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Bombay HC cuts number of Maggi noodles samples for testing from 3750 to 45

10,September, 2015 Comments off

 

The Bombay High Court has allowed Nestlé India’s application to reduce the number of samples of Maggi noodles for testing.
Now 45 samples of the nine variants of Maggi noodles, five each, will be tested in the three accredited labs mentioned in the court’s order of August 13, 2015. In the said order, the court had asked Nestlé to test 3,750 samples, five each from 750 batches of the nine variants.
According to a statement issued by the company, the court allowed Nestlé’s petition owing to some factual correction with regard to the samples.
The company stated, "By an order passed on September 4, Bombay High Court was pleased to allow application of Nestlé India praying for bringing out certain factual corrections in the judgment dated August 13, 2015, and for seeking clarity on certain aspects of sampling for tests to be conducted in accordance with the directions of the Bombay High Court. The court has allowed that five samples of each variant be sent to the three accredited laboratories for testing. The list of these laboratories is already part of the order dated August 13, 2015.”
On August 28, Nestlé had moved the court to allow it to send five random samples of each of the nine variants to three accredited laboratories, instead of sending five samples for each of the 750 batches of all nine variants, as directed by the court in its August 13, 2015, order.
The earlier ruling by the Bombay High Court had set aside the ban imposed by the apex food regulator, FSSAI. The ban order was issued on June 5 and Nestlé had filed a petition against the ban on June 30. The company will now send 45 random samples to the three named labs, while the test report will come in six weeks. If the results were found okay, Nestlé would be allowed to manufacture the product – Maggi noodles.
Substandard samples in Ghaziabad
Meanwhile, two samples of Maggi noodles were allegedly found substandard, misbranded and unsafe by a Ghaziabad lab after testing. The two samples were taken off the shelves by health department in Jaipur.
In a statement, the health department stated, “Two samples, E1890 and E1893, were collected from Jaipur on June 4. The samples were sent to Ghaziabad for testing. Now, we received the report from the laboratory. The report says that the samples were substandard, misbranded and unsafe. We will take action as per the norms in Food Safety and Standards Act (FSSA).”
Reacting to this Himanshu Manglik, spokesperson, Nestlé in a statement pointed out, “We have not received any of the reports that you are referring to and unable to comment. However, we have tested more than 2,700 samples of Maggi noodles, including 1,100 samples at independent accredited laboratories in India and abroad. These tests represent more than 165 million packets, and every test has found levels of Lead and Cadmium within the food safety limits specified by the Indian authorities. Food standards authorities in USA, the UK, Canada, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand have also confirmed that Maggi noodles are safe to eat.”
The test report suggests that the samples collected were having higher amount of Cadmium.

Categories: NEWS

India’s food safety crisis indicative of bureaucratic failures

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Food safety is a serious public health concern in the world’s two most populous countries, China and India. In both the countries, the challenges of feeding a large, geographically dispersed population, millions of whom are poor and malnourished, are immense.

This has led to the proliferation of illegal, dishonest, and bootleg suppliers and slipshod government policies.

The results are detrimental to public health, particularly for vulnerable communities. Such crises further compromise international perceptions, indicating poor governance, weak political will, inadequate policies and lax law enforcement. The path to development is not exclusively about economic growth, jobs and infrastructure. Clear and consistent food regulatory policy, and their implementation are both imperative for growth and the inherent responsibility of responsible and progressive governments.

In recent years, tainted milk products in China have led to child deaths, resulting in angry consumer backlash and a strengthened pledge by the government to address the safety of food sources. Other food safety episodes in China include the 2013 discovery of a crime ring marketing fake or tainted meat products, and an August investigation of distillers charged with adding the virility drug Viagra to liquor products. McDonalds and KFC have suffered losses in China due to food safety concerns, and the widely publicized gutter oil scandal lingers amidst ongoing investigations. Concern about food contamination – more than a desire to improve fitness – is now driving increased interest in healthy diets, including organic meat.

Likewise, food scandals have plagued India for decades. The ongoing case of Nestlé’s Maggi instant noodles has thrust the issue of food safety into the national political spotlight. Additives such as monosodium glutamate (MSG), which some consider a possible health concern, have been detected in Maggi noodles, although the company has consistently denied use of such additives. After the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) discovered unhealthy levels of lead in the noodles, the Indian government banned Maggi. Tests in six countries, including Canada, Singapore, UK and USA, have determined the product to be safe for consumption, but Nestlé still responded by destroying more than 35000 tonnes of the product. In a legal petition, the company argued that India’s testing system is flawed, leading to inaccurate findings. In August, an Indian court overturned the government’s ban on Maggi noodles, arguing that the move was “arbitrary” and “that principles of natural justice were not followed.”

Other cases illustrate India’s food sourcing challenges. The rampant use of milk adulterants (agents to reduce thickness after water is added) can cause both short-term digestive problems and long-term chronic health problems. Genetically modified products are increasingly seen by some as a viable solution for feeding India’s growing population, setting the stage for a public battle among corporations, scientists, public health advocates and NGOs. Despite the recent lifting of a ban on Indian mango imports to the EU, a number of agricultural products remain subject to import restrictions due ostensibly to lax regulations and enforcement of health and safety concerns.

In addition to garnering political notice, health and safety issues have become a publicly visible concern as well. For example, a recent video accusing of Hindustan Unilever of dumping toxic wastes has created a wave of attention on social media. Such episodes are indicative of a groundswell of discontent as information becomes more ubiquitous and consumers more informed – inevitabilities of a more educated and technologically savvy public.

Regrettably India’s food safety standards are not at developed world standards. The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) frequently rejects products shipped from India, from food to generic medicines and cosmetics. Given this fact, it is difficult to see how Maggi was declared unsafe when analyses by Singapore, the United States, the UK, and Canada indicated otherwise. This raises the prospect that India’s food safety monitoring system is inconsistent and arbitrary, a product of larger governance and bureaucratic failures at the regulatory level.

Testing and analytical capacity among India’s official food safety monitoring units is inadequate to manage a supply system that feeds nearly 1.3 billion people. In Delhi alone, a food testing agency has only three chemists and has had to rely on outsourced capacity of dubious reliability. Many have argued that food testing laboratories lack adequate equipment and expertise. Assuming the Maggi product sold in India is the same as that sold around the world, there appears to be a breakdown in India’s food safety monitoring system. Beset with under-capacity, the country’s food regulatory bodies lack credibility among the domestic public and international communities and investors. This undermines government efforts to protect citizens against legitimate health threats.

Food safety is only one of many threats to public health in India. Delhi city ranks in the bottom-100 of 476 Indian cities for sanitation and waste management. Child deaths from diarrhea are among the highest in the world due in part to poor water quality. Not a single city in India provides clean water that can be consumed form the tap. To connect the issue with larger developmental concerns, India needs FDI to maintain growth. Prime Minister Modi aims to improve India’s ranking in the WEF’s Global Competitiveness Index, but consistent bureaucratic bungling and foot-dragging such as those related to food safety are compromising these efforts by signaling to investors that the country’s regulatory culture is haphazard, arbitrary, whimsical and ineffective.

The solution is more effective appropriation of resources to regulatory units, institutional strengthening and capacity building, tighter strategic and operational coordination among agencies, and the maintenance of a balance-of-powers system in which one government branch (in the Nestlé case, the judiciary) calls out other government bodies for incompetence. Restrictions and sanctions should be applied in areas needing urgent policy attention, but targeting high-profile products in an attempt to signal regulatory activity is a counterproductive approach. Regardless of whether the Maggi case was a legitimate health threat, it is clear from this lamentable episode that India’s food safety and public health regulatory regimes are in dire need of a robust overhaul, sooner the better.

Categories: NEWS

உணவு பாதுகாப்பு அதிகாரி ஆய்வு

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கடலுார்: கடலுாரில் உள்ள தனியார் டிபார்ட்மென்ட் ஸ்டோரில் காலாவதியான பொருட்கள் விற்பனை செய்யப்படுகிறதா என மாவட்ட உணவு பாதுகாப்பு அதிகாரி ராஜா ஆய்வு செய்தார்.

கடலுார் நியூசினிமா அருகே உள்ள டிபார்ட்மென்ட் ஸ்டோரில் விற்பனை செய்யப்படும் பொருட்கள் உற்பத்தி மற்றும் காலாவதியான தேதி, பேட்ஜ் நெம்பர் போன்றவை ஒட்டப்பட்டுள்ளதா என சோதனை செய்தார். விற்பனையாகாமல் காலாவதியான பொருட்கள் இருந்தால் உடனடியாக அவற்றை அப்புறப்படுத்துமாறு கடை உரிமையாளரிடம் எச்சரித்தார். ஆய்வின் போது, வட்ட உணவு பாதுகாப்பு அதிகாரி நந்தகுமார் உடனிருந் தார்.

Categories: Cuddalore, DISTRICT-NEWS

Food Safety bar on Nirapara spices brands in Kerala

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Thiruvananthapuram: The Commissionerate of Food Safety has stepped up surveillance across the state to ensure that banned Nirapara spices powders are off the shelves. Commissioner of Food Safety T.V. Anupama told DC that Nirapara had complied with the ban order and started withdrawing the banned products from the market.

The investigations carried out by Food Safety authorities found that wheat flour and starch were being used for adulterating chilly, coriander and turmeric powders manufactured by Nirapara. Subsequently, the Food Safety authorities issued the ban order last Friday.

“Our district offices have stepped up surveillance and as per their reports the products have been removed from the market. Also the company didn’t request for extension of deadline. Further action would be decided after getting a replay from the manufacturer,” said Ms Anupama.

Sources say that the Food Safety is planning to get the samples checked again at another laboratory. “Strict action would be taken against traders who continue to sell the banned products. It is a criminal offence as per the Act,” said the official.

Categories: NEWS

How safe is your home-cooked food?

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Ban on a brand of spices raises questions of adulteration

The ban on spices of a popular brand in the State has brought the issue of food adulteration to the fore once again.

Though only a few cases of branded products containing adulterants have been registered, the potential health damage these can cause could be bigger due to a wide consumer base.

Three products of the brand in question were banned by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) a few days ago. The packaged powders of coriander, chilly, and turmeric were detected as ‘sub-standard’. Food safety officials conducted checks at various outlets to ensure removal of the product from market, says J.S. George, a senior FSSAI official. The manufacturer will have to prove that corrective measures have been taken, before marketing them again. A penalty has been imposed on the company. Another Kerala-based manufacturer of spices was also involved in a similar case earlier. “Identifying a product as ‘sub-standard’ will only let the manufacturer escape with a penalty. In contrast, if the item is found unsafe, the crime invites severe punishment, including imprisonment.

In most cases of food adulteration, the charges are listed in the former category, allowing the culprits to escape by paying penalty,” an expert in food industry says, on condition of anonymity.

Quite often, sales of fake items bank on consumer ignorance. For instance, dry ‘shell’ is sold as coriander after extracting oil from it, he adds. FSSAI is not keen on eliminating the entrepreneur, but wants to make safe products available, says an FSSAI official, who led raids in Alappuzha in the recent Operation Ruchi.

Samples taken from different outlets were analysed at the laboratory for food analysis in Thiruvananthapuram, before action.

Categories: NEWS