period while carbohydrate intake reduced from 75 to 71 grams a day.
The summit is expected to launch an acrimonious debate on the cost and responsibility for diseases killing tens of millions each year and will be attended by several world leaders.
Salt consumption, a strong determinant of high blood pressure and associated cardio- vascular diseases, has also been found to be very high across different regions of the country.
The average intake ranges from 9 to 12 grams a day, much above the WHO recommended daily intake level of 5 grams or less and the National Institute of Nutrition’s recommended level of 6 grams or less.
Urban salt intake is much higher and is further set to increase due to rapid expansion of multi- national food chains, increasing the trend of eating out and easy availability of readymade foods, the report said. 

Source: Mail Today

Sunday 18 September 2011

Ads that make tall claims to be brought under scanner

18 September 2011

People promising you the moon will soon go under the scanner with the government working out a mechanism to regulate misleading advertisements.

“The existing provisions of the Consumer Protection Act need to be sharpened and the definition of ‘misleading’ ads and ‘punishment thereof’ expanded,” said a senior official of the Consumer Affairs ministry. “The aim is to protect the consumer against advertisements promising false health and nutrition benefits to consumers. The new mechanism will cover advertisements across all mediums like electronic, print and hoardings,” the official said.

Concerned over the issue, the Prime Minister’s Office recently directed the consumer affairs department to “prepare a regulatory mechanism to keep a check on the ‘misleading’ advertisements within a month.” The move followed a meeting of Principal Secretary to the prime minister TKA Nair with consumer affairs department officials Sep 13, sources said.

Ministry sources added they have been taking note of misleading advertisements related to nutrition in food supplements, cosmetics and herbal products which promise immediate health benefits. The move will also include the services sector — for instance, the get-rich-quick schemes.

Sources said they will also consult the union health ministry to dovetail provisions of the Food Safety Act and the Drugs and Cosmetics Act in the new regulatory mechanism. With TV becoming a strong medium, the chances of gullible consumers being taken for a ride have increased. “Hence, the need for caution,” said an official. The Indian nutraceutical, products that combine the benefits of nutrition with pharmaceuticals, market is worth $1 billion. Globally, the market for nutraceuticals is pegged at around $124 billion.

Source: The Pioneer

Tuesday 13 September 2011

Your legacy shall continue… FSSAI bids adieu to its Ist Chairperson, Mr. P.I Suvrathan

After providing a very much needed anchor, strength, and direction over 40 months, Mr. Suvrathan, de-mitted the office of 1st Chairperson, FSSAI on 8th Sept 2011. A large number of officials, staff, including his personal staff were present for a floral send off, to their TRANSFORMATIONAL LEADER.

Director (Admin) read out the highlights of an illustrious career, full of humility and gratitude, which included a Ph.D in Economics, and Fulbright Fellowship.

Officials who could get opportunity to express their views, were unanimous about his true guiding nature, open, transparent and methodical styles of taking forward once unheard FSSAI to a most dynamic organization.

CEO, Mr V.N Gaur, expressed his profound appreciation about the professional, personal, intellectual and humane interventions of Mr. Suvrathan, on each and every issue which came to him. He added that without Mr. Suvrathan at helm, FSSAI could not have achieved what it could in such a short period of time when science behind Food is changing so fast, the technology, the process involved in Standards setting etc and Food accounts for 50% of our spending.

He explained the transparent system of governance, within the Authority, and Central Advisory Committee of FSSAI. There is constant interaction and participation amongst the various stakeholders to arrive at important decisions. The expert groups, technical committees, scientific panels, after thorough and detailed discussion, arrive at conclusions.

The various drafts, so generated, are put on FSSAI portal, for public comments and also from stakeholders.

In his advice to FSSAI family: Mr. Suvrathan talked about 3 specific areas -

  (i) Science operates by interaction-Frequent and purposeful interactions at all levels in FSSAI and dissemination of information in the right earnest

  (ii) Deliverables - ideas, concepts and evaluation of what is to be delivered in a time bound manner

  (iii) Continuous employee development for them to make their career and not leave FSSAI, when FSSAI is taking a significant step towards Food safety of entire Food Chain.

He laid much emphasis on trainings which will be needed at all levels i.e Regulator, Food Handler, FSSAI employees and other Stakeholders.

FSSAI will certainly cherish his words of advice.

 CEO – presenting a bouquet and memento to Dr. Suvrathan

    Shri P.I Suvrathan sharing his FSSAI journey

Shri P.I Suvrathan with FSSAI family

 Final adieu … FSSAI head quarters

Monday 12 September 2011

It’s all nutrition, and no food

10 September 2011

Foods can be viewed in terms of the nutrients which fulfill their primary purpose and the other ingredients which influence the acceptability of food. Health foods are those which are nutritious, prevent diseases and maintain health.

The term nutraceutical was coined by Stephen De Felice, founder of the Foundation for Innovation in Medicine, in 1989. He defined a nutraceutical as a dietary supplement or medical food that has health benefits which include the prevention or treatment of diseases.

Nutraceuticals or functional foods are similar in appearance to conventional foods and are consumed as part of the usual diet and may have the potential to reduce the risk of cancer, coronary heart diseases, cardio vascular diseases, slow ageing effects and reduce oxidative stress. They may be anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial and anti-diabetic.

Based on their widely publicised health benefits, there is bound to be a high demand for nutrients such as soy proteins and isoflavones (for digestive health, lowering cholesterol and fighting off cancer); psyllium fibres (for colon health); omega 3 fatty acids (for cardiovascular health); probiotics (for gastrointestinal health); lycopene (for their antioxidant capacity); calcium and magnesium (for bone and joint health).

Nutraceuticals consist of both traditional foods and non-traditional foods. Traditional nutraceuticals are simply natural and whole foods like vegetables and fruits which have health benefits.

Nontraditional nutraceuticals are foods resulting from genetic modification or added nutrients. Foods specially formulated with nutrients or other ingredients may include products such as orange juice fortified with calcium, cereals with added vitamins or minerals and flour with added folic acid.

The increasing consumer demand for a healthier lifestyle, an expanding proportion of elderly population, enhanced awareness about health and nutrition and availability of scientific evidence linking diet and health are major factors contributing to the strong growth in the worldwide nutraceutical market.

While acceptance of nutraceuticals is growing among consumers, many members of the medical and scientific communities are concerned that many products entering the market lack adequate efficacy and safety data. Clinical research on specific nutraceutical products sold would help substantiate the potential medical or health value of these products.

Continued basic and applied nutritional research must pursue a precise understanding of the mechanisms of action for known nutrients and bioactives/functional food components.

Nutraceuticals are considered to be the food alternatives for the next century as demanddona for functional products that can improve or enhance health is increasing day by day. Thus, it is necessary to optimise technological and economical aspects for manufacturing process of these products as achieving functional food quality does not simply involve delivering the active principle at the appropriate level for physiological effectiveness, but also supplying a product which meets consumer requirements.

The writer is professor of food technology, Agricultural and Food Engineering Department, IIT-Kharagpur

Source: The Pioneer

Saturday 10 September 2011

All food manufacturers require FDA licence

Sep 8, 2011

PANAJI: All food manufacturers, be it small retailers and street hawkers or canteens and starred hotels, will have to register or obtain a licence from the food and drugs administration (FDA) as part of a change in the administrative regime for the industry.

"Earlier, the approvals were issued to food manufacturers under the Goa Prevention of Food Adulteration Rules 1982," Salim Veljee, FDA director said. But after the notification of Food Safety and Standards (licensing and registrations of food business) regulations 2011 by the government of India, the new rules are effective in the state from August 5.

"While the earlier licensing or registration process was from the context of adulteration, the whole process is harmonized globally to the aspect of food safety in general," Veljee said.

The act has been amended and FDA has set up the infrastructure for the transition to the new regime. "We are working on appointing additional staff, but largely the department is set to initiate the new regime from Monday," Veljee added.

The manufacturers or sellers of food articles, ranging from a retailer, hawker, itinerant vendor to temporary stall holder, distributor of food at religious or social gatherings with a turn over of less than ' 12 lakh will have to register themselves by submitting an application form A for specific periods with the FDA.

The other food business operators whose annual turnover exceeds ' 12 lakh have to obtain a licence from the FDA's designated officer by filling in a form B,

Food manufacturers and food business operators, who possess approvals under the Goa prevention of food adulteration rules 1982, can have them converted into registration/licence under the new regulation by filling an application to the FDA.

"If the existing food licences are still valid, then no licence or registration fees will have to be paid for the remaining period of validity," a FDA source said. All registration or licences granted under the regulation will be valid for a period of one to five years, as chosen by the food business operator, the source added.

The government has appointed 13 food inspectors of the FDA department as food safety officers, under powers of the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006.

While Iva Fernandes and Sanjyot Uday Kudalkar are assistant local (health) authorities, Rajiv Ram Korde, Nelson Elosio Fernandes, Abel Alex Rodrigues, Flavia Rita de Souza, Rajaram Pandhari Patil, Sailesh Ratnakar Shenvi, Priya Ajit Dessai, Shivdas Shashikant Naik, Shradha Arvind Khutkar, Yogeeta Dwarkanath Sirsat, Niranjan Gurudas Naik are food inspectors.

In another order issued by B Vijayan, the commissioner of food safety has appointed Chandrakant Raghunath Kambli, junior scientific officer (food), and Maria D P Pires, chemist, as public analysts in the directorate of food and drugs administration under the act.

Source: The Times of India

Unclean vendors face action

Sep 8, 2011

NAGPUR: While eating your favourite panipuri with the vendor sitting at the corner of the street, do you tend to overlook hygiene? The government, though, does not seem to be in a mood to turn its eyes away and could soon be booking the vendor for not maintaining the expected standards under the Food Safety and Standards Act.

To make consumers as well as hawkers and vendors aware of the rules that they are expected to follow, the city chapters of Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) along with Nag Vidarbha Chamber of Commerce had organised a workshop on safe street food on Wednesday.

AT Nikhade, assistant commissioner (drugs), Nagpur division FDA, reasoned that awareness needed to be created among all stakeholders about the new law that could impose huge monetary penalties if not followed properly. BIS director NP Kawale and hazard analysis critical control point (HACCP) expert from Mumbai Sanjay Indani explained what the hawkers required to do through interactive presentations. Through pictorial examples, the vendors were told about the importance of using gloves, caps and aprons. Indani stressed how small investments in these things could mean big returns for the small vendors. Kawale said since these vendors serve food to many people, it is their moral responsibility not to risk the health of them all.

The vendors present seemed to be taking information in the right spirit, too. Nandkumar Sharma, president of hawkers' zone, east, went on to give tips to his brethren and even asked the officials to be strict to hawkers if the need arises. Mohammad Yusuf, who sells south Indian food on a push-cart, said he would try to improve the condition of his 'thela' by including all that he had learnt from the workshop.

What you should see before eating

The condition of utensils being used

The way the utensils are cleaned

Personal hygiene of the vendor or the person serving the food

The way food is stored

Take a look at the surroundings where the carts are parked

Do not eat at stalls which are at a low height (it is required to be at least 60-70cm above the ground)

In case you find any vendor who seems to be disregarding hygiene, you can report to FDA

Source: The Times of India

Tuesday 6 September 2011

FSSAI Helpline Launched


You as a consumers should take up the responsibility to be critically aware of your rights and should be alert about the conditions, pricing, quality, reliability of the products and services you use. Inform yourself about goods and services you buy by reading consumer magazines, comparative product testing following the news and asking questions.

Always be active and assertive towards your right to get a fair deal, so that you are not cheated and exploited by the unfair traders or producers. Always insist on a fair and reasonable deal if not satisfied with the purchase.

Friday 2 September 2011

25% food samples found adulterated in state

Sep 2, 2011

PATNA: With Food Safety and Standard Act (FSSA), 2006 coming into force across the country from August 5, 2011, anyone found selling adulterated food items now faces rigorous imprisonment and huge fine.

Under the new act, adulterators may be sentenced to even life imprisonment or fine of up to Rs 10 lakh, depending on severity of the crime.

Now, genetically modified food, organic food, health food and dietary supplements, alcohol and beverages can also be tested under this act.

It has recently been found that the incidence of adulteration in cereals, milk, edible oils, spices and foodgrains is very high in Bihar. "More than 25% of the total 300 food samples tested daily in the state's lone food and drug laboratory in Patna, are found adulterated," JK Singh, deputy director of the laboratory, told TOI.

Talking about the procedure of testing of adulterated food products, Singh said, "Samples of consumable products are collected from markets by the competent authority in different districts of the state during routine checking or sudden raid. The food products are then forwarded to the testing laboratory here and the findings are later sent to the concerned authority for further action."

Regarding the adverse effects of consumption of adulterated food, an expert said, "Regular intake of adulterated food items can lead to many health problems, such as vomiting, diarrhoea, fever, abdominal pain and nausea.

Cereals and products like wheat and wheat flour, gram flour, refined flour and 'sattu', rice and grams have been found to have the presence of dust, insects, fungus. In milk and milk products like 'khoya', cottage cheese and curd, mainly starch and sodium bicarbonate are used for adulteration. Besides, in spices and condiments, mostly artificial yellow colour, lead chromate, brick powder and dust are added.

The act also covers items like tea, coffee, soft drink, jelly, ketchup, jam, pan masala, sweets and sweetening agents, flavour materials, salt, sugar, vanaspati, meat and horticulture products. Medical products, cosmetics, drugs, animal feed and narcotics do not come under the purview of this act.

"The competent authority can seize and recall the adulterated products," said Singh.

He added, "All the consumable product firms, with an annual turnover of less than Rs 12 lakh, will have to get registered. Firms with annual turnover of over Rs 12 lakh per annum will need licence besides registration."

Source: The Times of India