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Sago manufacturers warned

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Officials of the Tamil Nadu Food Safety and Drug Administration Department inspected sago units at various places in the district and warned manufacturers against adulteration in the product.

A team led by District Designated Officer K. Tamil Selvan and Food Safety Inspectors inspected sago units in Puduchatram area on Thursday night.

A total of 38 units were functioning in the area, but due to off-season, only eight units were functioning.

On Friday, only two units were functioning of which samples were taken from one unit.

A total of 92 gunny bags containing sago were kept in the store room and locked. Officials said that only after the test report proved that the sample was free from adulteration, the manufacturer would be allowed to sell the sago.

Officials also inspected whether the skin of tapioca was fully peeled and used in the manufacturing process or any chemicals were used.

Also, they were warned against mixing corn flour with tapioca. Officials also found water stagnation on the unit premises and asked workers to ensure that the floor is cleaned regularly. They were asked to erect name board at the entry point.

Recently, the team also inspected sago units in Namagiripettai and took samples of sago.

Gunny bags containing sago were kept in the room in the premises and locked as lab reports are awaited.

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Kerala: ICAR suppresses toxin level report

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Thiruvananthapuram: The latest report of Kerala Agricultural University’s pesticide residue lab omits the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India’s residue limit in condiments collected during January-June 31, apparently on the direction of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research lest it should affect India’s exports to West Asia. The periodicity of KAU’s tri-monthly release of pesticide residue report has been reduced to once in six months under pressure from ICAR and FSSAI, it is learnt.

In the latest report, condiments and masala powders like Elaichi, Ajwain (aimodakam), chilli powder, dried chilli, coriander, crushed chilli, cumin seeds, cumin, garam masala, gobi Manchurian masala, Kashmiri chilli powder, dried ginger powder, curry masala, pickle powder, sambar powder, tea, fenugreek and coriander powder do not carry permissible limits of toxins.

“Unfortunately most of our spices and condiments go to Middle East, Far East and parts of European Union countries. Middle East countries don’t have stringent inspection mechanism and our exports are mostly used by Malayalis”, a source told DC.

Thiruvananthapuram: The official added that what ICAR and FSSAI do is not to compare the residue limit with European standards lest it should affect India’s exports. But he added that recently a few condiments exported to Japan were returned citing high toxin levels.

But the serious concern is the deliberate suppression of data that tell the people which is ‘safe to eat’ spices and condiments. The permissible limit of toxins is mentioned at all.

Vegetables like bitter gourd, green and red capsicums, sambar chilli, coriander leaves, tomato, bajji chilly and parsley showed toxins beyond permissible levels prescribed by FSSAI. Similarly curry leaves, mint, long beans and yellow capsicum also showed toxin levels. Some 46 vegetable samples were collected from shops, super/hyper markets in Thiruvananthapuram, Kottayam and Kasaragod.

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No Staff, No Tech at State’s Four Food Safety Labs

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BENGALURU: The four regional government labs in Karnataka are ill-equipped and understaffed to test whether your food is safe.

According to sources in the Public Health Institute (PHI), Government of Karnataka, the labs in Bengaluru, Mysuru, Belagavi and Kalaburagi are not equipped to test for pesticide residues and heavy metals in food items like vegetables, fruits and other food grains. They can only conduct basic tests for adulteration in food, water, oil and milk.

The reason is not far to seek. With 60 per cent shortage in human resource, the state is managing the scene with only 40 per cent staff. Each lab has one chief food analyst, food analyst, senior food analyst, microbiologist, lab technicians and ‘D’ group employees. Two food analysts from PHI — one each to Mysuru and Belagavi — were deputed recently as the posts were lying vacant.

Although the Food Safety and Standards Act came into effect in August 2011, the state is still dependent on NABL-accredited six private food testing labs for checking the toxic content in food items. NABL stands for National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories.

A PHI officer said they do random checking at their labs, besides receiving samples from public. “We are creating awareness in vendors on food adulteration and adding artificial colours to food items and its impact on the health,” he said.

In Karnataka, of the 5,863 samples collected in 2013, 2014 and the first six months of 2015, the number of samples found unsafe is 248, sub-standard 154 and mis-branded 272, according to PHI. Only in one case, two persons were convicted in the last four years for adding artificial colour to toor dal.

P S Vastrad, Commissioner, Department of Health and Family Welfare, was not available for comment.

Upgradation on Cards:

The state government has proposed to upgrade the existing labs. They will be housed in the new building which is under construction in the Public Health Institute premises at K R Circle in Bengaluru. “Recently we received new equipment to check micro toxins, antibiotic contents in food samples. It will be commissioned soon. If all new units are upgraded, we can do sophisticated tests,” he said.

Health Risks

Youths and women are at risk if heavy content of pesticide like chlorpyrifos is present in egg, milk, red meat and other animal products. It can lead to cancer or neurological problem. In case of heavy dose of ethion in food items, fertility problem, loss of bladder control, blurring or dimness of vision, muscle tremors and laboured breathing can be experienced in the long term. Dr Roopa Deepthi, clinical dietitian, Bengaluru Medical College and Research Institute.

CM Convenes Meet

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has convened a meeting on Tuesday to review the working of the Public Health Institute (PHI) in the wake of the Centre releasing data on pesticide residues in food items, a PHI officer said.

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Ashish Bahuguna given additional charge of FSSAI CEO

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Ashish Bahuguna, the Chairman of the food regulator FSSAI, has been given an additional charge of its CEO, following shifting of Yudhvir Singh Malik to the NITI Aayog last month.

NEW DELHI: Ashish Bahuguna, the Chairman of the food regulator FSSAI, has been given an additional charge of its CEO, following shifting of Yudhvir Singh Malik to the NITI Aayoglast month.

On September 23, Malik — an IAS officer of 1983 batch — was moved out and shifted as Additional Secretary in Niti Aayog. He was believed to be the man behind the ban of global giant Nestle’s popular noodle brand Maggi.

Bhauguna, a retired IAS officer and former Agriculture Secretary, was appointed as Chairman of the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) in July this year.

According to sources, Bahuguna will continue to hold the charge of CEO till the new appointment is made that may take few months.

Bhauguna, a retired IAS officer of 1978-batch of Rajasthan cadre, retired in February this year.

FSSAI was in thick of action after it banned the instant snack Maggi that has had a level of global resonance that’s unprecedented for the Indian food regulator.

However, the ban was later lifted by the Bombay High Court with the condition that manufacturing and selling would be allowed only after fresh tests.

Of late, the regulator is facing crticism of the industry. Recently the 11 organsiations of food and pharma sectors demanded a CBI probe into the functioning of FSSAI and refund of Rs 80 crore collected by the authority for product approval.

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காந்திகிராம கிராமியப் பல்கலைக்கழக துப்புரவு ஆய்வாளர்கள் பயிற்சி முன்னால் மாணவர்கள் முன்றாம் ஆண்டு சந்திப்பு

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