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Archive for 19,November, 2020

Direct and Indirect Food Additives

19,November, 2020 Comments off

For centuries, ingredients have served useful functions in a variety of foods. Our ancestors used salt to preserve meats and fish, added herbs and spices to improve the flavour of foods, preserved fruit with sugar, and pickled cucumbers in a vinegar solution. Today, consumers demand and enjoy a food supply that is flavourful, nutritious, safe, convenient, colourful and affordable. Food additives and advances in technology help make that possible.
There are thousands of ingredients used to make foods. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) maintains a list of over 3000 ingredients in its data base "Everything Added to Food," many of which we use at home every day (e.g., sugar, baking soda, salt, vanilla, yeast, spices and colours).
Still, some consumers have concerns about additives because they may see the long, unfamiliar names and think of them as complex chemical compounds. In fact, every food we eat – whether a just-picked strawberry or a homemade cookie – is made up of chemical compounds that determine flavour, colour, texture and nutrient value. All food additives are carefully regulated by federal authorities and various international organisations to ensure that foods are safe to eat and are accurately labeled.
Additives perform a variety of useful functions in foods that consumers often take for granted. Some additives could be eliminated if we were willing to grow our own food, harvest and grind it, spend many hours cooking and canning, or accept increased risks of food spoilage. But most consumers today rely on the many technological, aesthetic and convenient benefits that additives provide.
Following are some reasons why ingredients are added to foods:
To Maintain or Improve Safety and Freshness: Preservatives slow product spoilage caused by mold, air, bacteria, fungi or yeast. In addition to maintaining the quality of the food, they help control contamination that can cause foodborne illness, including life-threatening botulism. One group of preservatives — antioxidants — prevents fats and oils and the foods containing them from becoming rancid or developing an off-flavor. They also prevent cut fresh fruits such as apples from turning brown when exposed to air.
To Improve or Maintain Nutritional Value: Vitamins and minerals (and fiber) are added to many foods to make up for those lacking in a person’s diet or lost in processing, or to enhance the nutritional quality of a food. Such fortification and enrichment has helped reduce malnutrition in the U.S. and worldwide. All products containing added nutrients must be appropriately labeled.
Improve Taste, Texture and Appearance: Spices, natural and artificial flavours, and sweeteners are added to enhance the taste of food. Food colours maintain or improve appearance. Emulsifiers, stabilizers and thickeners give foods the texture and consistency consumers expect. Leavening agents allow baked goods to rise during baking. Some additives help control the acidity and alkalinity of foods, while other ingredients help maintain the taste and appeal of foods with reduced fat content.
In its broadest sense, a food additive is any substance added to food. Legally, the term refers to, "Any substance the intended use of which results or may reasonably be expected to result — directly or indirectly — in its becoming a component or otherwise affecting the characteristics of any food." This definition includes any substance used in the production, processing, treatment, packaging, transportation or storage of food. The purpose of the legal definition, however, is to impose a premarket approval requirement. Therefore, this definition excludes ingredients whose use is generally recognised as safe (where government approval is not needed), those ingredients approved for use by FDA prior to the food additives provisions of law, and colour additives and pesticides where other legal premarket approval requirements apply.
Direct food additives are those that are added to a food for a specific purpose in that food. For example, xanthan gum — used in salad dressings, chocolate milk, bakery fillings, puddings and other foods to add texture — is a direct additive. Most direct additives are identified on the ingredient label of foods. Indirect food additives are those that become part of the food in trace amounts due to its packaging, storage or other handling. For instance, minute amounts of packaging substances may find their way into foods during storage. Food packaging manufacturers must prove to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that all materials coming in contact with food are safe before they are permitted for use in such a manner.
A colour additive is any dye, pigment or substance which when added or applied to a food, drug or cosmetic, or to the human body, is capable (alone or through reactions with other substances) of imparting colour. FDA is responsible for regulating all colour additives to ensure that foods containing colour additives are safe to eat, contain only approved ingredients and are accurately labeled.
Today, food additives are more strictly studied, regulated and monitored than at any other time in history. FDA has the primary legal responsibility for determining their safe use. To market a new food additive (or before using an additive already approved for one use in another manner not yet approved), a manufacturer or other sponsor must first petition FDA for its approval. These petitions must provide evidence that the substance is safe for the ways in which it will be used. As a result of recent legislation, since 1999, indirect additives have been approved via a premarket notification process requiring the same data as was previously required by petition.
When evaluating the safety of a substance and whether it should be approved, FDA considers:
1) the composition and properties of the substance,
2) the amount that would typically be consumed,
3) immediate and long-term health effects, and
4) various safety factors. The evaluation determines an appropriate level of use that includes a built-in safety margin – a factor that allows for uncertainty about the levels of consumption that are expected to be harmless. In other words, the levels of use that gain approval are much lower than what would be expected to have any adverse effect.
Food ingredients have been used for many years to preserve, flavour, blend, thicken and colour foods, and have played an important role in reducing serious nutritional deficiencies among consumers. These ingredients also help ensure the availability of flavourful, nutritious, safe, convenient, colourful and affordable foods that meet consumer expectations year-round. Food additives are strictly studied, regulated and monitored. Furthermore, all additives are subject to ongoing safety review as scientific understanding and methods of testing continue to improve. consumers should feel safe about the foods they eat.
(The author is owned of Mondo Fine Dine. He can be reached at sagar@nevehospitality.com)

Categories: NEWS

Certified colours and colours exempt from certification

19,November, 2020 Comments off

The Substances added to food inventory replaces what was previously known as ‘Everything Added to Foods in the United States’ (EAFUS). The substances added to food inventory includes the following types of ingredients regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA):

•    Food additives and colour additives that are listed in FDA regulations (21 CFR Parts 172, 173 and Parts 73, 74 respectively), and flavouring substances evaluated by FEMA* and JECFA*.
•    Generally Recognised as Safe ("GRAS") substances that are listed in FDA regulations (21 CFR Parts 182 and 184).
•    Substances approved for specific uses in foods prior to 6 September, 1958, known as prior-sanctioned substances (21 CFR Part 181).
•    Substances formerly used:
1.    Prohibited substances that are listed in FDA regulations (21 CFR Part 189) as prohibited from use in food (labeled as ‘Prohibited’ or ‘Prohibited with Exceptions’).
2.    Delisted colour additives in FDA regulations (21 CFR 81.10 and/or 81.30) (labelled as ‘’Delisted’).
3.    Some substances ‘no longer Fema Gras."
It is important to note that the inventory is only a partial list of food ingredients. Inclusion in this inventory of information from non-FDA entities does not indicate an FDA approval or evaluation of this use.

A colour additive is any substance that imparts colour to a food, drug, cosmetic or to the human body. Colour additives include both synthetic substances and substances derived from natural sources. Colour additives may be used in food to enhance natural colours, add colour to colourless and ‘fun’ foods such as cake decorations, and help identify flavours (such as purple for grape flavour or yellow for lemon). Colour additives are sometimes called food dyes.

Colour additives are safe when they are used in accordance with food regulations. When the regulation approves the use of a colour additive in food, it specify:
•    The types of foods in which it can be used,
•    Any maximum amounts allowed to be used, and
•    How the colour additive should be identified on the food label.
Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act requires all colour additives and new uses for listed colour additives must be approved by the FDA before they may be used in foods. When evaluating the safety of a new colour additive or a new use for a listed color additive, the FDA considers several factors. These include the short and long-term effects of consumption, composition and properties, manufacturing process, stability, likely amount of consumption and exposure, and the availability of analytical methods for determining its purity and the amount in food.
Synthetic colour additives, also known as certified colours, are required to undergo batch certification, a process in which the FDA analyses a representative sample of each batch of the colour additive to ensure it meets the required identity and specifications before it can be used. Prior to certifying a batch, the FDA analyses the chemical composition.
FDA-regulated products must comply with the colour additive regulations; otherwise they are adulterated and/or misbranded. Colour additive violations are common reasons for warning letters and import detentions.
Colour additives are required to be pre-approved by FDA and listed in the colour additive regulations before they may be used in food, drugs, cosmetics, and medical devices. Each colour additive is permitted only for the intended use stated in its listing regulation. Some are also subject to the FDA certification process.
Colour Additives Approved for Use in Human Food are included in the:
a.    Part 73, Subpart A: Colour additives exempt from batch certification
b.    Part 74, Subpart A: Colour additives subject to batch certification
There are nine certified colour additives approved by the FDA for use in food:
•    FD&C Blue No. 1 – Confections, beverages, cereals, frozen dairy desserts, popsicles, frostings and icings
•    FD&C Blue No. 2 – Baked goods, cereals, snack foods, ice cream, confections, and yogurt
•    FD&C Green No. 3 – Cereal, ice cream, sherbet, drink mixers, and baked goods
•    Orange B – Only approved for use in hot dog and sausage casings
•    Citrus Red No. 2 – Only approved for use to colour orange peels
•    FD&C Red No. 3 – Confections, beverages, cereals, ice cream cones, frozen dairy desserts, popsicles, frostings and icings
•    FD&C Red No. 40 – Cereal, beverages, gelatins, puddings, dairy products, and confections
•    FD&C Yellow No. 5 – Confections, cereals, snack foods, beverages, condiments, baked goods, and yogurt
•    FD&C Yellow No. 6 – Cereals, snack foods, baked goods, gelatins, beverages, dessert powders, crackers, and sauces
Certified colour additives are synthetic colourings that are used widely for intense, uniform colour, and because they blend easily to create a variety of hues. These additives are classified as certified because they are required to undergo certification every time a new batch is manufactured.
The FDA requires food manufacturers to list all ingredients on the label, with the ingredients used in the greatest amount first, followed in descending order by those in smaller amounts. The label must list the names of any FDA-certified color additive (e.g., FD&C Blue No. 1 or the abbreviated name, Blue 1). With the exception of carmine/cochineal extract, colour additives exempt from certification can be listed collectively as ‘artificial colours’, ‘artificial colour added’, ‘colour added’, or equally informative terms, without naming each one. Due to potential allergic reactions in some people, carmine/cochineal extract are required to be identified by name on food labels.
Exempt colours include pigments from natural sources such as vegetables, minerals, or animals. Examples include annatto extract (yellow), dehydrated beets (bluish-red to brown), caramel (yellow to tan), beta-carotene (yellow to orange) and grape skin extract (red, green). Although exempt colour additives are not subject to batch certification requirements, they are still colour additives and FDA must approve them before they can be used in foods.
Following Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) addresses the various provisions for colour additives which are important for food businesses to understand and comply:
21 CFR Part 70 – Color Additives – These regulations address general provisions for colour additives, their packaging and labeling requirements, and the fees for filing a colour additive petition to list a new colour additive or a new use for a listed colour additive.
21 CFR Part 71 – Colour Additive Petitions – These regulations describe how to submit a colour additive petition to FDA as well as the information FDA requires in order to evaluate the petition.
21 CFR Part 73 – Listing of Colour Additives Exempt from Certification – These regulations list the FDA-approved colour additives that are exempt from FDA’s certification process. The regulations state the permitted uses, specifications, and restrictions that apply to each of these colour additives.
21 CFR Part 74 – Listing of Colour Additives Subject to Certification – These regulations list the FDA-approved colour additives that are subject to FDA’s certification process. The regulations state the permitted uses, specifications, and restrictions that apply to each of these colour additives.
21 CFR Part 80 – Colour Additive Certification – These regulations state the fees for colour additive certification and describe the certification procedures and requirements.
21 CFR Part 81 – General Specifications and General Restrictions for Provisional Colour Additives for Use in Foods, Drugs, and Cosmetics – These regulations include the provisional lists of colour additives and the colour additives whose provisional listings have been terminated.

21 CFR Part 82 – Listing of Certified Provisionally Listed Colours and Specifications – These regulations list the provisionally listed colour additive lakes, which are subject to FDA’s certification process. The regulations state the permitted uses, specifications, and restrictions that apply to each of these colour additives. (All colour additives were provisionally listed in response to the 1960 colour additive amendments to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. Only lakes, which are insoluble pigments formed from color additives listed in 21 CFR part 74, remain provisionally listed.

Once a new colour additive is listed, FDA continually monitors its safe use, assuring the consideration of new data and safety information. Historically, this activity has resulted in regulatory changes for colour additives that were necessary to protect the public health.
(Indani is Head and Food Safety-Regulatory Advisor-Trainer and Shah is a Food safety Advisor-trainer at Safefoodz Solutions, Mumbai. They can be contacted at safefoodz@gmail.com )

Categories: NEWS

How safe is the use of Saccharin and Aspartame in diet drinks?

19,November, 2020 Comments off

 

With diets like Keto gaining massive popularity, the usage of artificial sweeteners seems to be on the rise. To get the sweetness without the additional calories or spike in blood sugar seems like a solution too easy to ignore, especially for the calorie conscious market or people trying to lose weight. However there has to be more to the story when these sugar free alternatives have been linked to cancer or the very cause that they are supposed to avoid – obesity.
Before we get started on the studies and conclusive or inconclusive evidence , let’s look at the origins. Saccharin was discovered by Constatin Fahlberg in 1879, when he was working on coal tar derivatives. Despite having an unpleasant metallic aftertaste it grew in popularity during World War I and II due to sugar rationing. This sweetener is made in the lab and cannot be broken down by the human body. Its origins have always been controversial, from being linked to cancer when studies were carried out in rats to other health issues. So much so that it was banned in the US in the 1970’s. Ever since then it has been unbanned and is legally back in our beverages and food products.  
Aspartame on the other hand came into massive popularity when the issues with saccharin were at its peak. With all the controversies associated with saccharine most of the diet drinks manufacturers moved to aspartame in the 1980’s and continue to use it even now. More well known as NutraSweet and Equal, aspartame a patented sweetener is made by cultivating genetically modified e Coli in tanks and collecting their faeces which contain the chemicals needed to make aspartame.  
Even if we can turn a blind eye to the origins of the artificial sweeteners, which is difficult with images of e Coli faeces and coal tar, and the unresolved evidence of harmful or safe for human consumption as per the government and corporate lobbying and capitalist nature of multibillion dollar industries, there are not enough studies or known impacts of these chemicals on human health. And this by just looking at factors which are directly associated with them. The important point to remember is both aspartame and saccharin are chemicals, derived in factories, commercially extremely profitable and non-nutritive. As per Dr David Ludwig, an obesity and weight-loss specialist at Harvard-affiliated Boston Children’s Hospital, they have the ability to change the way we taste food. People who regularly use artificial sweeteners may start to find fruit, less appealing and unsweet foods, such as vegetables, downright unpalatable. Research suggests that consistent consumption of these sweeteners may also prevent us from associating sweetness with caloric intake, making us crave more sweets and choosing sweet food over nutritious food. And that is not all, there is research to prove that artificial sweeteners can be as addictive if not more than cocaine. In studies of rats who were exposed to cocaine, then given a choice between intravenous cocaine or oral saccharine, most chose saccharin.  
While there are studies that show use of artificial sweeteners have no negative or conclusively negative impact on human health a lot of benefits are generally observed by reducing processed sugar from the diet. In the Multiethnic Study of Atherosclerosis, daily consumption of diet drinks was associated with a 36 per cent greater risk for metabolic syndrome and a 67 per cent increased risk for type 2 diabetes. These are pretty much the diseases that these sweeteners were supposed to avoid and seems like they are more the cause in the modern world rather than an aid in preventing them.  
All of this brings us to question, what problem are we trying to solve? Is it a human problem where we cannot control how much sugar we are consuming ? Or a problem of a developed world, where food manufacturing has grown leaps and bounds by adding sugar to most of the products on offer, getting us addicted to the processed food offering and artificial sweeteners just seems to be a way of extending that addiction for as long as possible under the pretext of health. Jaggery, raw cane sugar, molasses, honey are all natural forms of sugar, with origins that we all understand and are comfortable with. They have nutrients and centuries of data on the positive impact on human health. Before shunning them in favor of chemicals, we should take a minute to think about what the problem is that we are trying to solve. Very few things in life are free, and when we hear the word Sugar free a little thought and consideration needs to be given before consumption in our or our family’s bodies.
(The author is co-founder and CEO of Third Culture)

Categories: NEWS

FSSAI re-operationalises regulations on formaldehyde in fish

19,November, 2020 Comments off

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has issued an order to re-operationalise the regulations on standards prescribing the limits of naturally occurring formaldehyde in freshwater and marine fish.
According to the FSSAI, the process of notifying the draft regulations is taking some time and also in the meantime the food authority reviewed the list of the fish species and incorporated other species of fish in the list.
The regulations were re-operationalised with immediate effect and food businesses were asked to comply with the regulations.
The regulations were called FSS – Food Products Standards and Food Additives-Amendment Regulations 2020 and were first operationalised in February this year and operationalised subsequently in September.
The regulations specify the limit of naturally occurring formaldehyde in freshwater and marine fish and also hygienic conditions to be followed while handling, processing, manufacturing, packing, storing, distribution and transporting and retail of fish and fish products.
The marine fish were divided into two categories Group 1 have 7 fish species, one more than previous list and the formaldehyde limit is set at 8mg per kg max, Group 2 have 28 fish species against 22 in previous list wherein the limit of formaldehyde is set at 4mg per kg max.
The third category is Group III having names of freshwater fish species including all major exotic and minor carps, all other freshwater fishes, catfishes, crustaceans and molluscs. The limit of formaldehyde for this category is set at 4mg/kg max.
The FSSAI has also added that the limits were subjected to revision on the basis of data collected over different seasons and geographical locations.
“Upon analysis and recommendations by the scientific panel, the limit can be reviewed,” said an official with the FSSAI while adding that for fish and fish products of marine origin other than those mentioned in the table at Group I and II, the limit of naturally occurring formaldehyde shall not be more than 100ppm.

Categories: NEWS

FSSAI directs port officers to expedite import clearance of pulses

19,November, 2020 Comments off

 

The Food Safety and Standards Authority Of India (FSSAI) has written to its authorised officers at the ports of entries to facilitate the import clearance of pulses on priority basis.
The apex food regulator has issued an order in this regard as well directing the officers to expedite the clearance of the pulses. The ports of entries where imports are expected to arrive in large volumes include JNPT Mumbai, Chennai, and Mundra Port.
“The authorised officers are hereby directed to facilitate and carry out food import clearance process on priority without delay for the consignments of imported pulses,” the order reads and added that the importer of pulses may carry out advance filing of Bills of Entries in Food Clearance System of FSSAI.
The Department of Consumer Affairs-(DoCA) has sought help from the FSSAI for speedy clearance of the imported pulses, in view of the rising trend in prices of the pulses. The measures are being taken to maintain and augment the availability of the pulses in the country.
It is pertinent to mention here that last month, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Maharashtra, Bihar and Tamil Nadu had placed requirement for over 1Lakh MT of Tur under retail intervention scheme of price moderation of pulses and subsequently the DoCA had decided to release 40,000 MT of Tur from the buffer stock in open market sale.
According to the DoCA as on October 12, the all-India average retail price of Tur and Urad was observed to have increased by 23.71 per cent and 39.10 per cent respectively, over last year. Several consuming centers of these pulses have recorded an increase of over 20 per cent during the past 15 days.

Categories: NEWS

Food safety dept gets 2,300 home biz requests

19,November, 2020 Comments off
 

For many, the lockdown was an opportunity to discover their entrepreneurial skills.

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: For many, the lockdown was an opportunity to discover their entrepreneurial skills. Homemakers, students and those who lost their jobs in the initial phases of the pandemic set up home-based food businesses. According to the officials of the Commissionerate of Food Safety, they received 2,300 applications from the capital city itself for starting home-based food and fresh fish businesses.

However, associations of other food business operators have raised a complaint with the Commissionerate urging them to take action against those who started the ventures without obtaining the mandatory licence or registration. Following this, the Commissionerate was flooded with applications for registration.Assistant food safety commissioner, Thiruvananthapuram, Alex K stressed that registration is mandatory for those running home-based food businesses.

“Fines are collected based on their volume of business. While we encourage young entrepreneurs to venture into the food business, action will be taken if we receive complaints,” said Alex. Food safety authorities will provide Food Safety Training and Certification to home-based chefs. The certificate will ensure the chefs maintain the food safety standards mandated by FSSAI(Food Safety and Standards Authority of India).

According to city-based home chef Najiya Irshad, the authorities should focus on creating awareness among those venturing into the food business. “A majority are unaware that a licence or registration is mandatory. Often there are negative campaigns on social media which affect home-based chefs. We should be more organised and the authorities should keep track of malpractices in the food industry,” she said.

Categories: NEWS