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Are imported pulses dangerous for you and your family?

28,November, 2018 Comments off
 

Food safety regulator FSSAI Thursday said imported pulses and beans are safe for consumption as tests conducted in the last one month found no residue of glyphosate in these commodities.

Glyphosate is a non-selective herbicide which is used to kill weeds, especially annual broadleaf weeds and grasses that compete with crops.

Food safety regulator FSSAI Thursday said imported pulses and beans are safe for consumption as tests conducted in the last one month found no residue of glyphosate in these commodities. Glyphosate is a non-selective herbicide which is used to kill weeds, especially annual broadleaf weeds and grasses that compete with crops.

Last month, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) had instructed its import offices at ports to start monitoring for presence of glyphosate in pulses and beans.

"Pulses and beans imported into India are safe. …This is based on results of testing of these products over the past one month," the regulator said in a statement.

The monthly data pertaining to Glyphosate level in pulses received from ports directly handled by the FSSAI was analyzed and it has been observed that of the 319 consignments tested, glyphosate residues were found in only 7 consignments and that too were within the prescribed MRLs, it said.

So, there is no concern of any kind as the FSSAI authorized officers at ports are regularly monitoring the presence of Glyphosate in pulses at the time of import before their clearances, it added. However, FSSAI CEO Pawan Agarwal said the monitoring of pulses for glyphosate will continue for some more time.

The FSSAI prescribes Maximum Residue Level (MRL) of 1.0 mg/kg for the presence of Glyphosate in Tea. There are no prescribed MRLs for "Glyphosate" for pulses.

Agarwal also mentioned that that FSSAI’s order dated 12 October 2018 to monitor imported pulses was "misreported" by certain sections of media which creates a scare among public at large about safety of pulses.

Categories: NEWS

Stay healthy, trade your used cooking oil

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Ahmedabad: Can food-loving Gujaratis heave a sigh of relief when they get to know that their much-beloved dalwada, bhajiya and fafda are not harmful even when purchased from a commercial establishment?

Biodiesel Association of India (BDAI) surely feels so as the national agency signed an MoU with the Food and Drug Control Authority (FDCA), Gujarat, on Friday to completely remove used cooking oil (UCO) from Ahmedabad and Vadodara completely within two years.

The Food Safety and Standards Act (FSSAI) amendment points that the total polarized compound (TPC) value in edible oil must be less than 25%. Re-heating the oil multiple times forms trans fat that leads to a number of health complications. The FDCA had started the drive with an equipment that can measure TPC value — indicating over 40% establishments using the same oil multiple times for frying. However, the officials admitted that few got penalized for violation of norms.

HG Koshia, commissioner, FDCA, Gujarat, said that the initiative aims at introducing healthy habits among citizens and establishments alike. “It is not just about commercial establishments – the application launched (Repurposed Used Cooking Oil (RUCO)) will also be available to citizens. With the establishment of ground-level network, it would be easy to deposit the UCO so that it can be converted into bio-diesel,” he said. Sandeep Chaturvedi, president of BDAI, said that total national oil consumption is about 22.7 million tons annually out of which about 30% is being used by the western India including Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh. Thus, if we can change the habit in this region, we can do it anywhere. The project is happening for the first time anywhere in the world and we are aware of the challenges ahead. We however are hopeful,” he said. The launch event also saw participation of Poonamchand Parmar, ACS (health), and Kuldeep Arya, deputy municipal commissioner, AMC. The gropu also launched Swasth Bharat Yatra which would start fro Dandi on November 18 and culminate at Palanpur on December 12 during its Gujarat run.

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FSSAI warns against reheat, reuse use of cooking oil

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Ludhiana, November 18

Re-heating and re-using oil for frying is a common practice in most of the Indian households. However, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) warns against the exercise.

In its guidelines issued recently, the FSSAI has stated that one should avoid the repeated use of cooking oil.

Homemakers tend to refill their oil dispensaries with fresh cooking oil while some of the old stock already remains in the dispenser and big companies, involved in the business of frying products, dispose of their used cooking oil (UCO) for industrial purposes such as manufacturing soaps. Discarding the UCO in household becomes problematic because if it is drained off, it leads of choking of sewers and pipes. The FSSAI has notified that the limit of total polar compounds in oil should not be more than 25 per cent as it helps in the safe disposal of the UCO.

The FSSAI recommends that one should avoid the repeated use of cooking oil at household level and oil once used for frying should be filtered and be used for preparing curry to make it economical. Used cooking oil should be consumed in a day or two as the rate of deterioration is higher in it. /The UCO should be disposed of in an environment-friendly way — by providing it to the authorised UCO collection agencies. In order to dispose off small quantities at household level, it should be mixed with absorbent material such as sand or saw dust or used towel or paper towel to avoid spillage and then throw it in the dustbin.

City-based physician Dr Subhash Gupta said when the oil is used frying, its quality deteriorates. “Using the same oil repeatedly for frying leads to change in its physico-chemical nutritional and sensory properties. It leads to the formation of compounds unfit for human consumption beyond certain limits. These compounds have been related to various diseases such as hypertension, liver diseases and Alzheimer,” he said.

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Trans fat in eatery foods to be reined in

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Health, Food Safety wings to collect samples, convince food outlets on need for curbs in trans fatty acids

The Health Department and the Food Safety wing are joining hands to launch an initiative to enforce dietary guidelines, involving the reduction of trans fatty acids (TFAs), salt and sugar in commercially available foods in the State.

The initiative, with technical support from the World Bank, WHO and the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), is being launched as unhealthy diet is pushing up metabolic syndrome and premature deaths due to non-communicable diseases (NCDs) among Keralites.

Latest estimates put the prevalence of metabolic syndrome (MS) in Keralabetween 24-33%, indicating that one in three or four persons — predominantly women — have this condition.

Metabolic syndrome (MS) is a cluster of metabolic abnormalities — high blood pressure, high blood sugar, abdominal obesity, abnormal cholesterol or triglyceride levels — that occur together, raising risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

“A striking factor in Kerala is the high level of hypertriglyceridemia (elevated triglycerides in blood), at 45%, indicative of a dietary pattern high in fats and carbohydrates. We require serious interventions in dietary changes to reduce our burden of NCDs,” said P.S. Indu, Head of Community Medicine, Thiruvananthapuram Government Medical College.

Literature says that TFAs have “a unique cardio metabolic imprint that is linked to insulin-resistance and metabolic-syndrome pathways” and that consumption of even small amounts of TFAs is associated with an increase in the incidence of coronary heart disease.

Main contributors

“The high content of industrial TFAs and salt in baked goods, fried chicken, or banana chips joints in the State is contributing to this epidemic of MS in Kerala. Enforcing the current regulation on the content of industrial TFAs in can bring in significant benefits,” Dr. Indu said.

WHO recommends that trans fat intake be limited to less than 1% of total energy intake and has called for the total elimination of TFAs in global food supply by 2023. FSSAI has proposed to limit TFA limit in foods to 2% and eliminate trans fats from foods by 2022.

“Enforcing the current FSSAI legislation limiting TFAs at 5% is the need of the hour. Denmark pioneered trans fat ban in 2003 and in three years, their CVD mortality rates plummeted. From an annual mean death of 441.5 per one lakh it dropped by 14.2 deaths per one lakh per year (ie 750 fewer deaths every year). Food industry players and the unorganised food sector should be persuaded to switch to commercially viable alternatives to TFAs,” Eram S. Rao, Senior Nutrition Specialist, World Bank, who was in the city as part of the technical support team, said.

“We will collect information on the TFA and sodium content in a range of commonly consumed food items in Kerala. This information is vital if we are to convince the industry and the unorganised sector about the need to reduce harmful TFA content in food,” a Health official said.

The State Food Safety wing will now embark on a sample study across the State, collecting at least 300 samples of popular food items from the market and testing the TFA content. We do have gas chromatographs in three of our laboratories and additionally,we have the funds to send samples to any other lab for testing,” K. Anilkumar, Joint Commissioner of Food Safety said.

The Health Department hopes that once it has the baseline information, it can convince the food industry players and the unorganised food sector about the need to keep TFA levels within legal limits. Awareness campaigns targeting the public and advocacy will follow.

Categories: NEWS

‘Proof against Ministers, police officers available in gutkha case’

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Witnesses have given statements on payment of bribe, CBI tells High Court

Not ruling out the possibility of implicating Ministers and top police officials in the State in the illegal gutkha sale case, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Monday told the Madras High Court that it had collected materials to suspect the involvement of politicians as well as police officials in the crime.

In a counter affidavit filed before Justice G.K. Ilanthiraiyan, who was seized of a bail application filed by one of the accused in the case, the CBI said it had examined as many as 25 witnesses ever since the first Division Bench of the High Court entrusted the probe to it on April 26 this year, and recorded their statements.

Huge network

“The statements have revealed illegal manufacturing and sale of gutkha and other tobacco products, manipulation of documents and bribe paid to officials of Food Safety, Central Excise, Commercial Tax, Tamil Nadu Police department, politicians etc. Further investigation is on with respect to the above facts,” the counter read. Stating that it had conducted searches in 31 places on the strength of warrants issued by the Special Court for CBI cases here and in 11 more places under powers conferred on investigating officers under Section 165 of Code of Criminal Procedure, the CBI claimed to have seized 374 documents and 63 material objects, including laptops, hard disks and pen drives.

Explaining the modus operandi adopted by the accused, the CBI Deputy Superintendent of Police Suresh Kumar said the State government had issued a notification on May 23, 2013 banning manufacture as well as sale of gutkha and pan masala in the State on the ground that the two products contained tobacco and nicotine.

On May 28, 2013, the Commissioner of Food Safety and Drug Administration issued a circular instructing Designated Officers serving under him to implement the prohibitory orders in letter and spirit. However, the present bail petitioner, P. Senthil Murugan, did not take any measures to implement the prohibition, the CBI alleged.

The petitioner had simply issued a warning notice to Jayam Indsutries, owned by the first accused in the case A.V. Madhava Rao, at Red Hills near here through the then Food Safety Officer E. Sivakumar, arrayed as the sixth accused, who, in turn, seized 150 kg of gutkha waste and 45 kg of tobacco waste from the industry on July 15, 2013.

Subsequently, all the six accused in the case entered into a criminal conspiracy and floated a firm titled Annamalai Industries at Red Hills by falsely claiming it to be owned by one S. Vignesh, who was an employee of the first accused Madhava Rao and was paid just ₹ 5,000 a month towards salary at that point of time.

Criminal conspiracy

“The above arrangement was made as a part of the criminal conspiracy so that gutkha can be manufactured continuously, even after the ban was imposed in Tamil Nadu in a covert manner,” the CBI said and accused the petitioner of having issued a licence to the new firm under the Food Safety and Standards Act (FSSA) of 2006.

On June 7, 2014, the Central Crime Branch police raided Annamalai Industries and handed over the seized products to the local Inspector of Police Sampath who handed over 7,500 kg (150 bags X 50 kg) of finished panmasala and 2,500 kg (50 bags X 50 kg) of ground tobacco dust to Sivakumar for initiating action under FSSA.

However, on June 12, 2014, Sivakumar gave back the goods to Annamalai Industries after obtaining a surety bond. He also dishonestly did not send any of those samples for chemical analysis. Instead, samples of cardamom and betel nuts collected from another premises were sent for analysis and a positive report obtained, the CBI claimed.

₹7 lakh in bribe

The court was told that the first three accused — Madhava Rao, Uma Sankar Gupta and P.V. Srinivasa Rao — had paid ₹ 7 lakh to the present bail petitioner between 2013 and 2015 and around ₹ 10,000 to ₹ 25,000 a month to Sivakumar between 2013 and 2016 “for showing the undue favour.” The fifth accused was an official of Central Excise Department. On Monday, the petitioner’s counsel sought an adjournment on the ground that he had prepared a memorandum to be submitted to Chief Justice Vijaya Kamlesh Tahilramani with a request to list the present bail petition before Justice M. Dhandapani who had dismissed as withdrawn the petitioner’s first bail application on October 22.

K. Srinivasan, Special Public Prosecutor for CBI cases, said he had no objection to get the case listed before any judge. Hence, Mr. Justice Ilanthiraiyan adjourned the matter to December 6 with a strict instruction that he would hear the matter and pass orders on that day if the petitioner was unable to obtain any relief from the Chief Justice by then.

Categories: NEWS

Food samples taken from dhabas, grocery shops

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To check adulteration in food products and ensure a hygienic environment at dhabas, two food safety teams comprising Rakhi Vinayak and Sangeeta Sehdev, Food Safety Officers, today conducted raids at various dhabas situated on Chandigarh Road and in Balachaur.

Divulging details, Assistant Food Safety Commissioner Manoj Khosla said following the directions of Kahan Singh Pannu, Commissioner, Food and Drug Administration, Punjab, various dhabas on Chandigarh Road and in Balachaur were checked under the Mission Tandarust Punjab by a team led by him.

He said there were complaints about some dhabas regarding serving of poor quality food products to their customers. The team took five samples (two milk, two mineral water and one of cooked dal) from three dhabas.

The other team took four samples (desi ghee, namkeen, salt, and sauce) from four grocery stores situated in the SBS Nagar. Meanwhile, all nine samples have been sent to the State Food Laboratory for test.

He said if samples fail tests, action would be taken against the guilty as per the Food Safety and Standards Act.

The teams also sensitised them to follow good hygiene and proper manufacturing practices and maintain cleanliness and serve good quality and fresh food to people. Awareness booklets were also distributed among them.

Categories: NEWS

No food vendor registered with UT health department

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CHANDIGARH: If there is typhoid or any food-borne disease on an epidemic scale, then there is no way for the health department in the city to catch the culprits as none of the food vendors are registered with the food safety and standards department in the UT health department. The reason being the municipal corporation here does not give specific address of food vendors that makes it difficult for the health department to locate the defaulters.

Chandigarh has around 9,000 registered street vendors and the MC has been receiving a monthly fee of Rs 40 to Rs 50 lakh. “The street food vendors have slips issued by the MC, which mentions the fee they pay and the sector with regard to their location. But their exact position is not mentioned on it. We have taken this up with our department so that the same can be followed up by the MC,” said an official in the UT health department.

The official said that, “In case there is any complaint of food-borne disease or infection, how can we locate those vendors who are still not registered with us due to this incomplete information.”

On the contrary, the MC officials believe that it’s not the responsibility of their department and it solely lies with the health department. “According to the street vendor act, we are not supposed to specify any business or trade to the vendors. It is with the respective departments to decide and regulate it,” said K K Yadav, MC commissioner, Chandigarh. He said that, “In case the health department requires details of these vendors, the same can be provided any time.”

A health official on the condition of anonymity explained that they often get calls from consumers about contaminated food. But it gets tough to act as there are so many vendors who come with slips issued by the MC, which has licence fee and name of the sector mentioned only. “We want to regulate the food standards and for that all these vendors have to be registered with us too. But with this incomplete information from the MC, we cannot register and keep vigilance on the food quality,” said a senior official in the health department.

Categories: NEWS

Rs 5000 fine for selling stale food at Bali yatra

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Over 650 food joints and eateries are under the scanner of the special quads at the fair venue

A fast food kiosk at Bali yatra venue in Cuttack on Monday.

The civic body on Monday decided to impose heavy penalty on eateries at Bali yatra trying to stale and unhygienic food following large scale seizure of stale food over the past three days.

“We have decided to invoke the Food Safety Act and impose a fine of Rs 5,000 on eateries on every instance of seizure of stale and unhygienic food,” city health officer Umesh Panigrahi told The Telegraph on Monday.

Special squads are on job to continuously check the quality of food being served at various food joints at the fair right from 7.30 in the morning till 11 at night.

“We are focusing on the quality of food taking into consideration the heavy turnout of people and the hazards of unchecked consumption of stale and unhygienic food,” Panigrahi said. He said the food safety drive would continue till the end of the fair.

Official sources said the civic body’s food safety wing had so far destroyed more than 6.6 quintals of food following seizure from various eateries and vendors.

Three special squads — one led by a food safety officer and the other two by sanitary inspectors along with ten health workers and supervisors in each 51 had started off with destroying 70kg, followed by 1.4 quintals on Friday and Saturday respectively. More than 3.5 quintals of stale food was seized and destroyed on Sunday alone.

More than 650 food joints and eateries are under the scanner of the special quads at the fair venue.

Cuttack collector Arvind Agarwal and municipal commissioner took stock of the food safety drive on Sunday.

Several hotels across the city that had opened kiosks were found to have brought leftovers of the day from their restaurant to sell at Bali yatra on the first evening.

“During raids, we have detected attempts to sell stale and leftover chicken and rice-based food items and,” the health officer said.

He said huge quantities of milk-based products along with around 500 rasagolas were also seized and destroyed.

The special squads are also keeping an eye on the use of colour in the food items. The civic body has also been making announcements through mikes to create awareness among people to avoid unhealthy food items and lodge complaints at its counter.

“We are receiving numerous complaints from the public,” a health wing official told The Telegraph.

“The civic body has made it mandatory for all food joints to display their food licence in their kiosks. Those food sellers or vendors of Cuttack Municipal Corporation area who do not have food licence have been directed to apply for it at our counter,” the official said.

Categories: NEWS

FSSAI writes to IT Ministry on fake social media videos on food quality

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Seeks mechanism to track perpetrators of such videos to initiate action against them

NEW DELHI, NOVEMBER 27

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has written to the Ministry of Electronics & IT expressing concern over the proliferation of fake videos and messages on social media that spread rumours on the safety and quality of food available in the country.

In its communication, it has urged the Ministry to put in a place a mechanism to track such fake videos so that “perpetrators of such mischievous videos could be brought to book and penal action can be initiated against them.”

In the past, FSSAI has had to counter rumours and public fear regarding presence of “plastic rice and plastic eggs” which was triggered by circulation of fake videos on social media.

FSSAI said more recently a “fake video” on the presence of melamine in milk went viral on the social media which “maliciously projected that FSSAI had given permission for use of melamine in milk.”

The food safety authority clarified that under the food safety regulations, the use of melamine as an ingredient or as an additive is not permitted in any food product. It added that it has prescribed maximum limits for melamine in food, including milk, under the regulations only to address the “incidental presence” of melamine as a contaminant.

In a statement, Pawan Agarwal, CEO, FSSAI, said, “Such false propaganda is neither good for citizens nor for food businesses. This erodes confidence of the public in the food control system in the country. It also erodes global trust in our food system and food businesses and potentially has far reaching public health, social and trade implications.”

On its part, the Ministry of IT & Electronics has been pushing messaging app Whatsapp to set up a mechanism to clamp down on fake messages and videos on its platform.

Companies face ordeal

FSSAI’s efforts to tackle fake social media posts and videos come at a time when several packaged food companies have also been going through the ordeal of fake and malicious social media posts regarding their food products. Some food companies also have had to take legal measures to counter such posts.

According to the interim report of the National Milk Quality Survey 2018, released earlier this month by FSSAI, less than 10 per cent of the milk samples were found to have contaminants, which were largely due to poor farm practices. The survey findings are based on tests done on over 6,400 samples of raw and processed milk across States, for quality parameters, adulterants as well as contaminants.

FSSAI said it is currently engaging with stakeholders for “root cause analysis” so that appropriate corrective and preventive action could be taken.

Categories: NEWS