Archive for 24,December, 2018

Staple Food Fortification consultation organised

24,December, 2018 Comments off

The scaling up staple food fortification conclave was very engaging consultation conducted in partnership with CII-GAIIN-FFRC-FSSAI– SBY. Fortification has proven to be an effective mechanism for tackling malnutrition.

Welcome and Opening Remarks were given by Rajesh Khare, Chairman, Madhya Pradesh State Council & CEO, Evonne Industries Pvt Ltd. He highlighted that ‘Industry is cognizant of the fact that fortification is a good mechanism to tackle malnutrition’.

Talking about Staple Food Fortification: Enriching Foods, Enriching Lives Arijit Chakrabarty, Senior Project Manager, GAIN – Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition said, It is a relieving fact that today in India around 90 per cent of population uses iodized salt. But in earlier times it was not the case, that’s why there were more malnourished people at that time then present.

It is finding from a study that out of all the malnourished people of the world, India’s share is 35%. The reason for this is the food law in micronutrients. Fortification is simple, low cost and no risk so it is very beneficial for health point of view.

Deeksha Bhatt, Coordinator, Food Fortification Resource Centre, Food Safety and Standards Authority of India talked about the role of FSSAI in Creating an enabling environment to initiate and scale-up staple food fortification. FSSAI enables Consumer communication, Regulatory support, Production fortification, establishing and running NABL labs that were instrumental in encouraging 15 States and 13 UT to adopt food fortification. She detailed upon organizing the FSSAI Eat Right Mela in Delhi.

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Punjab food safety commissioner orders check on sale of open/loose spices, salt

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The Food and Drug Administration commissioner of Punjab Friday directed food safety teams to check the sale of open/loose powdered spices, condiments and salt across the state.

"Under the provisions of Food Safety & Standards (Prohibition & Restrictions on Sales) Regulation, 2006, no person can sell powdered spices and condiments except ‘under packed condition’," Food Safety Commissioner K S Pannu said in an official statement here.

According to the regulation, condiments and spices can be sold only if they are properly packaged and labelled.

"Therefore, all teams have been directed to be vigilant and to ensure that open and loose spices, condiments and salt are not sold in their respective areas of jurisdiction and to take action under the Food Safety & Standards Act against the defaulters," Pannu said.

He said it was not uncommon for ground spices to be adulterated with artificial colours, starch, chalk powder, etc., in order to increase their weight and enhance their appearance.

"The consumption of adulterated spices can cause a number of diseases, including skin allergies, liver disorders, etc. So, food safety teams have been directed to check the sale of unpackaged salt, spices and condiments," Pannu added.

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Advise social media platforms to put in place system for tracking fake messages: FSSAI to MeitY

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Food Safety and Standards Authority of India has requested the ministry to "sensitise" social media platforms on the large-scale implications of such false propaganda, RS Prasad said.

Food safety regulator FSSAI has requested the IT ministry to ensure social media platforms put in place a mechanism to track fake messages with regard to safety and quality of food products, Parliament was informed.

In a written reply to Rajya Sabha, Electronics and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said FSSAI, in a November 27 letter, expressed concern over circulation of false and malicious videos on various social media platforms regarding the safety and quality of food available in the country.

Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has requested the ministry to "sensitise" social media platforms on the large-scale implications of such false propaganda, Prasad said.

The regulator has also asked the ministry to advise social media platforms to put in place a system for tracking of messages so that such mischievous perpetrators could be brought to book and penal action can be initiated against them, he added.

Prasad said the government has taken several steps to target such fake videos and messages to take action against people for circulating such false content.

The minister said the government has already issued a notice to messaging platform WhatsApp in July this year on spread of fake news through its platform. WhatsApp, in its response, has conveyed a number of steps that it has taken to address the issue of fake news.

The government has been asking the Facebook-owned company to put in place a mechanism to curb fake messages on its platform, that incited mob fury earlier this year. More than a dozen people were killed across India this year in mob lynchings, fuelled by rumours circulated on WhatsApp.The rumours ranged from suspicion of stealing children to victims being believed to be killing cows. Riots were instigated by people forwarding and misinterpreting videos on WhatsApp.

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Health Dept pitches in to inculcate right eating habits

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Food Safety and Standards Authority of India kicks off event

Delegates from the Health Department pedal to create awareness on Saturday.

Ludhiana, December 22

The Health Department is on a mission to create awareness among masses regarding “Eating less and eating right”.

Under the Swasth Bharat Yatra commenced by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India, cyclists pedalled from one district to another and spread a message of eat right India.

“Eating healthy is not just about the nutrients in the food. It also includes eating at the right time and eating properly. Meanwhile, eating late at night, hurriedly and inconsistently will have adverse effect on health,” said Dr Andesh Kang, District Health Officer.

On the first day of the three-day event, the team was welcomed at the Community Health Center (CHC), Dehlon. Less sugar, less oil and less salt intake in daily routine and eating fortified food was the message given by delegates.

Yogesh Goyal, Food Safety officer, said Eat right India is built on two broad pillars of eat healthy and eat safe. It aims to enable citizens to improve their health and well being.

Message to general public

Consume less sugar

Consume less salt

Consume less oil

‘Not just about the nutrients’

"Eating healthy is not just about the nutrients in the food. It also includes eating at the right time and eating properly. Meanwhile, eating late at night, hurriedly and inconsistently, will have adverse effect on health." Dr Andesh Kang, District Health Officer

‘Aim to improve citizen’s health, well-being’

"Eat right India is built on two broad pillars of eat healthy and eat safe. It aims at enabling citizens to improve their health and well-being." Yogesh Goyal, Food Safety Officer

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Punjab bans sale of loose spices and salt

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CHANDIGARH: The Punjab commissionerate of food and drug administration has imposed a ban on the sale of loose powdered spices and salt.

Punjab food safety commissioner KS Pannu said on Friday that retailers would have to package and properly label powdered spices and condiments before selling them.

He said all food safety teams had been directed to keep a check on the sale of loose spices and salt in their jurisdiction. Anyone who does not comply with the order, would face action under the Food Safety and Standards Act, he added.

Pannu said spices were important commodities, but their adulteration was common and they were often mixed with artificial colours, starch and chalk powder for increasing their weight and enhancing their appearance. The consumption of adulterated spices could cause a number of diseases, including skin allergies and liver disorders.

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Are baby food makers driving overdiagnosis of cow milk allergy in kids?

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NEW DELHI: A recent article in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) has warned that the $50 billion global formula industry could be fanning overdiagnosis of allergy to cow’s milk protein to sell specialist formula. Arguing that specialist formula is not a breast milk substitute, the industry has been aggressively marketing it and using it to forge close ties with healthcare professionals in the UK and globally by sponsoring medical education and research on allergies, the article points out.

This has echoes from the recent controversy in India where the formula industry was accused of trying to circumvent the Infant Milk Substitute (IMS) Act — a law to prevent predatory marketing practices of baby food companies – citing special nutrition needs of babies born with metabolic errors or allergies that might not allow breastfeeding. It had wanted specialist formulas to not be categorized as infant milk substitute (IMS) in an attempt to stay out of the Act.

According to the BMJ article by Chris Van Tulleken of the University College, London, overdiagnosis of the allergy could undermine breastfeeding. Between 2006 and 2016, in the UK, prescriptions of specialist formula milks for infants with cow’s milk protein allergy (CMPA) increased by nearly 500%, while National Health Service (NHS) spending on these products increased by nearly 700% from 8 million pounds to over 60 million annually, noted the article, adding that epidemiological data gave no indication of such a large increase in prevalence of the allergy. This raised the question of industry-driven overdiagnosis through funding and influencing of research, guidelines, medical education and public awareness drives on the allergy.

Referring to how the industry targets framing of treatment guidelines, Bob Boyle, deputy medical director and consultant paediatrician from the Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust was quoted as stating: “There are many more milk allergy guidelines published than for other food allergies. Many have direct or indirect support from industry, which has a lot to gain from increased specialised formula use.” Many of the symptoms listed in these guidelines are so broad that virtually every infant could be diagnosed as having an allergy, pointed out another practitioner.

In India too, the food safety and standards authority of India (FSSAI) had constituted a steering committee that included the infant and young child nutrition council of India (IYNCI), a front organization for baby food manufacturers with four of the biggest baby food companies – Abbott, Danone, Mead Johnson and Nestle — as members. The move to exempt food for special medical purposes (FSMP) from the IMS Act came from this steering committee. Though the IYNCI was dropped from the committee following protests by nutrition experts, paediatricians and the breastfeeding promotion network of India (BPNI), the FSSAI pushed ahead with the exemption for FSMPs.

The food regulator also partnered baby food companies to launch an initiative called Diet4Life, a platform used by these companies to sponsor awareness programs for paediatricians, dieticians and parents, ostensibly to educate them about management of inborn errors of metabolism and allergic conditions in children. Under the IMS Act, baby food companies cannot sponsor healthcare providers or market infant milk substitutes. Doctor Arun Gupta of BPNI had pointed out that it was to circumvent these restrictions that the industry was lobbying hard for its products to be taken out of the categorization “infant milk substitute”.

The UK has no law like India’s IMS Act. All it has is the international code of marketing of breast milk substitutes adopted by the WHO in 1981 after egregious marketing practices of these companies were exposed in the 1970s. Though the code includes marketing restrictions and states that companies cannot sponsor educational events or advertise anywhere within the health system, there have been frequent and widely reported allegations of code violations across the world.

The Indian Academy of Paediatrics resolved more than two decades ago that it would “not accept sponsorship in any form from any industry connected directly or indirectly” with products covered by the IMS Act. In contrast, the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health accepts funding from Danone and Nestle. The RCPCH website claimed that it only accepted advertising or conference stands providing information about specialist formulas (FSMP), not breast milk substitutes. The British dietetic association with input from the British society of paediatric gastroenterology, hepatology and nutrition and British society for allergy and clinical immunology (BSACI) all accept funding from baby food companies. The British dietetic association has Abbott, Mead Johnson, and Danone Nutricia as strategic partners and Vitaflo (Nestlé) and Friesland Campina (a global formula producer) as key supporters, pointed out the article.

Most healthcare players who take money from baby food companies say their sponsorship relates only to specialist formulas. But Nigel Rollins from the World Health Organization’s department of maternal, newborn, child, and adolescent health confirmed to Tulleken that specialist formulas are unequivocally breast milk substitutes in the eyes of WHO and are thus covered by the code. The belief that specialist formulas are exempt from the code may be enabling manufacturers to justify this network of links with clinicians and institutions to pursue a wider agenda, stated the article.

Many clinicians and patients have also expressed concern on the availability of industry-funded online information promoting non-specific symptoms potentially indicating cow’s milk allergy in exclusively breastfed infants. This is despite evidence showing that though cow’s milk and other food protein can be transferred from mother to infant in breast milk, the quantities transferred are likely to be too small to cause symptoms in most infants. Amy Brown, professor of child public health at Swansea University, said that concerns about breast milk sufficiency or content was one of the main reasons for mothers stopping breastfeeding and the promotion of cow’s milk allergy to the public by industry played to this anxiety.

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Plastic Free living cheat sheet

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Kolkata bakers accused of unhygienic methods, to face regulation this Christmas season

24,December, 2018 Comments off

The officials have been inspecting the factories which are involved with baking to check whether the bakeries are maintaining the required hygiene and that notices were being issued to those bakeries at fault to improve their standards.

Nahoum’s is one of the oldest and the iconic Jewish bakeries in the city.


The city is known for its age-old bakeries which have been running since the British India

Deputy Mayor Atin Ghosh said they have collected 17 samples of fresh cake and bread loaves from the stores

KMC has instructed the bakeries not to compromise with the quality of the products

With Christmas and the New Year right round the corner, the bakeries in Kolkata are facing the toughest time in recent history even during the best selling season.

Kolkata, which is famous for its traditional Bengali sweets, is also known for its age-old bakeries which have been running since the British ruled over India.

With the upcoming festivities, the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) has geared up to see that the people of the city don’t fall sick.

Recently, the Kolkata Municipal Corporation Health Department inspected some of the city’s well-known bakeries including the iconic Flury’s and the Kookie Jar.

Deputy Mayor Atin Ghosh said they collected 17 samples of fresh cake and bread loaves from these stores.

He explained that his team of officials has been inspecting the factories which are involved with baking to check whether the bakeries are maintaining the required hygiene and that notices were being issued to those bakeries at fault to improve their standards.

Nahoum’s, which is one of the oldest and the iconic Jewish bakeries in the city, received a notice from the officials for the same after they were inspected ahead of the Christmas.

The deputy Mayor said, "They need to follow the law or else a case will be fined against them and they will be jailed too."

"Since then, Nahoum’s hygienic condition is much better today," he added.

During the inspection, the officials said, "We visited many cake shops in the city including Nahoum’s, Kathleen, and some other cake shops. We found that the cake mixing was being done without any gloves and no hand sanitizer was used before the mixing."

The KMC has instructed the bakeries to not compromise with the quality of the products, to maintain the hygiene, and improve the working condition in the factories.

If they fail to follow the instructions, they will be charged under the Food Safety and Standards Act 2006.

More than 10 lakh people are associated with the business with 4,000 bakeries across the state producing tonnes of cakes during the Christmas season.

Idris Ali, All India Trinamool Congress (TMC) MP and Secretary of Joint Action Committee of West Bengal Bakers Associations said that the industry was going through tough a time and sudden regulations would add to the difficulties.

He said, "Bakery industry is facing difficulties due to GST. We pay 18% GST on cakes and biscuits. The linesmen selling cakes and bakeries bring the revenue in coins in thousands and lakhs. But when we take these coins to the bank, they refuse to take them which is causing us too many difficulties."

Adding that the recent raid has shown that some baker do not follow the baking process and do not maintain the hygiene, he said, "I request the bakery owners to follow the rules strictly and maintain the hygiene."

Talking about maintaining fair prices, Idris Ali said, "These goods and bakeries produced are not just for the rich but also the poor. So, we must take care of the prices and weight of the bakeries we sell. We must not cheat the common people."

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Notices slapped on 1,000 eateries

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Thiruvananthapuram: The food safety directorate has cancelled licences of 17 eateries and issued improvement notices to another 1,275 outlets as part of a statewide inspection.

The improvement notices issued by the food safety special squads to improve the conditions in which food was manufactured and distributed.

The inspection was held in four phases in 3,683 eateries across all districts, beginning on December 10. A total of 184 samples suspected to be of sub-standard quality or adulterated were collected and sent to analytical laboratories in Thiruvananthapuram, Ernakulam and Kozhikode. A compounding fee of Rs 27.99 lakh was levied from the eateries that were found to be violating food safety norms.

The special squads formed to curb distribution and sale of adulterated coconut oil seized 18,302 litres of coconut oil banned brands and 2,460 litres of adulterated coconut oil from Thrissur. The squads also seized 50 litres of banned coconut oil brands from Kollam and 15 packets from Alappuzha.

Food safety commissioner had constituted 38 special squads to ensure food safety standards in bakeries, cake/wine production centres, distribution centres of bakery products during Christmas and New year as per the directive of the state government.

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