NEW DELHI, April 23, 2014
The Centre for Science and Environment Director-General, Sunita Narain, has demanded that all junk food be banned from unaided and private schools across the country. Food high in fat, sugar and salt (HFSS) should not be available in educational institutions and within 500 yards of them.
Ms. Narain is the chairperson of the working group set up by the Food Safety and Standard Authority of India as per the Delhi High Court’s directions in 2013. It has given a set of guidelines for regulating consumption of HFSS food among children.
“Schools are not the right place for promoting HFSS foods. Benefits of balanced, fresh and traditional food cannot be replaced. Frequent consumption of food high in salt, sugar and fats and low in other essential macros and micronutrients is detrimental and should be avoided. Children are not the best judge of their food choice. They have limited understanding about the impact of food on their health. Broadly, they are not aware about the concept of balanced diet and what kind of food is to be consumed and avoided to achieve it,” Ms. Narain added.
She also said cricketers, Bollywood actors and other celebrities should avoid endorsing junk food.
“Advertisement of HFSS food targeted on children and adolescents should not be allowed to be broadcast on television and radio from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. on weekdays and from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekends and holidays.”
Dietary recommendations in schools are whole wheat roti/poori with seasonal vegetable, multi-whole grain roti/poori with seasonal vegetable, rice and dal, vegetable pulao, rice and black chana, sweet dalia, rice and white chana, idli, vada, sambar, kheer and milk products like curd, buttermilk and lassi.
While Ms. Narain had six paediatricians and nutritionists working as members of the working group, representatives of industry associations submitted a document titled “Guidelines on Wholesome Food and Nutrition for School Canteen” to the expert group on January 16, 2013.
In 2010, a public interest litigation was filed by the Uday Foundation, a Delhi-based non-profit organisation seeking a ban on junk food sold in schools, regulations on junk food promotion and advertisement and development of school canteen policy.
‘Children are not the best judge of their food choice’
‘Celebrities should avoid endorsing
The fruits & vegetables are high in nutrition value and are one of the key components of human diet but at the same time they are contaminated with Pesticides such as Calcium Carbide and Oxytocin which are being used in fruits & vegetables for ripening purpose.
Pesticides residues ingested in human body through food and water can lead to serious health problems and can disrupts the endocrine system and lead to hormonal imbalance, impaired brain development, behavioral and many other disorders.
In a recent development, the honorable High Court of Delhi has counseled the State Government over the issue of high level of pesticides in fruits & vegetables. The government has constituted a cell to look into the matter to ensure the safety of the people.
The “Pesticide Residue Management Cell” has been formed after the consultations and meetings between the government officials, industry and other stakeholders. The activities of the cell will be controlled by the Commissioner of Food Safety. The court also sought the information about the measures to be taken to control the situation and to spread awareness among people.
The court has said that the samples of fruits & vegetables should be collected from different locations to check the amount of chemicals present in them.
The state govt. has already started working to launch different measures to educate people about pesticides and is also preparing a report on account of pesticides used in fruits & vegetables.
The state government has communicated to the High Court that they lack infrastructure to carry out inspection as there are only 28 varieties of pesticides that can be tested in its laboratories. The court has asked the government to create better infrastructure so that the team could work efficiently to control the situation.
The next hearing on this is scheduled in the third week of May and the state govt. will prepare and present to the court the entire summary of the steps taken in this direction.
CERTIFICATES ON RIPENING OF FRUITS PROVIDED BY THE DEALERS AND SUPPLIERS COULD CURB ARTIFICIAL RIPENING
Calcium carbide, ethylene gases trigger ripening processUse of carbide gas in ripening of fruits has been prohibited
Food safety experts have called for the introduction of guidelines, including Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP), for ripening of fruits following reports of the use of chemicals for ripening mangoes.
The Kochi City police seized 40 kg of mangoes on Saturday, suspected to be ripened using calcium carbide, from a fruit stall at Nettoor market. Besides the mangoes, the police also seized five kg of calcium carbide and detained Sanu, 38, of Nettoor, who operated the stall.
The introduction of GMP for ripening of fruits for domestic markets can address the issue to a considerable extent, says M.K. Mukundan, the director of Council for Food Research Development, Konni. Dealers and suppliers of fruits need to be made to follow a set of procedures for ripening of fruits and its storage. Certificates regarding the ripening of fruits should be provided by the dealers and suppliers. They should be asked to follow GMP for ripening methods. The premises used for ripening and storage should also be certified, suggests Dr. Mukundan.
Acetylene and ethylene gases trigger ripening process. Introduction of smoke fumes, as followed in the traditional methods of ripening, helps trigger the process, he says.
The Food Safety and Standards Act has prohibited the use of carbide gas in ripening of fruits. The Act specifies that “no person shall sell or offer or expose for sale or have in his premises for the purpose of sale under any description, fruits which have been artificially ripened by use of acetylene gas, commonly known as carbide gas.” However, the use of ethylene gas (fruit ripening plant hormone) in low concentration has been permitted to trigger the ripening of fruits.
K. Ajithkumar, the designated officer of the Food Safety and Standards Act, says the law permits only natural ripening of fruits. He too suggested following of GMP for ripening of fruits. Law prescribes a punishment of imprisonment up to two years and fine up to Rs. 5 lakh for the use of carbide gas, often used for inducing uniform ripening of fruits, he says.
Though the traces of the chemicals can be identified in labs, the consumers of fruits can escape the ill-effects of the use of calcium carbide gas by thoroughly washing the fruits. Peeling off the skin of the fruits would also help in avoiding the chemicals, he suggests.
While buying fruits like mangoes, avoid the fruits which don’t have the natural aberrations and black spots on them. Also avoid fruits which are found covered with white powder, he says
Calcium carbide, ethylene gases trigger ripening process
Use of carbide gas in ripening of fruits has been prohibited
Ripe mangoes on display at a roadside fruit retail shop at Ernakulam market on Sunday
After receiving strict instructions from the State Food Safety Commissioner K Anil Kumar, the Ernakulam Food Safety Department has decided to intensify the inspections to quell the sale of artificially-ripened fruits, especially mangoes, in the district.
The order came after the authorities seized 620 kg of spurious fruits from the Agricultural Urban Wholesale Market (AUWM) at Maradu on Saturday.
Ironically, the Urban Wholesale Market at Maradu was used to be considered one of the major suppliers of naturally-grown fruits and vegetables in Ernakulam district, till a couple of days ago.
According to the authorities, the traders are now resorting to such illicit methods to ripen the produce, to meet the current high demand of fruits in the market.
They said that though there are several methods to ripen the fruits synthetically, the use of calcium carbide is the most common practice being adopted by traders in the state.
“Such ripening methods have increased drastically and we have already brought the issue before the Food Safety authorities of neighbouring states, including Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, as part of the mission to block the flow of artificially-ripened fruits from these states to Kerala.
“Moreover, we have strengthened the inspections in the district to exterminate such illicit sales, in coordination with the Shadow police. The raids will be conducted throughout the year,” said T A Abdul Majeed, Food and Safety Officer, Intelligence Wing, Ernakulam.
The Food Safety Department has urged the people to be careful while buying fruits this summer.
“There are some ways to identify the artificially-ripened mangoes. They will give off exactly the same smell as calcium carbide. Also, the mango will be consistently yellow, unlike the naturally-grown fruit which will have different shades on its body.
“There will also be a difference in the taste of the fruit, though that is not so easy to identify,” The officials said.
“ If anyone gets any information about the sale of artificially-ripened fruits in the district, they should register a complaint with the department by calling the toll-free number, 1800-425-1125,” the officials of the department said.
The department officials have warned the people about the ill-effects of consuming such fruits.
“By washing the fruits thoroughly, we can lessen the ill-effects of the artificially-ripened fruits to an extent. But even then, such fruits can cause major health hazards,” the authorities said.
“ The acetylene gas emitted by calcium carbide can lessen the oxygen supply to the brain. Other ill-effects include headaches, sleeping disorders, memory loss, mouth ulcers, skin rashes, renal problems and even cancer,” the authorities warned.
With the soaring temperature and scorching heat, the demand for fresh juice is on the rise in Salem.
If the fruit juice vendor offers you a discount next time, be cautious. The juice he gives may be prepared from partially-rotten fruits and those that were disposed of from fruit shops after found unfit for sale.
To beat the heat, people tend to consume fresh fruit juices. Due to the demand and soaring price of fruits, juice stalls have increased the price of juices. But a few stalls in the city sell juices on discount on any day.
The reason – the fruits kept for display at the stalls become stale due to excess heat. Since customers do not prefer such fruits, the vendors use them for juices and sell at a discount price.
If the price of normal grape juice is Rs. 20 and the mango juice is Rs. 25, it is sold at Rs. 10 just to dispose of the available fruits at the earliest. Fruits should be stored at particular temperature and skins should be peeled and cut for making fresh juices. But usually, vendors chop fruits and store them in the open.
Consumption of these juices would lead to diarrhoea and viral infection, said T. Anuradha, District Designated Officer, Tamil Nadu Food Safety and Drug Administration Department.
Jalandhar, April 18
Finally, waking up from their slumber after a number of complaints and protests regarding the bad state of mid-day meals in the city, health department teams inspected the facility where the meal is prepared.
The health authorities have written to the District Education Officer (Secondary Education) Kuldeeep Sharma as well as the Deputy Commissioner Varun Roojam regarding the bad state of the mid-day meal being prepared.
After taking food samples from the facility yesterday, health teams inspected the kitchen premises where the meals are being prepared and concluded that the state of the meal was very bad.
Ironically, while schools have been screaming foul about bad mid-day meal and the state of the establishment was also found to be bad, the health authorities “officially” continue to be in a state of denial.
Sources in the Health Department said, “We visited the facility following repeated complaints regarding bad mid-day meal, on the instructions of the Civil Surgeon. The place was not hygienic and flies hovered over the food. Although food is prepared under a shed, it is open from all the other sides and insects and flies get in. The state of the preparations was bad. The food was ill-prepared. The rotis were hard and stale and the dal and rice were also not prepared properly. We also visited a number of schools where the mid-day meal was found to be not up to the mark. We have issued a warning.”
However, Civil Surgeon Dr RL Bassan said, “Inspections were carried out and samples were taken. The samples will tell whether the food is proper. The establishment, in general, was found to be fine. The in charge of the school health programme inspected the place. She has issued a note on the issue.”
When asked why a stern warning or punitive action hadn’t been recommended, the CS said, “Let the reports come first.”
Health teams had also visited two of the schools in the Gandhi Camp area yesterday where again, the food was found to be bad.
The Tribune had highlighted the issue of sub-standard mid-day meal being served in various schools in these columns a few days ago. While the Education Department had said raids would be carried out regarding the bad state of meals, a concrete step in this direction hadn’t been taken so far.
Schools from a number of areas scattered across the district complained that they were being served stale, smelly food in their mid-day meals and a number of them had even discarded the food, dumping it outside their premises because it was inedible.
About four to five samples of food items were taken yesterday.
Confident of food quality
Veersain Upadhyay, general manager of the Jalandhar kitchen of the NGO Bagdanga Pashchimgiri Dishalakshmi, said, “The health teams have previously taken samples from our kitchen and they passed. You will see these samples will also come out good. We have been kids too. Our food is perfect. In fact, all schools are happy with it. There are just one or two which create trouble.”
He denied allegations of his kitchen being found in an unhygienic state by the health authorities yesterday.
The NGO, which is already providing food in Bathinda, Patiala and Amritsar started providing mid-day meal in the (urban schools) city on February 3. It feeds 35,000 students across 195 schools in the district. While it started with 90 schools, the rest were added on March 24 and April 1.
The place where mid-day meal for urban schools is prepared was found in a bad state
Instructions issued to improve mid-day meal quality
No serious action taken so far
Residue can be defined as a remainder obtained from a substance after a substantial portion of it is removed. Residues have presence in food products from the deliberate use of drugs or pesticides on animals & plants. That is why we consume residues as well while we eat Veg or non-veg foods and They could affect our body adversely.
The drug residues include the parent compounds and/or their metabolites in any edible portion of the animal or plant product and include associated impurities of the pesticides or drug concerned.
It could be noted here that the chemicals used in agriculture present a real threat to the saleability of animal or plant products if they are contaminated with the chemical residues.
Some of the most common examples of residues are Mercury in fish, sulfonamides in pig products, iodine in milk and chlorinated hydrocarbons in beef.
In harmonization with the international regulations, the Food Safety and Standards (Contaminants, Toxins and Residues) Regulations, 2011, has laid down some guidelines for the permissible intake of residues in food which is obtained from the plant or animal.
As per the FSSAI, The use of any of the following antibiotics and other Pharmacologically Active Substances shall be prohibited in any unit processing sea foods including shrimps, prawns or any other variety of fish and fishery products:
(i) All Nitrofurans including
(xii) Nalidixic acid
(xiv) Aristolochia spp and preparations thereof
(xxiii) Other nitromidazoles
(xxv) Diethylstibestrol (DES)
(xxvi) Sulfanoamide drugs (except approved Sulfadimethoxine, Sulfabromomethazine and Sulfaethoxypyridazine)
Nagpur Division of Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) on Tuesday seized Jafrani Jarda, paan masala and machine of manufacturing ‘Kharra’ worth Rs 60,172 from M/S Baba Traders, near Gandhi Gate Mahal.As per the gazette notification FSSA/Gazette/777-2013/7 dated July 18, 2013, Government of Maharashtra has imposed a ban on sale, distribution, storage and transport of food items like gutkha, scented tobacco, scented supari, (betelnut) scented paan masala etc for one year. Nagpur FDA, on a tip of, raided the premises of M/S Baba Traders and seized the items. Food Safety Officer (FSO) A D Raut, R B Dhabarde, FSO Vigilance L P Soyam conducted the raid and registered an offense against Ramesh Arjundas Jasnani, a resident of Adarpur Apartment, Nara Road,Jaripatka, at Kotwali Police Station.
Police Sub Inspector Atram has registered an offense against Jasnani on the complaint of FSO Akhilesh Damodhar Raut under Section 188, 273 and 328 of the IPC, read with sub-section 3(I)(II)(V), 27(2) (IV) under the FSSA act. N R Wakode, Assistant Commissioner (Food) FDA has appealed the citizens to inform FDA about the sale, distribution or storage of gutkha, paan masala and scented supari on FDA’s phone number 2562204 to help administration to implement gutkha ban effectively in the city.