Cow milk standard changed; lesser fat and solids now acceptable

16,August, 2017 Leave a comment

Minimum fat content in milk is now set at 3.2 per cent by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India

Desi cow’s milk has lesser fat content as compared to the Jersey cow

The Food Safety and Standards authority of India (FSSAI) has changed the regulatory standards of cow milk, making it uniform for the entire country as opposed to the state-wise standards earlier.

The new standards that came into effect on August 2, have reduced the earlier set standards of “milk fat” and “milk solids not fat.” While earlier the minimum fat content of cow’s milk was different for different regions. The highest standard for milk fat was set for Haryana, Punjab and Chandigarh at 4 per cent and the lowest in Mizoram and Orissa at 3 per cent.

This figure has now been made the same for the entire country set at 3.2 per cent. On the other hand the standard for milk solids which was set at 8.5 per cent all over the country has been brought down to 8.3 per cent.

The director of FSSAI, Pawan Agarwal said that the changes are part of the continuously evolving system of standards and added, "Today we don’t require the variation across states. That’s why the new standards are uniform for the country now." He said that the new standards will make sale of milk easier for cow milk sellers.

Veena Shatrugna, former deputy director of National Institute of Nutrition, Hyderabad, says that the new standard eases the selling process for cooperatives. Cow milk has 4.48 per cent fat content, so the change may be to accommodate desi cow’s milk, which has lesser fat content as compared to the Jersey cow, Shatrugna says. "There must be a demand from the owners of desi cows to recognise this as the ideal composition for cow’s milk," she adds.

Cooperatives found it difficult to meet the older standards as the cows have to be fed special fodder to increase milk fat content. While Agarwal says that the new standard will not impact the nutritional value of milk, Shatrugna believes it can make a difference when milk is diluted to give to babies.

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UPFDA to tighten its grip on unlicensed, unregistered FBOs

16,August, 2017 Leave a comment


Uttar Pradesh, the State Food and Drug Administration has decided to initiate a drive across the state against unlicensed and unregistered Food Business Operators (FBO). The step is taken to ensure high quality and safety in the state’s food business.

One of the officials of the UPFDA informed that FBOs can only operate their business freely if they possess legal license or registration as per the mandate of Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006. Ramaraj Maurya, Additional Commissioner, UPFDA, stated that the state authority had planned a drive and will check if there is any FBO operating without a valid license or registration.

“It has been mandated by the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 that any FBO found operating without a valid license or registration will be penalised,” he added.

“We will ensure that every FBO operates with a prescribed license or registration as required. For this, we plan to start a drive,” Maurya reiterated. However, he did not specify a timeline for the drive. Last Year, Food Safety and Standards Authority of India has given the deadline of 4th August, 2016 to obtain the license and it has stopped taking the requests after that. The apex body was more keen on educating FBOs about the responsibilities under the act rather than merely providing a license to them.

Commenting on the issue, Pawan Kumar Agarwal, chief executive officer, FSSAI, said, “It is a continuous process, and FSSAI regularly issues directives to the state authorities to make sure that the FBOs operate with valid licenses and registrations.”

“However, no directive has been issued to a particular state. Each state has been given the autonomy to act independently of others. They can take action, including penalising or compounding errant FBOs. The powers have been mentioned in the Act,” he added.

Agarwal said, “To further strengthen the process of licensing and registration, FSSAI plans to use technology-based solutions. For instance, it plans to use mobiles to check whether the licensing and registration regulations are being complied with.”

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Hair in kulfi, Verka says could have flown from nearby barber’s shop

16,August, 2017 Leave a comment

Chandigarh: The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has directed Verka, the flagship brand of Punjab’s state-owned cooperative Milkfed, to refund Rs 25 and pay Rs 3,000 as compensation for harassment caused to Sector 19 resident after a hair strand was found in an ice cream he bought from its booth. The Verka authorities were also asked to deposit Rs 7,000 with Institute for The Blind, Sector 26, as penalty for the irregularity in a first of its kind order.

Anshul Arora, a resident of Sector 19, said he had purchased one "Malai Kulfi" from Verka booth for Rs 25 on December 25, 2016. He found a hair stand and immediately informed the salesman, who referred the matter to the head of the marketing team.

The matter was reported to the police. A daily diary report (DDR) was lodged. A report from a food analyst in Haryana was sent to food safety officer, Government Multi-specialty Hospital, Sector 16. It was proved that the sample of kufli in the poly pack contained a small piece of hair.

The complaint was filed against Verka booth in Sector 19, Verka milk plant in Industrial Area and Punjab State Cooperative Milk Producers Federation Limited, Sector 34.

In its reply, Verka denied hair was inside the kulfi. It stated that the strand might have stuck to the kulfi because of the windy weather and due to a barber’s shop near the booth. Verka also stated that the alleged incident happened on December 25, 2016, and the complainant had taken the sample to laboratory for checking after two days. Verka authorities further stated that it might be possible that the plastic bag in which the sample was stored was containing a hair.

The forum held the pleas taken by Verka that the hair found inside the kulfi might have stuck because of windy weather and due to barber’s shop nearby was highly absurd.

How can a hair from a barber’s shop stick in an ice-cream packed in double packing, the forum asked. The other plea taken by them that it might be possible that the plastic bag in which the sample was stored was containing a hair, was stated to be "not worthy of belief as it is not reported in the report of the food analyst, Haryana, that hair in the sample of kulfi was stuck on it, rather it is reported that the sample contains a piece of hair."

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FSDA collects 61 food samples in anti-adulteration drive

16,August, 2017 Leave a comment

Meerut: Food Safety and Drugs Administration (FSDA) officials raided at least 60 different sweet shops and bakeries during a week-long drive around Raksha Bandhan and collected 61 suspected food samples. In a report regarding the same, FSDA said that the results of samples testing are expected within a month after which action will be taken if required.

“Ahead of Raksha Bandhan, we conducted a week-long drive against adulteration and took samples of oil, milk, milk products, sweets, sauce and other suspected items from various food outlets in rural and urban areas. The 61 samples have been sent to Lucknow laboratory for testing,” said Archana Dheeran, designated officer, FSDA.

“We also issued improvement notices to outlets which were found to be preparing food in unhygienic conditions. If they are again found to be doing the same, an inquiry will be ordered against them,” added Dheeran.

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Special food safety drive during Onam

16,August, 2017 Leave a comment

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: In order to prevent food safety issues during Onam season, the food safety commissioner has constituted 40 squads to carry out inspections in manufacturing units, restaurants, hotels and wayside shops across the state.

Food safety commissioner Navjot Khosa has also sent letters to food safety commissioners in the neighbouring states of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, urging them to increase surveillance during the period.

Being a consumerist state, Kerala depends on these states for its food requirements. Khosa‘s letter has expressed concerns over possible adulteration of products like milk, coconut oil, fruits, vegetables and chicken which are brought from other states.

Khosa requested the neighbouring states to increased surveillance and inspection in the production units there.

Food safety department officials said that manufacturers use innovative methods to hide adulteration. Food safety assistant commissioner Anil Kumar said that cheaper oils like palm oil and palm kernel oil are pushed into the market, instead of coconut oil. "It is difficult to detect this through tests because the manufacturers have found new ways to ensure that the samples meet the parameters of coconut oil," he said.

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Nothing clean about mineral water units in Telangana

16,August, 2017 Leave a comment

They operate without microbiologist to test purity: IB report

The report said due to lack of supervision by the food safety department and interference of political leaders, officials were unable to conduct raids on the illegal units.

Hyderabad: Thousands of so-called ‘mineral water plants’ are being run in the state without much supervision. The intelligence department has reported to the government that the composite Warangal district had 1,500 such water units, of which 1,484 were being run illegally. This has caused a huge loss to the state exchequer, it said.

The report said supervisory officials were accepting bribes to ignore the illegal plants. It said the units were thriving because of the increasing demand for clean water. According to the norms, a water unit needs a minimum space of 1,000 square feet and a borewell. The owner should take permission from the local urban body or gram panchayat and get it registered with the district industries centre.

The owner should obtain a labour department certificate and the ISI certification from the Bureau of Indian Standards. The unit should engage a well-trained microbiologist, and the staff to maintain hygienic condition and qualitative production. The intelligence report said no unit had a chemical lab and microbiologist to test the water purity in Warangal district. Only 16 of the 1,500 water units in the composite district had clearance certificate from the food safety authority and only one plant had the BIS certification.

Another 15 plants had obtained certificates from a body called International Herbal Water Foundation (IHWF), Chennai, which is not recognised by the government. The owners were printing the IHWF hallmark that they secured by paying Rs 50,000 per year on the bottles.

The report said due to lack of supervision by the food safety department and interference of political leaders, officials were unable to conduct raids on illegal units. The intelligence report suggested that the government bring these units under the Essential Commodities Act to regulate licencing, make BIS certification mandatory and empower the district food safety inspector to seize illegal units. Director of municipal administration T.K. Sreedevi said the government did not have a clear policy on mineral water plants, and would bring out one soon.

Former MLA K. Laxma Reddy, who encouraged the growth of these water units, said they were like cottage industries and did not need a licence. He set up about 300 units plants in Ranga Reddy district. He said that water unit owners were doing a a social service by supplying clean water. Introducing a licencing system would lead to corruption and an increase in the cost of water. He said food safety authorities could check quality of water supplied.

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Happy Independence Day

15,August, 2017 Leave a comment


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FDA tests suspect eggs, finds them free of plastic

14,August, 2017 Leave a comment

MUMBAI: Bizarre rumours and fake WhatsApp videos about "plastic eggs" being sold in its jurisdiction have prompted the Thane Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to clarify that these are false claims. All samples tested were reported to be natural and safe for consumption.

Egg traders are anxious as sales have dropped in Thane, Kalyan and Vasai-Virar region amid the weak Shravan season. Fake videos featuring ‘Chinese plastic eggs’ had surfaced in West Bengal in April and have spread nationwide since.

Raju Shewale who heads the Mumbai Eggs Association said, "This fake news is circulating in alarming proportion. Mumbai region consumes 70 lakh eggs worth Rs 3.5 crore daily. Business has fallen on the back of these rumours."

Curiously, similar complaints are being filed in police stations across Mumbai, Thane and Vasai-Virar. In Kurar, Malad (East), a customer complained about smelly eggs sold by a vendor. Senior inspector Udayraje Shirke said samples were sent for testing to FDA.

An egg seller in nearby Islah Pura of Kurar said, "It was a quarrel between customer and seller over rotten eggs that led to the police seizing 6,000 eggs from poor vendor. Leftover eggs do spoil during Shravan as consumption is low. Plastic eggs do not smell, only natural ones do. And how do you crack open a plastic ball?"

FDA officials in Thane are bearing the brunt of the rumour. "We have analysed samples from 20-25 shops in Kalyan and all eggs were found to be fit for consumption," said an officer.

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GM food products: If notified, 30 days time should be given to raise objections, says Supreme Court

14,August, 2017 Leave a comment

The Supreme Court said that provisions already exist in the Food Safety and Standards Act (FSS), 2006 in this regard and the notification can only be issued after appropriate regulations are put in place.Supreme Court for centralised system for lower judiciary appointments

The Supreme Court on Friday said that if any notification is issued by the Centre for sale of genetically modified food products in the market, one month time should be given for raising objections. A bench of Chief Justice J S Khehar and Justice D Y Chandrachud said that provisions already exist in the Food Safety and Standards Act (FSS), 2006 in this regard and the notification can only be issued after appropriate regulations are put in place.

It noted the submission of senior advocate Ajit Sinha appearing for the Centre that the issue is under active consideration and it is only after regulations are passed by Parliament, that a notification can be issued.

Taking the statement on record, the apex court disposed of the plea filed by environmental activist Vandana Shiva challenging the notification of 2007 with regard to selling of GM food products. Sinha said that without the regulations in place, the notification cannot be enacted upon.

The Centre said the Food Safety and Standards Act (FSS), 2006 provides for 30 days period for the notification to be implemented during which objections if any can be raised.

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