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Judgement Copy–Misbranding

24,July, 2017 Leave a comment
Categories: COURT ORDERS

Order regarding Ban on use of Staple Pins in tea bags. (Uploaded on: 24.07.2017)

24,July, 2017 Leave a comment

Order_Ban_Staple_Pin_Tea_Bag_24_07_2017

Categories: GO&NOTIFICATION

தடை செய்யப்பட்ட பொருட்கள் பறிமுதல்

24,July, 2017 Leave a comment

Categories: Ariyalur, DISTRICT-NEWS, NEWS

Harming the organic farming movement

24,July, 2017 Leave a comment
 

New Delhi The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has recently announced the Draft Food and Standards (Organic Food) Regulations, 2017, aimed at curbing sales of fake organic products. This regulation, when notified, will require that products sold in the domestic market as "organic" be certified by either of the two present certification systems: the National Programme for Organic Production (NPOP), initiated by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, or the Participatory Guarantee Scheme (PGS), led by the Ministry of Agriculture. The difference between the two: the NPOP was designed for the export market and involves third-party companies which verify organic status, while in PGS, a group of farmers work together and guarantee that everyone in the group is practising organic farming. The draft, however, exempts ‘unprocessed’ organic food sold directly by a farmer or a farmer organisation to the end consumer. In other words, this regulation is only applicable to ‘processed’ organic food and branded ‘unprocessed’ organic food sold by a company. But a closer analysis shows that it cannot curb sales of fake organic products; in fact, in my view, it might do more harm than good to the organic farming movement in the country.

The genesis

The demand for a regulation on organics itself is suspect, as it is led by the Crop Care Federation of India (CCFI), an association representing pesticide manufacturers and formulators! In December 2014, CCFI released a report, prepared by the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI), on pesticides in organic vegetables from Delhi. Interestingly, the IARI itself has not made this report public yet.

As per available information, the IARI tested 150 vegetable samples from one organic store in Delhi and found traces of pesticides in 50 samples; in 10 of these, the levels were above the maximum residue limit (MRL). The Altitude Store—the retailer from where samples were collected—identified a certified farm in Sonipat, Haryana as the source of the vegetables. The farm was certified by Ecocert, one of the largest NPOP certifiers.

To begin with, sampling from just one store and from one city is scientifically untenable. Secondly, finding small traces of pesticides in organic vegetables is not a surprise, simply because pesticides are present in our water and air, and will find their way into a produce even if the farmer is practising organic farming. This is why in many developed countries, a tolerance limit is prescribed for the presence of pesticides in organic products. Thirdly, the 10 samples in which levels exceeded the MRL were sourced from a certified farm. So, certification doesn’t seem to be an answer to curb sales of fake organic food.

The limits of the proposed rules

Let us accept that there are some fake organic products in the market. How big is this problem is difficult to ascertain till we have a comprehensive all-India study on this issue. Secondly, a fake organic product is not a case of safety, but that of ‘misbranding’ or ‘misleading advertisement’. Fake products are as safe or unsafe as any other products sold in the market. The question, therefore: Is certification required as per the Food Safety and Standards Act to tackle misbranding?

The FSSAI has a clear definition of and a penalty for misbranding of food and misleading advertisements. The penalty for misbranding is up to Rs 3 lakh; for misleading advertisement, up to Rs 1 million. Nowhere in the Act is it specified that to prevent misbranding or misleading advertisement, a product has to have mandatory certification.

So why this special favour for organic products, when certification is not required for other products, even the ones that are genetically modified?

So, how this regulation will impact farmers? To understand this, one has to understand the certification itself. Firstly, both NPOP and PGS are process-based certification systems. They look at the processes and practices of farming and food-processing; testing food for pesticide residues is a limited part of the scheme. NPOP obviously is far more expensive than PGS and therefore, preferred by big farmers, companies and exporters.

Under PGS, only the food processed by the PGS group of farmers themselves or their duly authorised federations can be labelled as ‘organic’. The problem is PGS groups are run by small farmers and there are hardly any PGS groups or federations that directly process organic produce. They, therefore, sell their produce to other processors for value addition.

Under NPOP, only the produce of a certified NPOP farm can be processed by a certified NPOP processor and sold as ‘organic’. The NPOP processor cannot take fresh produce from a PGS farmer, process it and sell it as ‘organic’. The implication of the draft regulation, therefore, is that it will make it rather difficult for small farmers, who are either PGS certified or non-certified, to sell their produce for value addition. They will be forced to sell fresh produce directly to consumers or get NPOP certification.

If a small farmer gets NPOP certification, it makes his product more expensive and hence, uncompetitive in the market. If he sells only fresh produce, his value addition is low. The draft regulations, therefore, will dissuade small farmers from practising organic farming. What it will certainly do is promote companies that do NPOP certification.

No special favours, please!

The Indian organic farming movement is witnessing a revival, largely led by small farmers. More people in the domestic market feel connected to the word ‘organic’ and have started buying it. All this has happened without any support from the government. In fact, in 2017-18, the outlay on organic farming is a mere Rs 350 crore under the governments flagship Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana; the annual subsidy for chemical fertilisers is over Rs 70,000 crore!

In a scenario where the government should be promoting more small farmers to take up organic farming, the FSSAI’s regulation is going to put a roadblock for them. The logic of certifying organic food itself is perverse. Instead of making laws that require mandatory labelling of foods grown with pesticides, chemicals or GMO, FSSAI is asking positive attribute of ‘organicity’ to be certified. If the FSSAI is so anxious about fake organic products, it should set standards and use its ‘misbranding’ provision to penalise them. Like it does for every other food product. This would be the right way ahead.

Categories: NEWS

Violations of Food Safety Actmushroom in Krishna district

24,July, 2017 Leave a comment
 

Vijayawada: The food safety department has booked over 255 cases in Krishna district for selling food products in violation of the Food Safety and Standards Act in the last year. Of these, 105 cases were booked for selling unsafe food products – an offence that is punishable by up to seven years in jail along with a fine of Rs 10 lakh.

Officials are about to launch prosecution proceedings in about 40 cases, it is learnt.

About 60 cases were slapped on fruit vendors for using carbide and other unsafe products to speed up the ripening of fruits. Though the usage of carbide to ripen mangoes was prohibited by the government, it is still being used heavily by wholesale fruit vendors. Apart from mangoes, carbide is being used to ripen oranges and papaya as well. Ethephon, a chemical used to regulate plant growth, is being used to ripen bananas.

Food safety officials have found a new type of product in the name of ethylene powder that was widely used across the state this season. Samples collected by sleuths of the food safety department were found to contain the ethylene powder, which was deemed to be unsafe.

Assistant controller of food safety, N Purnachandra Rao, said ethylene can only be available in liquid form. "We have booked cases against those who have used the unknown powder sachets that are mainly imported from China in the name of ethylene powder," he said.

In the case of grapes, excess amount of pesticide residue was found to be higher than permissible levels. Waxing apples to preserve them for a long period of time is also a rampant practice, said Purnachandra Rao. Though the use of bee wax is permitted, vendors are using wax derived from petroleum products which will lead to intestinal disorders, he said.

As many as 10 hotels, 10 sweet shops and six manufacturers of child food were booked for using prohibited colours. Pulses and oils were seized for having adulterated content. While the oils and ghee are being adulterated with vanaspati and palm oil, pulses are being coated with artificial colours to give them a shining appearance.

Fruits that are artificially ripened using carbide are overly soft, and are also inferior in taste and flavour. They also have a shorter shelf life. When carbide is used in very raw fruits, the amount of the chemical needed to ripen the fruit has to be increased. This results in the fruit becoming even more tasteless, unhealthy and possibly toxic.

Categories: NEWS

Sale of paan masala should be banned, suggest experts

24,July, 2017 Leave a comment
 

Pune: Doctors and experts have objected to the granting of permission for sale of flavoured supari or areca nut popularly known as paan masala.

In a statement, experts and medical practitioners claimed that the new notification allowing the sale of flavoured supari or areca nut issued by the FDA Maharashtra on July 17 has shocked public health experts and the medical fraternity.

"Studies by the World Health Organization and several other groups in the country have provided evidence that consuming paan masala leads to serious health hazards including mouth and throat cancer. All the research material have already been submitted to the FDA several times in the last five years. Our state is bound to become a laughing stock if the ban on paan masala is lifted," Pankaj Chaturvedi, representing the Tata Memorial Hospital, said.

Maharashtra was the first state to ban gutka and paan masala in July 2012. The prohibition was challenged by the gutka industry in the Bombay High Court but to no avail. The special powers granted by Food Safety Act to the food commissioner to ban a harmful substance for a maximum period of one year helped in enforcing the ban.

Successive FDA commissioners not only renewed the notification but also widened the scope of the ban to cover flavoured supari (without tobacco). But the ban was renewed each year by issuing a new notification.

Following the ban on gutka, paan masala gained popularity and is still being sold in the state. The marketing strategy targets nearly two crore smokeless tobacco users as potential consumers, the statement added.

On July 1, 2016, public health institutions petitioned chief minister Devendra Fadnavis to ban flavoured supari permanently.

The director (academics) of the Tata Memorial Hospital, Kailash Sharma, in his letter to Fadnavis said, "We sincerely urge you to continue the ban on flavoured chewing tobacco and flavoured supari (paan masala) permanently to save our future generation. Currently, the ban is applicable for only one year and it has to be renewed annually."

Categories: NEWS

டெங்கு விழிப்புணர்வு முகாம்

24,July, 2017 Leave a comment

Categories: Chennai, DISTRICT-NEWS

கண்டு கொள்ளாத அதிகாரிகள்

24,July, 2017 Leave a comment

Categories: DISTRICT-NEWS, Karur, NEWS

காயிதே மில்லத் கல்லுரி மாணவிகள் வாந்தி மயக்கம்

24,July, 2017 Leave a comment

Categories: NEWS