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Categories: NEWS

FSSAI issues guidance document on FSMS to implement GMP & GHP for milk

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FSSAI has issued a guidance document on Food Safety Management System (FSMS) to implement GMP (good manufacturing practices)/GHP (good hygiene practices) requirements for milk and milk products.
This document is applicable for food businesses involved in the dairy sector, which includes all milk and milk products, which includes liquid milk, UHT (ultra-high temperature) milk, condensed milk, fermented milk and flavoured milk, ghee, butter, cream, dairy whitener (WMP [whole milk powder] and SMP [skimmed mik powder]), curd, yoghurt, buttermilk, paneer, and cheese.
The document, based on the product category, can be used by the FBOs (food business operators) as per the operations applicable to them.
The document is divided into five main sections.
The first section gives an overview of the dairy industry in India along with the rising need for food safety in the sector.
The second contains guidance for implementation of GMP and GHP as outlined in Part III of Schedule 4 of Food Safety and Standards (Licensing & Registration of Food Businesses) Regulations, 2011.
The third section is recommendatory in nature and provides the basic knowledge and criteria for implementation of the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) system by the food businesses.
This section includes the manufacturing flow chart and two tables: Hazard Analysis and HACCP Plans.
The Hazard Analysis tables are intended to help the industry to identify the food safety risks related to each processing step, to identify the Critical Control Points (CCPs) along with recommended corrective actions and other related information.
Sample HACCP plans have been taken from some established practicing dairy industries. These plans could be used as reference by the industry and modified or altered based on their operations.  
The fourth section provides an inspection checklist for FBOs to audit their facility and operations. The FBOs can evaluate themselves based on the indicative scoring.
The last section gives important templates and forms to be required by FBOs to maintain the records. This includes mandatory forms as prescribed by FSSAI and a few templates for maintaining records of processes critical for food safety.
Pawan Kumar Agarwal, chief executive officer, FSSAI, stated that this document contained practical approaches which a business should adopt to ensure food safety.
“And it is important that food handlers involved in whole supply chain of milk and milk products are trained appropriately to implement the good manufacturing practices and good hygiene practices to ensure food safety,” he added.
“We acknowledge the contribution of the experts from the technical panel of FSSAI for developing this document,” Agarwal said.
“And this is prepared with the intent to provide implementation guidance to food businesses (especially the small and medium businesses) involved in manufacturing/processing, packing, storage, distribution, retail and transportation of food supplements to ensure that critical food safety-related aspects are addressed throughout the supply chain,” he added.
Agarwal, however, pointed out that manufacturers may adopt higher or stringent levels, depending on the needs and complexity of operation. The use of this guidance is voluntary and FBOs may comply with the requirement of the regulation, according to other established best practices.

Categories: NEWS

FSSAI’s meta-analysis study finds gaps in lab-FBO ratio across India

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FSSAI’s meta-analysis study of food testing laboratories in India found serious gaps in the ratio of labs to the FBOs (food business operators) in the country. It recommended that there was a great need to fill the gaps, while in some cases, the study calls for a need for increase in the abilities of the labs.
The study found that the major challenges have been in the domains of equipment and machinery, manpower availability, skill development, regulatory, R&D (research and development), capacity utilisation as well as consumer awareness.
The study stated that at 100 per cent compliance by FBOs towards food testing, the deficit in laboratories was estimated at 284 labs overall in the country, with the maximum requirement in the southern region (124 labs), followed by the east (70), west (58) and north (31).
Further, at 100 per cent compliance by FBOs and the HORECA (hotel, restaurant and cafe) segment towards food testing, the deficit in laboratories was estimated at over 700 labs, with the maximum requirement in the south (312), followed by the west (210), east (130) and north (91).
Seventy-eight per cent of the labs were found have NABL (National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories) accreditation, while 57 per cent, were FSSAI-notified. Other major accreditations held by the surveyed labs included BIS (the Bureau of Indian Standards), AGMARK, MoEF (the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change) and AYUSH.
In terms of in-house ability for testing, most of the surveyed labs had a chemical-based testing set-up. Microbiological and pesticide residue testing was found to be a comparatively more capital-intensive service, hence, fewer labs possessed the same. Presence of chemical testing was found the highest in FSSAI-notified private labs, while referral and FBO labs saw the maximum presence of biological testing.
Procurement and maintenance of high-end testing equipment was also found to be a major challenge faced by small and medium private sector labs owing to the lack of samples and minimal capacity utilisation.
Ashwin Bhadri, chief executive officer, Equinox Labs, stated in a country like India for which food safety remained a higher priority for all the food businesses and consumers, a thorough scrutiny of the industry was a must for obvious reasons.
“The report renders a profound analysis of the challenges that have been faced by several categorised laboratories. The research made can be beneficial in overcoming the shortcomings with alternative solutions,” he added.
“The study addresses the adversities in domains such as equipment and machinery, R&D, capacity utilisation and skill development. The recommendations provided in the draft can be implemented by the laboratories to combat the issues,” Bhadri said.
“Also, the report suggests the percentages of categorised labs and helps us understand the importance of having a few more,” he added.
The study
According to FSSAI, this meta study on food testing laboratories in India was envisaged with the intention of having a holistic overview of the food testing ecosystem in the country.
It is of critical importance to have an understanding of the existing infrastructure available for food testing in the country in terms of capacity, provision of equipment, technical manpower, geographical spread and testing capabilities.
Hence, a judicious mix of secondary and primary analysis was utilised to cater to assessment of these parameters.
During the entire exercise, feedback from all critical stakeholders in the food testing ecosystem such as APEDA (the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority), MPEDA (the Marine Products Export Development Authority), EIC (the Export Inspection Council of India) and NABL, amongst others, was considered and incorporated to derive key recommendations and chart a way forward to strengthen the food testing infrastructure in the country.
Under the purview of this study, as a starting point, food testing labs in India have been categorised based on their registrations (FSSAI-notified, FBO-owned labs, referral labs, institutional labs and non-FSSAI labs), geographical spread zone-wise (north, east, west and south) as well as their varying testing capabilities (biological, chemical and residue testing), amongst others.
It was found that about 915 food and water testing labs exist at present in India. These includes NABL-accredited labs, FSSAI-notified labs, state labs, institutional labs, referral labs, etc. Under the FSSAI network, about 265 labs are operational, while 35 are EIC-approved, 40 are APEDA-recognised while 72 received assistance from MoFPI.  
Geographically, the north, east, west and south zones of the country covered 30 per cent, 10 per cent, 27 per cent and 34 per cent, respectively of all food testing labs in the country.
In terms of testing abilities, a large number of labs can carry out the biological, chemical or both tests for the food and agri products (which covers a host of food items), while only a few of them (only 32 per cent) can test for pesticide residues in food products. Furthermore, a limited number of labs were found which can test for specialised products, like marine (16 per cent), nutraceuticals (four per cent) and genetically-modified products (two per cent).

Categories: NEWS

Nutrition and Health Claims – The Codex Perspective

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Recently, FSSAI has introduced the Advertising and Claims Regulations and most of them are based on Codex Claim structure.

Giving message about the product is part of claim and today’s food marketing cannot be completed without being claimed. Claims are nothing but benefits warranted through a food product by the seller of the food article. There are many types of claims that are used by food manufacturers to garner attention of consumers like nutrition claims and health claims.

Nutrition claims talk about the nutrient contents of the food while health claims describe the associated health benefits. There are a number of international regulations and governing bodies that regulate the use of claims on foods. They are FOSHU (Japan), EU guidelines, the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetics Act (USFDA), FSSAI claim guidelines and Codex. Since Codex is recognised as the global reference for international trade and resolution of disputes by the WTO, let us consider the Codex perspective on claims.   

Codex Guidelines and Claims

The Codex Alimentarius is a collection of internationally recognised standards, codes of practice, guidelines and other recommendations relating to foods, food production and food safety. Its texts are developed and maintained by the Codex Alimentarius Commission, established in 1963 by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO). The implementation of Codex standards is voluntary and there is no obligation on the countries to adopt the same.

There are two guidelines in Codex that apply to the use of claims for foods namely the Codex general guidelines on claims and the Codex guidelines for the use of nutrition and health claims.

The general guidelines on claims are based on the principle that food should not be described or presented in a false, misleading or deceptive manner. In the guidelines, claim is defined as any representation which states, suggests or implies that a food has particular characteristics relating to its origin, nutritional properties, nature, production, processing, composition or any other quality. The guidelines prohibit the use of following types of claims for foods:

1. A claim suggesting that a particular food is an adequate source of essential nutrients except where such claims are permissible as per a Codex standard for well defined product or where the product has been accepted to be an adequate source of nutrients by the appropriate authorities

2. A claim implying that a balanced diet or ordinary foods cannot be an adequate source of all nutrients

3. A claim that cannot be substantiated
4. A claim suggesting that a food can be used for the prevention, alleviation, treatment or cure of a disease or disorder unless they are in accordance with the Codex standards or guidelines for Foods for Special Dietary Uses or they are permissible under the laws of the country in which they are distributed
5. A claim that could lead to doubts about the safety of similar foods or arouse fear in the mind of consumer

The guidelines also prohibit the use of potentially misleading claims. For the prevention of misleading through claims, the guidelines identify certain conditions/criteria for the use of various types of claims. Such claims are only permitted if the respective conditions attached as listed below are satisfied.

The second text i.e., the guidelines for the use of nutrition and health claims encompass the nutrition and health claims in food labelling and where required, in advertising. These guidelines are applicable to all foods bearing nutrition and health claims. As per these guidelines, unless specifically permitted in Codex standards or national legislation, nutrition and health claims cannot be made on infant foods and foods for young children.

In Codex, claims are broadly classified as nutrition claims and health claims. Nutrition claim is defined as any representation which states, suggests or implies that a food has particular nutritional properties including but not limited to the energy value and to the content of protein, fat and carbohydrates, as well as the content of vitamins and minerals. The declaration of substances in the ingredients’ list, the mention of nutrients as mandatory part of nutrition labelling or the declaration of nutrients or ingredients as per requirements of national legislation does not fall in the ambit of nutrition claims.

A nutrition claim can further be categorised into a nutrient content claim or a nutrient comparative claim.

Nutrient content claim
A nutrient content claim describes the level of a nutrient contained in a food. Claims like “source of calcium”, “no added sugar” and “free of trans fatty acids” are content claims. The guidelines provide for certain nutrient content claims along with specific conditions to be met for the claim to be employed. For a food, which is low in or free of the nutrient on which the claim is made, the term describing the level of the nutrient should not immediately precede the name of the food but should be in the form “a low (naming the nutrient) food” or “a (naming the nutrient)-free food”. Example – a salt with low sodium contents shall bear a claim saying “low sodium salt”.
Nutrient comparative claim
The other type of nutrition claim is nutrient comparative claim. A nutrient comparative claim is a claim that compares the nutrient levels and/or energy value of two or more foods. Comparison can involve claims like “reduced”; “less than”; “fewer”; “more than”. Example – “This chewable tablet contains X% more chewable calcium than brand y.”
Comparative claims should be permitted based on the following criteria and considering further preparations required for consumption depending upon the form in which food is sold.
Comparative claims
The basic requirement of comparative claims is that the foods being compared should be different versions of the same food or similar foods and the foods being compared should be clearly identified. The food must bear on the label a statement of the amount of difference in the energy value or the nutrient content.

The amount of difference related to the same quantity, expressed as a percentage, fraction or absolute value, the complete details of the comparison and the identity of the food(s) to which the food is being compared must be provided in close proximity to the comparative claim.

The comparison between the compared foods should be based on a relative difference of at least 25% in the energy value or nutrient content for macronutrients and at least 10% in case of micronutrients in the NRV and a minimum absolute difference in the energy value or nutrient content equivalent to the values specified for content claims like “low” or “a source” in the guidelines. The food label can bear the word “light” if the criteria for the word “reduced” are met and must indicate the characteristics, which make the food “light”.

The other category of claims in Codex is health claims. Health claim is defined as any representation that states, suggests or implies that a relationship exists between a food or a food constituent and health. Health claims must consist of two parts – the information on the physiological role (function) of nutrient or on an accepted diet-health relationship and that on the composition of the product relevant to the function unless the function is not linked to specific constituents of the food. Detailed principles have been developed in the guidelines to decide on the eligibility of a claim as a health claim. The claims fulfilling the set requirements are only permitted.

The health claims should be based on current relevant scientific substantiation and the proof available should be adequate for substantiating the claim. The claim should be accepted by competent authorities of the nation where the product is sold and the claimed effect should be derived from consuming a reasonable amount of the food/food constituent. In case of a claim attributed to a food constituent having a set Nutrient Reference Value, the concerned food shall be a source of / high in / low in / free of the constituent based on the recommended consumption with the conditions for such terms applicable. There should be a validated method of quantifying the food constituent that the claim is based on. The guidelines emphasise on development of clear regulatory framework for qualifying / disqualifying conditions for the use of specific claims. The label of the foods bearing health claims must incorporate all the relevant information for consumers.

The label must indicate the amount of nutrient or constituent of the food on which the claim is based along with the target group, if applicable. The proper directions for consumption to obtain the claimed benefit and caution advice for vulnerable groups, where applicable must be provided. The maximum safe intake of the food/constituent, how the food fits within the context of total diet and a statement on significance of maintaining a healthy diet must be displayed on the label.

Health claims can further be grouped into nutrient function claims, other function claims and reduction of disease risk claims.

Nutrient function claim is a claim that describes the physiological role of the nutrient in growth, development and normal functions of the body. Example: “Contains folic acid which contributes to the normal growth of foetus. Food X is a source of/ high in folic acid.” As per the guidelines, this type of claim can only be made on those essential nutrients with established Nutrient Reference Values in the Codex or the officially recognised dietary guidelines of the concerned national authority.

Other function claims – These claims concern specific beneficial effects of the consumption of foods or their constituents, in the context of the total diet on normal functions or biological activities of the body. Such claims relate to a positive contribution to health or to the improvement of a function or to modifying or preserving health.

Examples: “Vitamin C helps to enhance body’s natural defence system. Food Y contains x grams of vitamin C.”

Reduction of disease risk claims are claims relating the consumption of a food or food constituent, in the context of the total diet, to the reduced risk of developing a disease or health-related condition.

Risk reduction means significantly altering major risk factor(s) for a disease or health-related condition. Diseases have multiple risk factors and altering one of them may or may not have a beneficial effect. The presentation of risk reduction claims must ensure, for example, by use of appropriate language and reference to other risk factors, that consumers do not interpret them as prevention claims. Examples: “Adequate iron intake may reduce the risk of anaemia. Food X is enriched with iron.”
The guidelines also identify certain conditions for using claims related to dietary guidelines or healthy diets. The only claims permitted shall be the ones related to the pattern of eating contained in the dietary guidelines officially recognised by appropriate national authority. The words of the claim may be flexible as far as the pattern of eating outlined in the dietary guidelines is clearly conveyed. The foods described, as part of a healthy diet shall satisfy certain minimum criteria for other major nutrients related to the dietary guidelines and not just the selective considerations of certain aspects of the food. The foods should not be represented in a manner indicating that a food in itself will impart health. Lastly the foods may be described as part of a “healthy diet” provided that a statement connecting the food to the pattern of eating described in the guidelines is provided on the label.  
Conclusion
FSSAI has initiated the Food Safety and Standards (Advertising and Claims) Regulations, 2018, and most of it is derived from Codex so it would be always good for scholars to understand the Codex document on claim. To conclude, nutrition labelling can be an effective means of enabling healthful food choices by consumers, although current evidence concerning the effect of health claims on diet and public health is insufficient. Regulations can contribute to influence their potential to promote health. Thus, developing regulations with long-term dietary improvements across populations, as their underlying goal will maximise this potential of nutrition labels and health claims.

(The writer is immediate past president, AFST India. He
participated for four times in Codex meeting as part of Indian delegation. He can be contacted at prabodh1972@gmail.com)

Categories: NEWS

FLRS to be launched in new avatar, rechristened FOSCOS, states Darade

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The food licencing and registration system (FLRS) will be unveiled in a new avatar and with a new name – Food Safety Compliance System (FOSCOS) – shortly. In order to give easy access to the FLRS, FSSAI, the country’s apex food regulator, has decided to make it more user-friendly. This was stated by Pallavi Darade, commissioner, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Maharashtra, at a technical seminar, which was titled Demystifying Regulatory Requirement and organised in Mumbai by Association of Food Scientists and Technologists (India) (AFST[I]), Mumbai chapter, in association with FSSAI and FDA Maharashtra.
She added that the rebranding of the FLRS system would be done soon, while the focus shall be on self-compliance, and stated that its rechristening as FOSCOS was a part of the plan for streamlining of the processes under the Food Safety and Standards Regulations, 2011, which have been created to lay down science-based standards for articles of food and to regulate their manufacture, storage and distribution import.
“The requirement under the Food Safety and Standards Regulations, to have a license or registration, was to ensure the availability of safe and wholesome food for human consumption and food, I believe, is a vast and expanding sector and requires attention. Besides, the FBOs (food business operators) also need to be given a helping hand when it comes to compliance with the regulations,” Darade said, adding that the new online system will help the FBOs in self-compliance.
She urged the FBOs to get licenses, adding that there were a number of complaints about businesses running without licenses.
P Muthumaran, regional director, West and South, FSSAI, said that there should be a three-way strong connection between responsible FBOs, regulators and consumers for the smooth working and voluntary compliance rather than inspectors chasing businesses. He added, “A special drive for licencing, both at the Central and state levels, and registration is in the pipeline and it will be launched soon.”
Meanwhile, the seminar featured sessions on such topics as the mobile lab initiative by FSSAI, nutraceutical regulations, the recent amendments in FSSAI regulations, food labelling and the roles of FSSAI and state FDA in the regulatory mechanism.

Categories: NEWS

Adulterated mawa seized ahead of festival

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Jaipur: Ahead of Holi, health department’s food safety wing on Monday took action against mawa and milk cake producers for allegedly using dried milk powder and refined oil. Food safety officers seized 25 kg of milk powder and bottles of refined oil from Chitwari area of Jaipur district. Also, 50 kg of adulterated milk cake was destroyed by food safety officers.

The food safety officers have served notices to the firm owner under Food Safety and Standards Act. They said that action will be taken only after they receive the report of test done of the samples taken from the firms. The raids were conducted in Chitwari area of Jaipur district. The officials claimed that the owner of a firm was using milk powder and refined oil as an adulterant. The food safety officers conducted raids at 12 such firms preparing mawa. They have also destroyed 25 kg of mawa on suspicion of it being adulterated.

Also, in another raid conducted in Shahpura of Jaipur district, the food safety wing officials found that the owner of the firm was selling “adulterated” milk cake with the name of “suji cake” and “sweet cake”. “They have started fooling people by selling adulterated milk cake with different names. When we conducted raids, they refused to accept that it is milk cake. They keep the product in big packets of 10-12 kg and sell it to customers by cutting pieces. But, when food safety officers conduct inspection, they show the label on 10 kg packet mentioning it as “suji cake or sweet cake” but when they sell it to the customers, they do not mention that it is not milk cake but it is suji cake,” said an official. He said that they sell it for Rs 300 per kg.

The officials said that the adulterated milk cake is supplied from Alwar’s Khaithal and Ramgarh area. “Milk cake is prepared by using only milk and sugar. But, they are using cheap refined oil and suji for preparing a product which requires less investment and it gives better return to such traders,” he said.

Categories: NEWS

Street food in Mumbai, Ahmedabad ‘safe to eat’

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The respective state Food and Drug Administration confers ‘Clean Street Food Hub’ tag on Mumbai’s Chowpatty and Ahmedabad’s Kankaria Zone

Now, having a plate of bhel puri or the lip-smacking pani puri at Mumbai’s legendary Chowpatty is apparently as safe as it can be. The Chowpatty at Girgaum and Juhu procured India’s ‘Clean Street Food Hub’ certification on March 5, 2019.

This happened within a month after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of Maharashtra cracked down on 27 restaurants across Mumbai, suspending their licences and issuing showcause notices for violating basic food and safety guidelines.

In all, 80 stalls at Juhu Chowpatty and 30 stalls at Girgaum Chowpatty were monitored closely by FDA officials over the last six months. Following that, they were conferred with the tag that “is a seal of assurance that the food has been cooked in clean conditions following hygiene standards, and is absolutely safe to eat,” said Maharashtra FDA Commissioner Pallavi Darade.

Now, all the staff use clean water, gloves, uniforms, caps and have waste-bins lined up at regular intervals. Staying safe is serious business for the stall owners. After all, they get audited by FDA every three months.

The FDA clean tag that Mumbai’s chowpatty earned were on the lines of Ahmedabad’s Kankaria Zone — the country’s first ‘Clean Street Food Hub’ certification earned in September 2018 after the zone’s personnel received intensive training in cooking and hygiene standards laid down and ascertained by officials of the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) and Gujarat Food and Drug Control Administration.

Kankaria houses around 66 street food vendors who cater to nearly 12 million people every year. The zone successfully met FSSAI-framed guidelines to upgrade the infrastructure for existing street food clusters, to make it more safe and hygienic.

The guidelines include garbage disposal practices; maintenance of personal hygiene; demarcating of cooking and non-cooking areas; working street lights; pest control and overall cleanliness.

“We conduct regular raids on restaurants across Mumbai and issue showcause notices to them if they are found violating food and safety guidelines. The idea isn’t to force them to shut shop but to comply with safety norms to ensure that they do not put public health at risk,” said Maharashtra FDA Joint Commissioner (Food) Shailesh Adhao.

In an earlier crackdown, the Maharashtra FDA had found hygiene and food safety violations in 74 per cent of over 500 popular restaurants. A large number of restaurants across Mumbai had ignored mandatory health checks for staff.

“Owing to acute staff shortage that plagues this industry, most of us cannot retain staff for too long. Maintaining records and ensuring they meet hygiene standards is a tough task,” says tea-stall owner Mahesh Trivedi.

The Maharashtra FDA in itself is plagued by staff shortage, with less than 300 food inspectors who have to monitor lakhs of restaurants. However, the recent training drive has received much appreciation from the service sector.

“Now, everything is so professional, unlike in the past. The change is there for everyone to see. FDA has done some brilliant work by training our staff in conjunction with the civic officials,” says Chetan Sharma owner of Sharma’s Milky at Chowpatty.

He added that the ‘Clean Street Food Hub’ tag has helped boost business as well.

“I swear by the quality of the food here,” says 26-year-old copywriter Anshu Goel who has been “binging on Pav Bhaji at a fave stall regularly for over two years now,” and “hasn’t fallen sick even once.” And now, Anshu says, “her mother will stop nagging her about the risks of eating out.”

Categories: NEWS

Food at some Bengaluru’s Indira Canteens unfit: Labs

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Bengaluru:Items like sambar, bisibele bath and rice served in select Indira Canteens in Bengaluru are not fit for human consumption, say reports from two laboratories.

The confirmation comes nearly three weeks after TOI published a report — ‘Substandard food, poor hygiene take sheen off Indira Canteens’ — on February 27.

The tests, conducted by the government-run Public Health Institute (PHI) and Ramaiah Advanced Testing Laboratory, were commissioned by BJP corporator Umesh Shetty, and found the presence of bacteria and fungus in the samples.

BBMP sources said there isn’t a single complaint of people falling ill after consuming Indira Canteen food and the timing of the allegation appears suspect. Shetty, who represents Govindrajnagar ward, said the idea behind collecting samples originated when he noticed pourakarmikas were not present in full strength during daily mustering. “I was told many absent pourakarmikas were suffering from stomachache, diarrhoea and other stomachrelated ailments. I suspected problems with the Indira Canteen food they were consuming. This forced me to get food samples tested,” he said.

The corporator collected samples from JP Nagar ward (near chief minister HD Kumaraswamy’s residence), mayor Gangambike Mallikarjun’s area (Jayanagar), deputy mayor Bhadre Gowda’s Nagapura ward and Byatarayanapura, Aramane Nagar, Govindrajnagar and Mudalpalya wards between February 28 and March 15.

Testing of the sambar samples from the Indira Canteen in JP Nagar, Jayanagar and Nagapura wards showed quality was far from satisfactory on many counts.

INFLATED? BBMP says 21 lakh people, including 16,000 pourakarmikas, eat Indira Canteen food. A corporator saw a scam in numbers quoted

CCTV cameras in canteens not functioning: Corporator

The microbiological quality of the sambar wasn’t within satisfactory limits,” said the PHI deputy director.

Samples of bisibele bath from Byatarayanapura and Mudalapalya wards were also of inferior quality. Escherichia coli (E coli) bacteria found in boiled rice could cause abdominal cramps and vomiting, said Dr Kishore Shenoy of Ramaiah Advanced Testing Laboratory.

Shetty said 16,000 pourakarmikas are provided food from Indira Canteens. He said he would file a complaint with the Anti-Corruption Bureau. He said: “Every day, huge bills are claimed. Why are officials compromising on food quality and safety of people?”

He said the BBMP claims 21 lakh people eat at Indira Canteens, but the reality is different as the numbers are inflated to claim bills. Shetty alleged CCTV cameras in the canteens aren’t functioning.

Deputy CM orders tests

Deputy chief minister G Parameshwara has directed BBMP commissioner N Manjunatha Prasad to test food samples and take action against erring contractors. Saying media reports (on quality of food) could create panic among the public, Prasad said samples of Indira Canteen ingredients and cooked food will be tested in 12 labs accredited to the National Accreditation Board and approved by Food Safety and Standards Authority of India.

TIMES VIEW

Offering food at subsidised rates is a time-tested model that several governments have tried to keep their votebanks intact. That apart, Indira Canteens turned to be a blessing for the urban poor though the previous government failed to gain much politically. Now nobody’s baby, there seems to be no system in place to monitor their functioning. They now face allegations of serving substandard food in unhygienic conditions. The report that food at some outlets is unfit for consumption is shocking. Instead of indulging in political mudslinging, the authorities must act quickly and fix the mess.

Categories: NEWS

உணவு பாதுகாப்பு துறையினர் ஆய்வு

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