Person having contagious disease shall not handle food, clarifies FSSAI

14,October, 2019 Leave a comment


No person known to be suffering from any contagious disease shall continue to handle food products is one of the key conditions put forward by a recent clarification issued by the apex food regulator in regard to those who will be permitted to operate without FSSAI registration.
The clarification has been issued in regard to the FSSAI’s order dated July 8, 2019, regarding non-requirement of FSSAI registration for last mile delivery persons, direct sellers, food vending machines, water vending machines, food ATMs and branded food carts owned by single or main entity subject to certain conditions. In the clarification, the term, direct selling agents, which was used in the order earlier, has been replaced by direct sellers.
According to FSSAI (Food Safety and Standards Authority of India), it is clarified that the said order provides an option and is applicable to those cases where the main entity accepts the responsibility of regulatory compliance by the last mile delivery person, direct sellers, individual food units or entities.
The FSSAI stated, “In this regard, the main entity shall communicate in writing to its individual entities and to respective licensing authorities, its decision to undertake the responsibility of such compliance. In case the option is not exercised, the requirement of FSSAI registration by such persons shall continue.”
It is pertinent to mention here that in July, the apex food regulator agreed to give relief to persons involved in direct selling of food products as it has relaxed the requirement for FSSAI registration for such operations but with conditions.
The regulator, in its direction, stated that last mile delivery person, direct selling agents, food vending machines, water vending machine, food ATMs owned by single entity and branded food carts owned by single entity, are exempted from the requirement of FSSAI registration.
The conditions included that the main entity shall obtain FSSAI licence based on their eligibility, maintain database or record of all individual units, and shall be responsible for regulatory compliance by these individual entities.
Further, main entity shall also issue photo IDs having a unique identity number and bearing the licence number of main unit. Also when asked, the individual entity/unit shall display the licence number of the main entity. To this FSSAI issued clarification that in case the IDs do not have photo of the individual, it must be accompanied with a government issued photo ID card.
A senior official with the FSSAI said that the issue related to the FSSAI registration to ‘Last mile delivery persons, direct selling agents’ was examined by the FSSAI and since they generally work under single main entity to ensure last mile delivery of food products and are not directly involved in manufacturing, sale and supply of food articles on their own or under their own brand name, the FSSAI has therefore taken the decision, which however is subjected to conditions for which the the food regulator has issued the clarification.

Categories: NEWS

Dr Vardhan launches FSSAI’s Trans-fat Free logo; Boost for Eat Right

14,October, 2019 Leave a comment

The Trans-fat Free logo of the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) was unveiled at the Eighth International Chefs’ Conference (ICC VIII) in New Delhi recently by Dr Harsh Vardhan, minister of health and family welfare. It marked an important milestone in the movement against trans-fats and also provided a momentum to accelerate the apex regulator’s Eat Right India movement.
At the event, he stated, The ‘Eat Right India’ movement of FSSAI takes inspiration from the vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modji of giving to the people of this country a New India by 2022 that includes health, social security and nutrition.”
“Modi has also acknowledged the Eat Right Movement of FSSAI in his Mann ki Baat address. He further stated that health does not merely mean absence of disease and infirmity, but its definition also includes the presence of physical, mental, emotional and spiritual wellness, and food plays a vital role in all these components,” the minister added.
Dr Vardhan said that the primacy given to nutrition and healthy eating practices by the Government forms the pivot of the Poshan Maah, which was observed in September, where many ministries and stakeholders joined hands to enhance awareness about issues surrounding nutrition.
“Trans-fats are the worst type of fats with known health risks. India is committed to eliminating it from the food supply, and is progressing towards its objective of trans fat elimination by 2022; a year ahead of the global target by WHO (World Health Organization),” he added.
“As a part of our collective vision, FSSAI is committed to reducing the industrially produced trans fatty acids to less than two per cent by the year 2022 in a phased manner and is geared up to get freedom from trans fats with the motto, India@75; Freedom from Trans Fats,” the minister stated.
“It is encouraging to see chefs from across the country coming forward to support the regulator in this cause and working towards a healthier India,” he added.
Dr Vardhan appreciated the bakeries for voluntarily adopting healthier cooking practices to eliminate trans fats.
He added that it was a national and social responsibility for all of us, and especially for the chefs as they carries an additional responsibility of ensuring that the food served was not just safe and tasty, but also healthy.
The minister congratulated FSSAI for its efforts in mobilising various stakeholders to work cohesively and take the Eat Right India movement forward.
At the event, he released a slogan, Chefs 4 Trans Fat Free, under which over 1,000 chefs from different parts of the country took a pledge to use trans-fat free oils in their recipes and work towards their elimination from the diets of the Indian populace at large.
Dr Vardhan also released a trans-fat free brochure, trans-fat free manifesto for chefs, and distributed pins to five chefs as an acknowledgement for them adopting trans-fat free recipes.
He also felicitated 10 bakeries who are using trans-fat free oils in their products and those that committed to use trans-fat free oils in the future.
The minister also launched the Green Purple initiative logo. The initiative aims to qualify the chefs on food safety legal requirements and sustainable cooking methods, in order to promote trans-fat free cooking.
It will be a six-month programme that includes key areas of trans-fat free cooking, using less sodium, and hygienic, seasonal, eco-friendly, less energy consuming cooking methods. The chefs shall, thereafter, ensure global standards of food safety and sustainable environment practices.
Industrial trans-fats are made by adding hydrogen to liquid vegetable oils to make them more solid, and to increase the shelf life of foods. Trans-fats are largely present in partially hydrogenated vegetable fats/oils, vanaspati, margarine and bakery shortenings, and can be found in baked and fried foods.
The food establishments which use trans-fat free oil and do not have industrial trans-fat more than 0.2g/100g of food, in compliance with the Food Safety and Standards (Advertising and Claims) Regulations, 2018 can display the Trans-fat free logo at their outlets and on their food products. The use of the said logo is voluntary.
Thanking the food industry for their proactive support in taking forward the Eat Right India movement, Pawan Kumar Agarwal, chief executive officer, FSSAI, said, “FSSAI is committed to reducing the industrially-produced trans-fatty acids to less than two per cent by the year 2022 in a phased manner. I am hopeful that the chef community will work with us in achieving this goal.”
During the event, sessions were also held on FSSAI’s Hygiene Rating and Right Place to Eat Scheme, which is an online, transparent scoring and rating system that aims to empower consumers with informed food choices while eating out.
Chefs were encouraged to adopt this scheme across the country to showcase that they are the Right Place to Eat.
Another session focussed on the need for reducing sodium/salt content from Indian diets. Chefs were encouraged to prepare recipes with less salt, as it reduces the risk of heart attacks and strokes, even among those who do not have high blood pressure.
Also present at the event were members of the food sector fraternity, including the scientific community, industry and industry associations, medical and nutrition experts, as well as renowned chefs from across the globe, highlighting the need to eliminate trans-fats from the food supply.

Categories: NEWS

Quality of water comes under scanner as ministry to make BIS mandatory

14,October, 2019 Leave a comment


The quality of water distributed by municipalities in India has come under scanner as the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution has made its intention clear to initiate a ‘Swachh Pani Abhiyan or Clean Water Mission.’ Under this programme, the ministry is planning to make Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) norms for drinking water mandatory to regulate its safety.
The ministry, in this regard, held a meeting in which officials of BIS, Delhi Jal Board (DJB), Ministry of Jal Shakti, Department of Consumer Affairs, and FSSAI, the apex food regulator, participated.
According to a ministry statement, the meeting was called to discuss the standards for drinking water, on which the BIS is already working. It was also felt that the standards must be made mandatory, though currently they were voluntary in nature.
Explaining the food regulator’s point of view, a senior official of FSSAI stated that since currently the drinking water supplied by municipalities does not come under the FSS Act, the authority cannot have much role to play. However, if there is an amendment to the Act, the FSSAI would be in a better position to enforce and see compliance.
It is pertinent to mention here that BIS norms are voluntary while the enforcement of standards for food products rests with the FSSAI. Officials say that at the moment it is unclear whether the government would go for an amendment.
Meanwhile, BIS officials informed during the meeting that they had collected water samples from 11 places from Delhi region and tested them on 42 parameters such as pH level, odour, metal content, Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) and all samples failed to meet the BIS norms on multiple parameters.
Ram Vilas Paswan, Union minister for consumers affairs, stated that BIS has been directed to collect samples from state capitals and compile the results by November 2019 itself. The process of collecting samples from state capitals including Delhi has already begun. BIS will be conducting a test of all the water samples for which teams have been deployed.
Paswan informed that BIS has been asked to write letters to all states including Delhi and also to concerned officials from various ministries to create a consensus among them regarding making the standards mandatory.
Further, the minister stressed on research to be done to create basic testing kits which could be easily used and understood by all people that will help them ascertain whether the water is clean enough to drink or not.
Interestingly, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has promised to provide piped drinking water to all households by 2024 and Paswan said that he has started this Abhiyaan which has begun from Delhi and will be taken across the nation while FSSAI has no mandate as yet on the subject.

Categories: NEWS

Your airline meal may come served in banana leaf

14,October, 2019 Leave a comment

To Cut Plastic Trash, Companies Look For Sustainable Alternatives

From disposable headphones and plastic cutlery to food scraps and toilet waste, the average airline passenger leaves behind over three pounds of garbage, according to one estimate. To get travelers and airlines thinking — and talking — about that rather large pile of trash, a British design firm has refashioned the economy meal tray, replacing plastic with renewable materials such as coffee grounds, banana leaves and coconut wood.

Jo Rowan, the associate strategy director of PriestmanGoode, said the firm is turning its attention to the less “glamorous” side of things. “Onboard waste is a big issue,” she said. “Knowing that you have four billion passengers per year, it all adds up very quickly.”

By far the biggest environmental issue with air travel is the associated carbon emissions, which are growing at a faster rate than predicted in previous, already dire projections.

But as air travel becomes increasingly accessible, airlines have been making public their pledges to curb their environmental footprints, including the plastic forks and leftovers their passengers leave behind.

The International Air Transport Association, a group representing about 300 airlines, conducted a study at Heathrow Airport in London and estimated that airlines generated about 6.7 million tonnes of cabin waste last year. As low-cost airlines proliferate, and as the tourism industry continues to court middle-class customers, that number could double in the next decade.

Pere Fullana i Palmer, director of the Unesco Chair in Life Cycle and Climate Change, a research group, has taken an even deeper dive into the issue of airline trash.

Fullana i Palmer’s research group teamed up with Iberia Airlines, Gate Gourmet, Ferrovial and Ecoembes to analyse 8,400 pounds of garbage on 145 flights into Madrid. The group found that 33% was food waste, 28% cardboard and paper waste, and about 12% was plastic.

Fullana i Palmer agreed that legislation permitting more materials to be recycled or turned into biogas was needed, but said that change was possible.

In designing the onboard items, PriestmanGoode was conscious of heft because the more weight on an aircraft, the higher the fuel emissions.

Categories: NEWS

Not in safe hands

14,October, 2019 Leave a comment

Food regulator must champion public health and not be industry cheerleader

In whose interest? The 2017 FSSAI-Nestle handshake was shameful, considering the company was still under the scanner

The way the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is cosying up to the very food industry it is supposed to regulate, it would appear it has forgotten that it is not a promotional agency but a legally mandated regulator. The FSSAI is supposed to establish food safety standards and enforce them as per law, acting as the custodian of public health, just like the Food and Drug Administration in the US. For the promotion of food industry and business, the Centre has a dedicated wing — Ministry of Food Processing Industries.

Food and drug regulation is divided between the FSSAI and the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI). In both, the influence of powerful industrial and business lobbies has been a matter of concern. In 2012, the parliamentary committee on health had exposed the dubious nature of drug regulation, and reminded the DCGI that its job was to protect consumer interest and public health and not promote the interests of the pharmaceutical industry. Now, the FSSAI is going the same way.

The FSSAI came into existence as a result of the Food Safety and Standards Act 2006 and started functioning a couple of years later. The food industry influence on the regulator was seen at the very genesis of the authority when it packed all its scientific panels with representatives of the industry it sought to regulate. The panels were supposed to formulate standards for various things such as levels of pesticide residue, food labelling, genetically modified content in food, food supplements, recall, fisheries products, etc. Appointing food industry executives on these panels was grossly unethical as well as illegal. The law clearly lays down that members of scientific committees should be ‘independent’ experts. These committees were cleaned up following uproar in media and rebuke from the Supreme Court.

Within a few years, the industry — perhaps nudged by the regulators — invented a way to subvert these panels once again. Instead of nominating people directly from Coke, Pepsi, Cargill, ITC, Nestle, etc., as was done in 2008, the FSSAI stuffed its panels with so-called experts from industry-floated and industry-backed, dubious think tanks, associations and so-called private research institutes.

When this industry-regulator arrangement was exposed recently in international and national press, the FSSAI has come out with draft guidelines on ‘working with the private sector’. These guidelines are nothing but poor justification of what has been going on in the authority in the past few years. It is now seeking to legitimise its cosy arrangement with the global and national food industry. The guidelines say that ‘any candidate currently working/employed or associated with private food businesses of their research centres cannot be considered for appointment’ in any scientific panel. The authority will have to sack half the members and chairmen of its panels if the proposal is implemented honestly. The guidelines also justify the participation of CEO and other senior officials of the authority on panels of some vague food safety centres established by industry associations, as long as ‘the work of such centres is fully aligned with the aims and objectives of FSSAI’. There is inherent conflict in this — the objective of private industry and food biggies is profit, while the FSSAI is supposed to protect public health and consumer interest. Where do the two sets of interests align? Why should the CEO of public-funded FSSAI rub shoulders with food companies who are answerable only to their shareholders?

Ironically, the present rot in food regulation follows a major food product recall by the FSSAI in 2015 — Nestle’s Maggi noodles — for mislabelling. This recall had jolted global food giants. Here was a promising market for highly processed food products and a food regulator which could bite. Food majors responded by unleashing high-pitch public relations and lobbying efforts through industry chambers, politicians, international associations and even World Bank. The goal was to make the FSSAI industry-friendly. Nestle floated a food safety research centre, Hindustan Lever got Confederation of Indian Industries to set up a centre for excellence in food safety, ITC gave the bait of training regulatory staff, and so on. In each of these activities, the FSSAI became an active partner and its top brass donned the cap of a champion of food industry, deviating from its legally mandated goal of protecting consumer health. The handshake of the FSSAI chief with Nestle in 2017 was a shameful act, given the fact that the company then was still under the scanner and was facing a class action suit. It continues to face trouble with other government agencies. In September 2019, two of its dubious research projects were ordered to be terminated by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) for flouting regulations relating to marketing of baby foods. The DCGI has been asked to examine if ethical approvals were taken for the two clinical trials sponsored by Nestle. But ignoring this, the FSSAI wants to work with the likes of Nestle, as is clear from the latest guidelines on ‘working with the private sector’.

Both the food and drug regulatory authorities should be above board if they have to win the confidence of consumers. Both must champion the cause of public health and consumer safety, and not become cheerleaders of the industry. Like the investigation by the parliamentary panel into the working of the DCGI, and recently into the working of another regulator — Medical Council of India — there should be one covering the functioning of the FSSAI. Knee-jerk reactions to occasional exposes into its working are not going to help. The authority needs an overhaul and a new system that ensures the highest levels of transparency. The blurring of lines between promotion and regulation is not in the interest of the public.

Categories: NEWS

Tea Board warning on adulteration

14,October, 2019 Leave a comment

Attempt to colour leaf will be punished

The Darjeeling Terai Dooars Plantation Labour Union had threatened to stop the dispatch of made tea from Thursday

Tea Board India on Friday warned of legal action against those adding colour to tea.

It said there was no provision for use of colour in tea and advised all stakeholders to follow the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) guidelines for not using any colour in tea, which leads to food safety, health, trade and quality problems.

FSSAI 2011 regulation 2.10.1 (1) on tea says, “The product shall be free from extraneous matter, added colouring matter and harmful substances.”

The board tested samples of a bought leaf factory in Assam which had used a yellow colouring substance and it will soon take action to cancel its licence.

The colouring agent is tartrazine, a synthetic lemon yellow azo dye primarily used in food colouring. It is sometimes used to give good colour to tea.

It said colour adulteration was strictly prohibited from the consumer’s health point of view and colouring of tea had gradually become a serious concern. Tea (finished product/made tea) occasionally contains extraneous colouring materials which are not allowed. It is called adulterant tea.

“There are occasional reports that sub-standard tea leaves were coloured with Bismarck brown, potassium blue, turmeric, indigo, plumbago and others to impart some favourite colour or glossiness to the product. Tea leaves which were damaged during manufacturing process or are of inferior quality are being treated with various colouring agents to improve their appearance and price. Colouring materials which are added to tea do not add any value to the product,” the Board said in a notice.

There are some colours which are non-toxic and permitted by FSSAI, and can be used in products like sweets and fruit juices. FSSAI permits use of eight synthetic colours in specific food items and tea is not included in that list.

It said black teas are usually treated with plumbago (black lead), also used in pencils, but there was no evidence that using it was deleterious to health. However, adding foreign matter to teas for the purpose of deception should be strongly discouraged. Scientific studies are required to evaluate the impact of using colour to health. Prussian blue is also used in colouring tea, which reports suggest was a toxic substance. Adulteration in tea leaves is usually done by treating processed leaves with a mixture containing Prussian blue, turmeric or indigo, among others.

The board said a simple screening test could help detect colour in tea. It involves use of a microscope where a portion of the leaves can be mounted as an opaque object where the colouring matter will appear in small dots. There are also some chemical methods to identify the colour in tea.

Adulteration can be also detected by simply rubbing a small quantity of tea between thumb and forefinger. Artificially coloured tea results in a bright stain when rubbed.

Another way is to fill a glass with cold water and put some tea on the surface. If the water colour changes immediately, it is certain that the tea has been dyed with soluble colours.

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கோயில் பிரசாத கடைகளில் தரமான பொருட்கள் விற்பனை

14,October, 2019 Leave a comment

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கலப்பட மிளகாய்த்தூள்… கண்டுபிடிக்க சில வழிகள்!

6,October, 2019 Leave a comment

நாம் அன்றாடம் பயன்படுத்தும் மசாலாப் பொருள்களில் மிளகாய்த்தூளுக்கு முக்கியப் பங்குண்டு. சிவப்பு மிளகாயை உலரவைத்து, அரைத்து, சேமித்துவைத்துப் பயன்படுத்திய காலம் மலையேறிவிட்டது. 50 கிராம் பாக்கெட் முதல் கிலோ கணக்கிலான பெட்டி வரை, இன்ஸ்டன்ட் மிளகாய்த்தூள் வகைகள் இப்போது கடைகளில் கிடைக்கின்றன. ஆனால், அவை எந்தளவுக்குப் பாதுகாப்பானவை, அவற்றில் கலப்படம் செய்ய முடியுமா, கலப்படங்களை எவ்வாறு கண்டறிவது, சுத்தமான மிளகாய்த்தூளை வீட்டிலேயே எப்படித் தயார் செய்வது?

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2,October, 2019 Leave a comment


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