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Nestlé to appeal against fine of Rs 20 lakh imposed in 2015 Maggi case

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Nestlé India has decided to appeal against an order issued by the adjudicating officer in Madhya Pradesh’s Morena district, that imposed a fine of Rs 20 lakh in a case registered against the company in 2015. The case was in regard to the alleged presence of lead and MSG in its product Maggi noodles beyond permissible limits.
The case was registered with the food safety department on account of alleged presence of monosodium glutamate (MSG) in Maggi noodles though its pack said, ‘no added MSG.’
In this regard, a spokesperson for Nestlé stated, “Maggi noodles are 100% safe for consumption and Nestlé India does not add MSG as an ingredient at any stage of the manufacturing process.”
He added, “We regret any confusion that this decision of first level adjudicating officer has caused amongst our consumers and we want to reassure them we do not add MSG as an ingredient at any stage of the manufacturing process.”
The spokesperson explained, “This case is several years old and refers to a claim of ‘No added MSG’ that we voluntarily removed from packs of Maggi noodles four years ago to avoid any confusion or misunderstanding among consumers about the products. We will be appealing against the decision to issue a fine on the grounds that legal precedence has not been followed. We would like to assure that Maggi noodles is and always has been safe for consumption.”
Calling this as a very old case, the spokesperson further stated that controversies are unwarranted as the Supreme Court has settled these cases earlier this year.
Since 2015, when the controversy first erupted with imposition of ban by  apex food regulator FSSAI on Nestlé’s maggi noodles, Maggi has regained its number one spot in the instant noodles market with over 59.2% market share value.
The overall business of Nestlé reached Rs 112 billion in 2018 with CAGR 11.5% since 2001.

Categories: NEWS

Fortified rice to curb malnutrition: 5 states yet to give consent to Centre’s scheme

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Under the scheme, states will distribute fortified rice under PDS. The rice will be fortified in the milling stage and kernels with iron, vitamin D12 and folic acid, mixed with it in a 1:100 ratio.

The scheme, supposed to be a centrally-sponsored one, was to be implemented through the PDS system by the states. While the Centre agreed to a 75:25 ratio of financial responsibility, and 90:10 in the case of Northeastern states, ministry officials said that states spoke of many roadblocks. (AP)

Six months after the Centre approved a pilot to distribute fortified rice to curb malnutrition in 15 districts, a third of the 15 states that had initially agreed to implement are is yet to convey their consent, according to officials aware of the developments. Some of these states have now set certain preconditions that will delay the project’s implementation, the officials added.

The pilot, a part of the women and child development ministry’s flagship Poshan Abhiyaan programme, was approved in February. Under the scheme, states will distribute fortified rice under the Public Distribution Scheme (PDS). The rice will be fortified in the milling stage and kernels with iron, vitamin D12 and folic acid, mixed with it in a 1:100 ratio.

Of 15 states which had initially agreed to implement the scheme, five are yet to give their consent. States which are on board currently include Assam, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha and Telangana.

The matter also come up in the meeting of the Executive Committee of the Poshan Abhiyaan in July. As per minutes of the meeting, accessed by HT, a representative of the food and public distribution department said that only 9 states had conveyed their consent, with some putting forth preconditions which “will delay implementation of the pilot project”. Since then, Telangana has come on board. An updated report on the implementation of the pilot is due.

The scheme, supposed to be a centrally-sponsored one, was to be implemented through the PDS system by the states. While the Centre agreed to a 75:25 ratio of financial responsibility, and 90:10 in the case of Northeastern states, ministry officials said that states spoke of many roadblocks.

Procurement of the kernels was one of the key problems cited by the states. “States are wary of capital expenditure, too. The blender used to mix kernels with rice costs anywhere between Rs 15-20 lakh,” said a ministry official.

In response to a demand from the consumer affairs ministry, the ministry had agreed to shell out an additional cost of 60 paise per kg for the blending of the fortified rice. This extra cost was to be met from the funds provided by the ministry under the Supplementary Nutrition Programme.

“We are very much on board and have signed up for providing technical support for rice fortification to the states under the PDS. However, our role comes much later; there are many processes to be accomplished before we step in,” said Pawan Aggarwal, CEO, Food Safety Standards Authority of India.

Categories: NEWS

60 kg adulterated sweet items seized from stalls at Chhapar Mela

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Ludhiana: To combat supply of adulterated food items across the districts, the food safety team of the health department carried out an extensive checking drive at Chhapar Mela on Friday.

The team recovered 60 kg of sweet items made with artificial colours and flavours which is harmful for children as well as women.

During an inspection of various food stalls installed at Chhapar Mela, the food safety team took samples of several milk products over suspicion of being adulterated with harmful chemicals.

Moreover, a team of the drug department and legal metrology also conducted surprise checking at several outlets for selling tobacco products openly in the city markets. They were also issued challans.

The health department generated Rs 5,000 from several offenders during the tobacco awareness drive. They also gave strict instructions to the offenders regarding the same.

District food safety officer, Yogesh Goyal, said under the supervision of the district health officer, Andesh Kang, a team of the food safety officers carried out inspection at different food stalls at the Chhapar Mela.

They found several adulterated food items containing harmful coloured flavour.

“We have destroyed more than half a quintal of sweets on the spot at the Chhapar Mela. We have collected samples of various milk products and sent it to a laboratory for further testing,” he said.

The food safety team inspected as many as five to six dairy shops in Payal and Dhaka areas of the district on Friday and took samples of 7 to 10 food items, including curd, ghee and other milk products for laboratory testing.

“The district health department team will take action after the report and impose heavy fine on the offenders,” he said.

“We have issued a proper guidelines to all the city-based vendors that they should avoid using newspaper for wrapping the food items. We have also issued instructions to vendors to use masks, gloves, gown and caps while preparing and serving food items,” said Goyal.

The health department advised people to check the quality of food items before buying due to change in the weather conditions.

Categories: NEWS

Clean Chaats, No Dirty Golgappa Paani Or Rotten Chow-Chows — Campaign To Give Street Food Spotless Image Adds To Taste

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The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India’s initiative to train street food handlers on good hygiene, safety and quality has positively impacted some of India’s biggest street food hubs in cities like Ahmedabad and Amritsar

AHMEDABAD

Stalls at Kankaria Lake, the nation’s first Clean Street Food Hub

The chole bhatures, stuffed paranthas, pav bhajis, golgappas, chaats are finger-lickin’ good, as are the melt-in-mouth galauti kababs, chicken rolls, biriyanis, chow-chows, and idiyapp­ams…Well, you can have them served by liveried waiters at gourmet restaurant. But that’s not the real McCoy. For many of us, they are not as tasty until sold from sidewalk-hogging dirigible carts, or small brick-and-mortar stalls—a fixture on city streets. That’s street food, a vibrant subculture populating our cities and towns, dishing out an inexpensive delectable fare, often greasy and spicy. Be it Delhi’s Chandni Chowk, Mumbai’s Khau Galli, Calcutta’s Dalhousie or Lucknow’s Hazratganj, every state has food hubs selling local cuisine. The carts add a sense of community, and give a peek at the microcosm of the city’s millions and its storied history. They are a repository of age-old food culture; they attract local foodies as well as tourists. They make good food accessible and inexpensive.

They don’t do any serious damage to wallets, but are sometimes indulgent on sanitation—a reason why authorities see hawkers as an illegal nuisance selling inferior foods sourced and prepared unhygienically. The street food business has grown exponentially. Hardworking city slickers are its main clientele. This flourishing trade has now attracted unskilled vendors, the majority of them illiterate or semi-literate, having no knowledge whatsoever about food safety. Unhealthy cooking practices, unhygienic handling of raw and cooked food, washing dishes in dirty water, and stinking surroundings because of rotting, leftover food are major deterrents.

Still, these are hopeful times; change is stirring on the woks of roadside stalls. The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has initiated a programme to certify select roadside food hubs across the nation as clean and safe after training the hawkers on personal hygiene (like using gloves and aprons, keeping fingernails trimmed, washing hands with soap before handling food every time, wearing a headgear, covering the mouth, avoiding touching the face, head, hair or any body part). “One of the most important aspects of this initiative is to train street food handlers on good hygiene practices and ensure food safety when meals are prepared and served,” says Pawan Agarwal, CEO of the FSSAI.

The guidelines don’t stop at hygiene training for vendors. The FSSAI also audits the food safety status of a hub (clean location, sanitation facilities, availability of potable water, pest control, waste disposal et al) before giving the certificate, which is valid for a year and renewable subsequently. Besides, 80 per cent or more of the vendors must sell local and regional cuisines.

Five such roads in Gujarat, two in Maharashtra and one each in Madhya Pradesh and Punjab have been already certified by the FSSAI as Clean Street Food Hub. Besides, over 30 food streets in over ten states, including Uttar Pradesh, Odisha, Haryana, Kerala, Gujarat, Karnataka and Goa, have been identified for certification.

AMRITSAR

People enjoy a veritable fare at Darbar Sahib.

In Delhi, 14 places have been identified—­including Chandni Chowk’s Paranthewali Gali, Zoological Park, Qutub Minar. But the certification process is yet to begin. “It’s a great initiative. I think this will make civic bodies ­responsible for keeping the area clean. I want this scheme to be started in Delhi as soon as possible,” says a food vendor in Paranthewali Gali. He admits that vendors are not aware of hygiene and food safety and often people complain about that. Another vendor, at the Sector 32 market in Gurgaon, says: “We are training and it is helpful. I never wore hand gloves and aprons before but now I do it. I tell my staff to keep themselves neat and clean, which makes a good impression on visitors.”

More than 10 million visit Kankaria Lake every year; the figure rose significantly after it earned the safety tag.

Under the project, state governments have to provide a list of food streets with an aggregation of at least 50 vendors that can be developed as clean hubs. In Tamil Nadu, a place selected for the certificate is Elliots Beach, Besantnagar, Chennai, where around 50 stalls sell fast food. Their numbers quadruple during annual weeklong Velankanni Church festival in September. Though the Chennai civic agency gives licences and regulates these eateries, inspection is often irregular and cursory. A crackdown happens only when there are reports of suspected food poisoning or photos of unhygienic conditions are splashed on media. With sales peaking during the fest, sanitation becomes the biggest casualty—oil on fry pans reused for the nth time, utensils washed in dirty water, leftovers discarded in the open, attracting flies and birds.

A similar scene unfurls every day in Khau Gali near Ram Mandir in Bhubaneswar. This is the go-to street for breakfast/lunch/dinner, or to simply buy a snack; popular among the hipsters but underrated by the gastronomic cognoscenti because of hygiene issues. Most eateries keep their foods, cooked and uncooked, in the open, exposing them to dust, air pollutants and parasites. Take, for instance, the top-selling panipuri or phuchka. The tangy, masala water is generally dirty. The cloths that the vendors use to wipe their hands are unfailingly shabby. Since they make the panipuris at home, the quality is suspect too. Authorities hope that the FSSAI project would help such hawkers—on Elliots Beach and in Bhubaneswar—get a shot to stay relevant in this takeaway and home delivery age.

MUMBAI

Juhu Chowpatty has always been a popular street food destination.

The food safety regulator has requested corporate houses to support the initiative with funds. Nestle footed the bill for training and auditing at Kankaria Lake food hub in Ahmedabad, the first certified Clean Street Food Hub in the country. Similarly, Nectar Group sponsored the food hub near Darbar Sahib, Amritsar. Companies like Hindustan Unilever and Jubilant FoodWorks have come forward too. According to reports, more than 10 million people visit Kankaria Lake every year and experts believe footfalls rose significantly since it earned the safety tag.

INDORE

Chappan Dukan is a certified street food hub now.

Paramvir Singh Deol, head of operations, the Food Safety Awareness and Training Organi­sation (FASTO), which trained vendors at Kan­karia Lake and Darbar Sahib, says: “I was excited to see vendors showing interest. The training involves half-a-day of classroom activities and two days of on-the-job exercise.” The cost of the entire exercise is Rs 3 lakh for each hub—the minimum­—and it can go up to Rs 10 lakh. Deol says the success of the project depends on the promptness of the state government, especially the food safety department and the municipal agency. “If I train the vendors, but garbage collection or cleaning of the area by municipal workers is not regular, the project will fail. So, it’s a collective responsibility.”

Categories: NEWS

Food Safety Department of Assam bans packaged drinking water ‘Bisleri’ in State

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Guwahati: The Food Safety Commissioner of the Assam Government had recently issued a notification to ban the packaged drinking mineral water ‘Bisleri‘ in Assam.

The ban has been carried out due to the presence of fluoride in the water which is considered harmful for the health.

The notification further states that according to section 3 (1) of the Food Safety Standards Act 2006, they have found a large amount of fluoride in the water of this brand which is harmful to health.

This notification was released by the Food Department on 12 September.

The report of the Food Department also states that the water of this brand was tested as per Regulation 2.10.8 of Food Safety and Standards in which an excessive amount of fluoride has been found.

It has also been said in the notification that the ban on this water will continue until the company provides pure drinking water.

Meanwhile, the Department has ordered GD Aqua located at Dolma Industrial Area in Bahata, Assam, to ban the water storage, distribution.

Section 3 in The Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006

It is to be noted that “food” means any substance, whether processed, partially processed or unprocessed, which is intended for human consumption and includes primary food, to the extent defined in clause (ZK) genetically modified or engineered food or food containing such ingredients, infant food, packaged drinking water, alcoholic drink, chewing gum, and any substance, including water used into the food during its manufacture, preparation or treatment but does not include any animal feed, live animals unless they are prepared or processed for placing on the market for human consumption, plants prior to harvesting, drugs and medicinal products, cosmetics, narcotic or psychotropic substances: Provided that the Central Government may declare, by notification in the Official Gazette, any other article as food for the purposes of this Act having regards to its use, nature, substance or quality.

Categories: NEWS