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FSSAI includes beans, cauliflower & spinach in frozen veg regulations

21,September, 2018 Comments off

FSSAI has included beans, peas, cauliflower and spinach in its regulations for frozen vegetables. The country’s apex food regulator has issued a draft notice in this regard, and once adopted, food business operators (FBOs) trading in such frozen products will have to comply with the new standards prescribed by it for the same.
According to the notice issued by the FSSAI, the new standards will be added under the clause of frozen vegetables of the Food Safety and Standards (Food Products Standards and Food Additives) Regulations, 2011. Earlier, all the frozen vegetables had common standards. The new draft will provide the FBOs and industry with specific standards for every category.
According to TechSci Research, the Indian frozen food market stood at $310 million in 2017 and is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of over 16 per cent to reach $754 million by 2023, backed by the rapidly-growing demand from middle class consumers with increasing disposable income.
Rising urbanisation, increasing number of refrigeration facilities in small retail shops and rural households, and a growing cold chain industry are expected to significantly contribute towards the growth of the frozen food market in the country over the coming years.
Frozen beans
As per the defined standards, frozen beans shall be prepared from fresh, clean, sound, succulent pods of the plants of the species Phaseolus vulgaris L or Phaseolus coccineus L. Beans may contain sugars (sucrose, invert sugar, dextrose, fructose, glucose syrup and dried glucose syrup), salt, spices and herbs.
Frozen cauliflower
Frozen cauliflower shall be prepared from fresh, clean, sound heads of the cauliflower plant of the species Brassica oleracea L var botrytis L. Being uniform white to dark cream colour, which may be slightly dull, they will have a tinge of green, yellow or pink over the flower surface.
Both frozen beans and frozen cauliflower of different styles will accordingly be labelled whole, cut, short cut, sliced or other and whole, split, florets or other (any style that is sufficiently distinctive from the other styles laid down in these standards).
Frozen peas
Frozen peas shall be prepared from fresh, clean, sound, whole, immature seeds of the peas plant of the species Pisum sativum L containing sugars (sucrose, invert sugar, dextrose, fructose, glucose syrup, dried glucose syrup), salt, spices and herbs.
With a uniform green colour according to the type, it shall be free from any foreign taste or smell and shall have a normal flavour, taking into consideration any ingredients added.
Frozen spinach
Frozen spinach shall be prepared from sound edible parts of the spinach plant of the species Spinuciu oleruceu L. Frozen spinach shall be be stored at -18°C or below. The product shall be of a reasonably uniform green colour, characteristic of the variety. Labelled as per styles such as whole, leaf spinach, cut leaf spinach, chopped and pureed spinach.
Earlier, the frozen vegetables was defined as the product frozen in blocks or individually quick frozen (IQF) and offered for direct consumption, if required.
Commenting on the move, Rajan Mathews, an expert in frozen fruit and vegetable category said, “The draft notification of FSSAI norms on frozen vegetables is the first attempt to bring the frozen vegetables under the apex regulator’s norms. Till now, we had only regulations for fruits and vegetables, which were thermally processed and packed in water, brine or other forms of preservations.”
He added, “As of April 4, 2018, the FSSAI had published the final notification of the Food Safety and Standards (Food Products Standard and Food Additives) Fourth Amendment Regulations, 2018, relating to revised microbiological standards for fruits and vegetables and their products.”
Talking about the flaws, Mathews said, “The new standards issued by FSSAI on the frozen vegetables categories like beans, peas, cauliflower and spinach have a few flaws and do not address key issues. For instance, the standards are too liberal in terms of minor or major blemish due to insect or pathological damages. There should be zero tolerance to such blemishes.”
“The FSSAI standards mention washed and sufficiently blanched to ensure adequate stability of colour and flavour. Blanching is not detailed as this is the key to maintaining the product and free from microbial organisims,” he added.
“Another flaw is that there is no mention of size grading for standardisation and for commercial aspects of pricing especially in peas. This can lead to mixing of different sizes in a pack. The standards do not take into cognizance the use of artificial or any external colours. They do not clearly mention the presence of hazardous materials such as stones, mud, soil, metal or glass pieces and the use of process or machines for the removal of these foreign materials,” said Mathews.
“The most important process of frozen products is the process of freezing, and this has been left without any mention as frozen products should be blast-frozen. The products should be first frozen to -27 degree Centigrade and then should be maintained at -18 degree Centigrade,” he added.
“This process will ensure that there is no moisture inside the vegetables and will ensure that it remains fresh for the complete shelf period. In blast-frozen foods, the risk of food poisoning is reduced to a great extent,” Mathews said.
“Usually, these food items are kept below -18 degree Celsius, which ensures that there are not many biological changes in the foods. The growth of the enzymes causing food poisoning is very slow in these foods,” he added.
“Strict quality guidelines are required to be maintained by the manufacturers. The time period after harvesting of the vegetables is very critical as they are processed and frozen just a few hours after harvesting. The vitamins and minerals get locked and due to this and the texture and taste is also enhanced. Due to blast-freezing, the texture, taste and freshness of food items is maintained,” said Mathews.

Categories: NEWS

Twenty-nine food safety labs in 25 states & UTs taken up for upgrades

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Under the Central sector scheme of lab upgrades, 29 state food safety laboratories in 25 states and Union Territories (UTs) have been taken up so far for upgrades, while FSSAI has approved proposals of nine microbiology laboratories in eight states and UTs.
According to the country’s apex food regulator, proposals for setting up of 13 microbiology laboratories in 13 states and UTs are under consideration while a total grant-in-aid of Rs 126.95 crore has been released for the upgrade of these laboratories, so far.
FSSAI is implementing a Central sector scheme to strengthen the food testing system in the country, including provision of mobile food testing labs (SOFTeL) with a total outlay of Rs 481.95, while the time frame for the implementation of the scheme is 2016-17 to 2018-19.    
The states where microbiological lab has been started grounding include one each in Delhi, Goa, Gujarat, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Telangana and West Bengal, and two in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K).
The scheme envisages an outlay for strengthening of 45 state food testing labs in total with assistance given to at least one food testing laboratory in each state and two in larger states.
A non-recurring grant of around Rs 10 crore each for upgrade of state food laboratories for procurement of three major equipment, namely ICP-MS, GC-MSMS and LC-MSMS, setting up of a microbiology lab, creation of infrastructure for sophisticated equipment and setting up of microbiological laboratory, is being given besides recurring grant of Rs 35 lakh per cent year for professional services, consumables and contingencies as per the requirement of the respective state lab.
For north-east states which do not have any food testing laboratory, the scheme provides a grant of Rs 3 crore each for setting up a new food testing laboratory there.  
According to an official with FSSAI, the upgrades of the labs would enable the state machinery to analyse the regulatory and surveillance samples drawn by the food safety officer (FSO) within the shortest possible time frame along with safety parameters in food samples such as heavy metals, pesticide residues, antibiotics and drug residues and naturally-occurring toxic substances. Besides, microbiological tests can also be carried out efficiently in compliance of FSSAI standards.
FSSAI also aims at introducing online laboratory data management system through laboratory information management system (LIMS), once the upgrade work gets completed.

Categories: NEWS

FSSAI issues notice containing ICMR TUL study for supplement nutrients

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FSSAI has put out a notice containing the Indian Council of Medical Research’s (ICMR) study on the tolerable upper limits (TULs) of the nutrients applicable for products under the Food Safety and Standards Regulations, 2011, on health supplements, nutraceuticals, foods for special dietary use and special medical purpose, functional and novel foods.
In a statement, the country’s apex food regulator said that with the growing concerns towards the unsupervised usage of health supplements and issues regarding tolerable upper limits of vitamins and minerals, it has approached ICMR for guidance, wherein a committee was constituted and made a report thereunder.
The report on the upper limit was for the guidance of the manufacturers, who can draw reference from this study. It comprised detailed information on the effects and the recommended limits for different age groups and genders.
Ashwin Bhadri, chief executive officer, Equinox Labs, said, “A lot of confusion and misleading information has been observed on the usage of health supplements/ nutraceutical front. Also, the issues had been growing with the exact TULs of vitamins/minerals missing from public domain.
“The guidance report on use of minerals and vitamins was much needed, as this would provide clarity and will make it more convenient to follow. I think the step taken by FSSAI to approach ICMR for guidelines will definitely help streamline the work efficiently, as the report on TULs implies to reduce the effects of the excessive intake of nutrients in future,” he added.  
Bhadri stated that the report serves as the best guide to follow the TUL levels for a healthy body. For example, the TUL for iodine in adults is 0.9mg per day and that of sodium is considered to be 5g. Calcium, on the other hand, has different TULs for different genders and age groups. For adults aged between 31 and 50, 2,500mg is the ideal TUL for both men and women, and that for men and women over 50 is stated to be 2,000mg. Vitamin A and Vitamin D are supposed to have a TUL of 3mg and 0.1mg, respectively."
Meanwhile, it also would help the industry to follow the safe path when it comes to use of nutrients for programmes like fortification. Bhadri stated that the report will serve as a major guideline for all the food businesses on the safe use of health supplements/ nutraceuticals.
“This will directly avoid all the ill-effects and the consequences that follow post the consumption of such supplements. The food industry will now be more cautious and aware of adding these nutrients. With the mentioning of the exact TULs of minerals and vitamins, this shall induce uniformity in the entire industry and give clarity on the same. Transparency shall prevail in the food industry in regards to the same and the food manufacturers will adhere to the rules,” he added.

Categories: NEWS

Poor hygiene and violation of food safety norms at LU mess

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LUCKNOW: Several anomalies were found in a surprise inspection of Lucknow University’s central mess by the Food Safety and Drug Administration (FSDA) officials on Wednesday.

The inspection was carried out following several incidents of worms being found in the mess food in the past one month.

FSDA team inspected the kitchen area, drinking water facilities, and food storage at the mess for more than two hours.

In its report released in the evening, FSDA pointed out poor hygiene in the mess and violation of food safety norms.

In the past one month, inmates of boys’ hostels had lodged five complaints of worms being found in the three meals — breakfast, lunch and dinner.

The FSDA team arrived at the central mess before the lunchtime to inspect the quality of food being served to students.

“The team didn’t find any insect. Hostellers claimed there was an insect in the meal but it turned out be a burnt cumin seed. But there lack of hygiene and food safety norms were not being adhered to,” said district food officer TR Rawat.

“We have informed the university officials about the irregularities and have given 15 days to the mess manager to improve things. If he fails to do so we would be asking the university to evict the mess in charge,” said Rawat.

Categories: NEWS

Producers’ body seeks international norms for Indian wine standards

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Nashik: The All India Wine Producers’ Association (AIWPA) has strongly urged that Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) to replicate the norms set by of International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV) for manufacturing of wines in India.

The FSSAI has set the ball rolling to implement for the first time new safety standards for wine manufacturing in the country that would come into effect from April next year.

According to some members of AIWPA replicating, the norms set by OIV would be beneficial for the wine manufacturers of India as it would help them in marketing their products overseas.

“The OIV is an international association of 46 wine producing countries across the globe, including India. OIV controls 80% of the wine business at present in the world. If FSSAI replicates the safety standards of OIV, it will increase the trust of Indian wineries in international markets,” opined some association members.

According to the AIWPA insiders the guidelines set by OIV is more than enough for the Indian wine manufacturers not only to enhance the quality of wines but also expand their overseas market at a faster rate.

Currently, there are no standards designed for wine production in India so far. The FSSAI has already prepared a draft of wine standards and invited suggestions and objects.

“The OIV has set its wine standards which are being followed up by these countries. Hence, we want the FSSAI to implement the wine standards as set by OIV. This will help us to reach overseas wine export markets,” Yatin Patil, president of AIWPA, said.

Patil added that the association has requested FSSAI to consider the suggestion of the association on this issue.

Informing about the differences of wine standards between OIV and FSSAI, he said “There are differences between the draft of wine standards by FSSAI and the one set by OIV. The differences are related to wine definition, wine additives and processing aids.”

According to Patil, the wine manufacturers in India would not find it difficult to follow the norms either set by FSSAI or OIV.

“We must have wine standard as per the world standards with focus on consumer safety if we have to increase our wine export. We can’t bring control on wine being imported in the country until we have wine standards and norms,” another office-bearer of the association said.

“Such norms will help us to further enhance the quality of the products. We will also get benefitted from the export market. Moreover, we will also get protected from the sub-standard products coming from abroad,” he added.

Categories: NEWS

Doubts raised over food safety in India

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CAG report reveals gaps in the working of Food Safety and Standards Authority of India

An audit of Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), the country’s premier watchdog on the food, by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) reveals gaps in the working of the body. FSSAI is responsible for implementing the Food Safety and Standards (FSS) Act 2006 and CAG found that though it has been more than a decade since the enactment of the act, FSSAI is yet to frame regulations and guidelines to govern different procedures.

Neither FSSAI nor the state food authorities have documented policies and procedures on risk-based inspections and the FSSAI does not even have a database on food businesses in the country. Other than this, FSSAI has failed to set up well-equipped food labs in the state too. Only seven out of 72 states laboratories passed the standards issued by National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL). CAG pointed out that as the laboratories are not well-equipped, there is a possibility that unsafe food articles continue to be manufactured and sold.

The audit report also found that the there is an acute shortage of licensing and enforcement officers in the states which severely affected food safety measures. In case of renewal of the license too, FSSAI did not adhere to regulations. For example, in 49 cases pertaining to Central Licensing Authority (CLA), Kolkata and Guwahati, food business operators (FBOs) applied for renewal of licenses after their expiry.

Despite the fact that the licenses had already expired at the time of application, instead of issuing fresh licenses as stipulated by law, CLAs renewed the licenses. The gap between the expiry of the licenses and their irregular renewal ranged from one year to five and a half years. CLAs, thus, irregularly legitimised the gap period of food business during which FBOs operated without valid licenses in violation of section 31 of the Act.

For the performance audit, CAG examined FSSAI along with its regional and sub-regional offices in the nine selected states and one union territory between the time period from August 2011 and March 2016. The report was tabled in the Parliament on December 19, 2017.

CAG has recommended that FSSAI should expedite the notification of regulation on areas that have been specified in the FSS Act, but are yet not covered. FSSAI would also have to ensure that all licenses issued are reviewed and approved by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, before issuing. FSSAI and the state food authorities have to conduct surveys of food business activity under their jurisdiction to ensure a comprehensive and reliable database of FBOs and ensure better enforcement and administration of the FSS Act.

CAG has also recommended that the authority may frame standard operating procedures on the formulation and review of standards, and ensure that these are being followed in the near future. Ministry of Health and Family and Welfare should ensure accreditation of all state food laboratories, pertaining to equipment and functionality of the lab.

Categories: NEWS

புகையிலை குடோனுக்கு சீல்

21,September, 2018 Comments off

கலப்பட டீத்தூள் கம்பெனிக்கு சீல்

21,September, 2018 Comments off

Categories: DISTRICT-NEWS, Salem

மாணவர்களை குறிவைக்கும் போதை பொருள் வியாபாரம்

21,September, 2018 Comments off

Categories: DISTRICT-NEWS, Salem