Archive for 11,April, 2019

FSSAI urges state food safety depts to comply with organic food norms

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The country’s apex food regulator issued a directive to all the state food safety authorities to gear up for the implementation of the Food Safety Standards (Organic Food) Regulations, 2017, with which all the food business operators (FBOs) were required to comply by April 1, 2019.
However, FSSAI stated that after careful consideration of the representation received, state food authorities were instructed that these regulations may be considered as enabling regulations, and should not be considered for prosecution, particularly for small original producers and producers’ organisations during the initial phase of its implementation till April 1, 2020.
The apex food regulator has advised the state food safety departments to consider that the provisions of direct sale of organic food to end consumer by small/original producers and organisations having an annual turnover not exceeding Rs 12 lakh was permitted and may be allowed to sell organic food without any certification, i.e. NPOP (National Programme for Organic Production)/PGS (Participatory Guarantee System)-India.
Further, direction stated that the aggregators/intermediaries who often help small farmers to sell the produce to end consumer may be allowed to sell products without any certification, i.e. NPOP/PGS-India.
And in both the above mentioned cases, the organic food is also exempted from bearing the Jaivik Bharat Logo.
However, FSOs (food safety officers) have been asked to ensure that the limits of contaminants and insecticide residues were complied with as specified in the regulations.  
Organic food retail companies are required to comply with all the requirements of the regulations.
According to FSSAI, several representations were received by the FSSAI regarding the challenges faced in the implementation of the regulations by the organic food businesses, including small original producers.
It is pertinent to mention that the regulations were to be implemented by July 1, 2018, while FSSAI has asked the FBOs to get license in this regard by September 30, 2018 and a January 24, 2019 notification by the regulator deferred the use of the Jaivik Bharat logo by April 1, 2019.

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FSSAI notifies draft regulations amending mandatory BIS certification

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The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India has notified the draft Food Safety and Standards (Prohibition and Restrictions on Sales) Amendment Regulations, 2019 and the draft Food Safety and Standards (Packaging and Labelling) Amendment Regulations, 2019, amending the requirement of mandatory certification of Agmark and Bureau of Indian standards (BIS) in respect of certain food products.
“Taking note of the performance audit observations done by the CAG (Comptroller and Auditor General) and the views of the stakeholders (industry associations, boards, consumer organisations and individuals), it is now proposed in the above-mentioned draft amendment regulations that the the mandatory certification of Agmark for Carbia callosa, honey dew, Kangra tea, til oil (sesame oil) and light black pepper be delighted,” said the country’s apex food regulator in a statement.
It added, “Furthermore, in case of other food products listed in the regulation for mandatory BIS or Agmark certification, as the case may be, it is further proposed that FSSAI may dispense with the requirement of BIS certification for imported food products based on any bilateral or multilateral agreements and/or if the imported products are covered under any equivalent certification scheme in the country of origin/export taking into consideration the principle of equivalence as envisaged in Agreement on Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures of the WTO (World Trade Organization).”
The regulatory provisions regarding mandatory certification of BIS and Agmark on certain products were taken from the erstwhile Prevention of Food Adulteration (PFA) Act, 1954, and included as such in the Food Safety and Standards Regulations, 2011.
It is pertinent to mention here that during the performance audit of the FSSAI by CAG, it was observed that food businesses have to deal with more than one authority or entity, which is not in consonance with the spirit of the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006.
Consequently, FSSAI invited comments from all stakeholders as a step towards reviewing these provisions and understanding whether such provisions are serving any benefit to the industry and consumers and are required or not.

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States chalking out plans to implement Alcoholic Beverages Regulations

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The food safety commissioners and the excise commissioners in the states are currently holding meetings to chalk out plans for the effective implementation of the Alcoholic Beverages Regulations, 2018, which came into force on April 1, 2019.
Recently the two departments convened a meeting here in which the collaborative plan was discussed, and it was decided that businesses should not be subjected to overburden of compliance.
FSSAI chief executive officer Pawan Kumar Agarwal said that the challenge was to see whether the two departments will collaborate and not put extra burden of compliance on businesses.
“For this, a meeting of food safety commissioners and excise commissioners was held recently, and we found that it would not be difficult for the two departments to collaborate. In most cases we are working together,” he said, adding that the two departments will figure out in due course of time on how the collaboration needed to be taken forward.
Agarwal stated that for the alcoholic beverage sector, the implementation of the standards was a very significant way forward in improvement of the quality and standards of the alcoholic beverages available in the country.
“Thus far, it was being primarily regulated by the excise department, wherein they were looking into the alcoholic content and toxic substances in the alcohols,” he added.
Now there are far more elaborate standards that have benchmarked the global standards, and in certain cases, we have taken the Indian context more into consideration. So once these standards come into force, along with food safety commissioners, the excise commissioners and their field staff can also regulator these standards,” said Agarwal.
FAQs on Alcoholic Beverages Regulations
Meanwhile, the country’s apex food regulator has said that the upper limit of alcohol in regular beer has been fixed upto five per cent, while the limit for strong beer was fixed above five per cent upto eight per cent, and this may be mentioned on the labels instead of exact percentage of the alcohol.
This clarification was released by FSSAI, along with FAQs (frequently-asked questions) on the Alcoholic Beverage Regulations, 2018, which has come into force by April 1, 2019. However, six months’ transition time has been given to the businesses and the enforcement shall begin from October this year.
On Geographical Indication (GI), FSSAI has clarified that all such products covered under the GI tag, should conform to all the safety requirement like limits of heavy metals, and microbiological requirements as specified in the regulations.
The FAQs clarified that the sugar content in the alcohol can be specified under Clause 5.9.1, and is defined as weight divided by volume (w/v).
“The tolerance limit of ethyl alcohol has been given ±0.3 per cent, which means that the maximum permissible variation is calculated by adding or subtracting 0.3 in the nominal value of ethyl alcohol of the declared strength,” stated the FAQs released by FSSAI.
Also, FSSAI has reiterated by that the existing stock can be sold in the market till March 31, 2020.
On the question whether more than 30ml of water can be added per kg of grape or fruit wines, the regulator stated that water added in preparation of wine is in the process of revision from the existing limit of not more than 30ml to 70ml per kg of grape or fruit, and the same will be notified in due process. Meanwhile, the FBOs (food business operators) have been instructed to comply with the limit under revision.

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Food safety norms take centre stage at Ahmedgarh

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Officials distribute aprons, masks and head covers to food operators in Ahmedgarh on Monday.

Mandi Ahmedgarh, April 1

Local food operators vowed to take preventive measures and adopt standard procedure of manufacturing and handling food items.

The call was made by Ravinder Garg, Assistant Commissioner, Food Safety, during a workshop held at Jain Sathanak.

Food operators also asked their family members to ensure that food safety norms were followed at their homes as well.

Prevention of contamination of raw material, packing and storage of finished products, personal hygiene and compliance of various sections of food safety laws, were cited by the officials of the Food and Drug Administration Department.

Councillor Deepak Sharma, BJP functionary Parmod Gupta and Tony Aggarwal led the food operators.

Garg claimed that about 120 entrepreneurs updated their knowledge related to various aspects of preparation of food items and its handling.

He said the administration has launched a coordinated movement to impart training under the Mission Tandrust Punjab as per the guidelines of the Food Safety Standards Authority of India (FSSAI).

A team of officials from the RIR Certification Private Limited led by Gaurav Kumar highlighted various aspects of food safety and compliance of laws.

Food Safety Officer Divya Goswami supervised the workshop.

The organisers provided kits comprising caps, aprons and masks to those directly engaged in preparation, processing and service of food items.

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Direction for Organic Foods

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Modification in the existing FLRS for Fortification endorsement

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Civic drive to ensure food safety standards

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Kolkata: The Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) will soon take up emphatic awareness campaign throughout the city to ensure that the food vendors and the consumers do not compromise with the food safety standards.

"We will be putting up banners and posters with messages regarding food safety and security at strategic locations in the city. We will also distribute leaflets with do’s and don’t’s among common people, food vendors and also street food vendors. The regular inspection by our food inspectors which is going on in full swing on a regular basis will continue," said a senior KMC official of the Food Safety wing. This wing comes under the aegis of the Health department of the civic body.

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) have certain guidelines for those associated with food business so that the food that they serve to customers conform to standards.

"We will be examining whether the vendors have valid FSSAI licence, whether they are using artificial colours and other requisites in maintaining food hygiene. The use of ice in drinks will also be under strong supervision. We have been conducting raids for the last two years to stop the use of industrial ice in drinks," the official added.

The KMC’s food drive has received a major boost with the recruitment of 80 contractual staffs. A team of six officials has been formed for all the 16 boroughs under the civic body for taking up food drive. Each team will be led by a food inspector . The necessary training has already been provided to these new recruitees.

The mobile food testing laboratory introduced by KMC in October last year is used in drive during weekends. It checks food quality right at the spot after picking up random samples from eateries.

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Erring traders charged Rs 83,000 fine at Ganderbal

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The court of Additional Deputy Commissioner-cum- Adjudicating Officer, Ganderbal Showkat Ahmad imposed a fine of Rs 83,000 on a number of traders for violating the provisions of Food Safety and Standards Act-2006, Rules and Regulations -2011.

The Food Business Operators were directed to correct the deficiencies found during the course of adjudication in the food products which were processed/packed/manufactured and pumped into the market for consumption of general masses by them.

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PIL claims FSSAI and not MCDs should issue license to meat shops: HC seeks Delhi govt’s reply

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The Delhi High Court Monday sought a response of the AAP government on a plea alleging that the municipal bodies were still granting licenses for setting up slaughter houses in the city when the power to do so is vested in the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI).

Apart from the Delhi government, a bench of Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice A J Bhambhani also issued notice to the municipal bodies in the city and the FSSAI seeking their stand on the plea.

The petition by Gauri Maulekhi, an animal rights activist, has contended that after the FSSAI rules came into effect in August 2011, the food safety authority was the sole competent body to regulate and grant registration or license to slaughter houses and meat shops.

However, the Municipal Corporation of Delhi in September 2011 issued a revised meat shop policy under which it continued to grant registration and licenses to the meat shops and slaughter houses, senior advocate Raj Panjwani, appearing for Maulekhi, told the court.

In the petition, filed through advocate Priyanka Bangari, the animal rights activist has contended that the FSSAI Regulations "specifically regulates and lays down the specific hygienic and sanitary practices to be followed by the food business operators engaged in manufacture, processing, storing and selling of meat and meat products, to obtain the said license to operate".

"Therefore, slaughter houses, meat shops, processing units such as cold storage of meat, etc. are bound by law to obtain license under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 from the FSSAI," the petition has said.

It has also said despite the Director (Regulatory Compliance) FSSAI

writing to the Delhi government in June last year to direct the municipal corporation to withdraw the September 2011 licensing policy, nothing has been done till date.

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