Food is key vehicle in transmission of communicable diseases, which is why it should be safe in nature, in processing, in storage, in packaging as well as in retail premises where it is sold. It should be free from toxins and contaminants which may prove to be potential health hazards. It may be observed that in retail premises, often, food articles like sugar, pulses, rice, wheat, and maize are kept open and is handled by unskilled laborers unaware about the type of contaminants that can cause health hazards for consumers.
The sources of contaminants, how they contaminate and what are their impacts are detailed below for the benefit of the common consumers:
Food handling in retail premises
Food comes in contact with human hands during, transportation, storage and selling. It is very important that people handling food items are free from any communicable diseases like cold, respiratory ailments, and cuts and boils, which could be transferred to open food items, thereby spreading the infection to persons or consumers consuming the food article. Human hair, nasal discharge, and skin can also be source of microorganisms. A number of gastrointestinal disorders, such as diarrhoea, cholera and communicable diseases such as typhoid, septic sore throat, diphtheria, and dysentery are communicated by use of contaminated food articles.
Shopkeeper and food handler
It is the responsibility of the shopkeeper and the engaged labourers in outbreak of food poisoning due to contaminants emanating from various external agents as also food handlers themselves. Due to paucity of space, most of the food articles are transferred to storage and kept without proper coverage where proper hygienic system is not followed. As a result, there is every possibility of transmission of diseases like amoebic dysentery, bacillary dysentery, typhoid and paratyphoid fevers, viral hepatitis, staphylococcal and streptococcal infections, salmonellosis3 and so on.
Contamination by rodents
Rodents are a pest group which can contaminate open food items and are a serious threat to humans for spreading diseases. Rodents include mice, rats and bandicoots. The accumulation of faeces from mice and rats spread bacteria, contaminate open food articles and trigger allergic reactions in humans. Once the faecal matter becomes dry, it can be hazardous to those who breathe it in. Moreover, people are infected through inhalation of infected rodent urine, droppings or saliva in food articles kept open. Hantavirus 4 is a potentially life threatening disease transmitted by rodents.
Contamination by insects
(i) House Fly: One of the most common insects is the housefly. These have minute hair on their legs and thus carry various types of bacteria, viruses, and germs. Normally, in markets these flies are found everywhere and sit on open food articles like sugar and other food articles made of sugar which cannot be cleaned. It has also been observed that flies of both sexes feed on all kinds of human food, garbage and excreta, including sweat and animal dung. The fly picks up disease causing organisms while moving and feeding and transmits it when it makes contact with people and their food. The diseases that flies can transmit are dysentery, diarrhoea, typhoid, cholera, jaundice, poliomyelitis and also certain helminth infections and poliomyelitis. They contaminate open food by carrying/spreading the germs, parasite and bacterium of all the above diseases that are infectious to humans. It is also possible that they may carry faecal matter or from other such sources of pathogenic bacteria and deposit it on the open food articles which contaminate food articles and cause serious damage to human beings. According to study report by a scientist of Kansas State University, fly can contaminate food by E. faecalis, a bacterium that is resistant to antibiotics and causes the majority of intestinal infections. II) Cockroaches: According to a University of Nebraska Lincoln (UNL) publication, cockroaches have been found to be the cause of Salmonella food contamination or food poisoning that can be life threatening noting that other pathogenic bacterium, includes staphylococcus, streptococcus and coliforms, have been found in cockroaches. Cockroaches can contaminate food products by spreading 33 different kinds of bacteria 7 as reported by NPMA vice-president of public affairs. According to a report by World Health Organisation (WHO), cockroach can play a role as carriers of intestinal diseases such as diarrhoea, dysentery, typhoid and cholera and are very fond of sugar and starchy sugary material. Normally, in retail shops the sugars as also materials made of sugar are not properly covered and kept closed inside the shop after the market hours. Cockroaches can contaminate open food articles like sugar and starchy sugary materials as they are carriers of the organisms causing diarrhoea, dysentery, cholera, leprosy, plague, typhoid fever, and viral diseases such as poliomyelitis. In addition, they carry the eggs of parasitic worms and may cause allergic reactions, including dermatitis, itching, swelling of the eyelids and more seriously respiratory conditions.
Possible contaminants in jute sacks
Normally sugars, pulses, rice, and wheat are packed in jute sacks. The contaminant in jute sacks is jute batching oil (JBO) used in the jute industry to make the jute fibre. There are two varieties of JBO generally used in jute industries in India; the first one is called JBO having lower viscosity and lower boiling point and the second one called JBO (P), with comparatively higher viscosity and higher boiling point ( Mahapatra-1977). So far there have been a very limited number of experimental studies on the toxic effect of JBO. Roe et al. 1967 have described the carcinogenic effect of mineral oil used in the processing of jute fibres on mouse skin and showed the presence of benzo (a) pyrene (BaP) in the tested oil in traces. A study conducted by Mehrotra and Saxena 1979 has indicated the carcinogenic effect of JBO (C) on albino mice.
It is an established fact that unhygienic food processing and improper packaging can create hazards like salmonella, microbes, endotoxins, migration of toxins from packing material, adhesive & inks and so on and can render the food unfit for human consumption. Other contaminants due to packaging could be physical and chemical changes, migration of chemicals, off flavours, colour and texture change, moisture and oxygen transfer and the effects of light and temperature changes on account of lack of proper barrier properties of packing materials.
All these contaminants found in loose food products are there due to unhygienic food handling. Rodents also cause contamination of food and food products by droppings as also accumulating faeces and faecal matters and making urine in food and food products. House flies contaminate loose food products by spreading germs, parasites and bacterium. Cockroaches can contaminate food by spreading 33 types of bacteria in food and food products. Jute batching oil is another contaminant used in jute processing which has carcinogenic effect as reported by Mehrotra and Saxena.
Given the above argument it is extremely important that we purchase food items that are well packaged and sealed to ensure they are free of toxins and contamination.
சேத்தியாத்தோப்பு: சேத்தியாத்தோப்பில் உள்ள கடைகளில் மாவட்ட உணவு பாதுகாப்பு அதிகாரி ராஜா ஆய்வு மேற்கொண்டார். ஆய்வின் போது டீ கடைகளில் காகித கப்புகளை அப்புறப்படுத்தாமல் இருந்ததைப் பார்த்து கடை உரிமையாளர்களிடம் அகற்றும்படி அறிவுறுத்தினார். காலாவதியான குளிர்பானங்கள் மற்றும் உணவு பொருட்களை விற்றால் கடும் நடவடிக்கை எடுக்கப்படும் என எச்சரித்தார். மேலும் 20 தினங்களுக்கு ஒருமுறை பொருட்களை வியாபாரிகளே ஆய்வு செய்ய வேண்டும் என ஆலோசனை வழங்கினார். புவனகிரி வட்டார உணவு பாதுகாப்பு அலுவலர் குணசேகரன், சுப்ரமணியன் உடனிருந்தனர்.
The ‘Festival of Colors’ is knocking at our door. Holi is celebrated with much fervor and fanfare in northern India. No celebration is complete without sweets, and Holi is no exception. But while Holi is a time for merriment, we should also be alert about what we eat. Delicacies like Gujia, Thandai, Lavang Latika and Khoya Burfi are all synonymous with the festival.
Gujiya, a sweet dumpling made with suji or maida is stuffed with khoya. Sometimes, kesar(saffron) is added to enhance the yellow color of the sweet. But since kesar is very expensive, chances are kesar Gujia will only be available at reliable outlets selling branded products, otherwise chances of adulteration are quite high. While buying branded products, check the batch number, manufacture date, expiry date, food license number, as well as ISI or AGMARK certifications on the packaging. Also, make sure that the packaging has not been tampered with.
Paneer, khoya and milk are generally adulterated with starch which is used to give a thick, rich texture to sweets. To check for the presence of starch mixed with khoya, take a small sample and mix it with water and bring to the boil. Allow it to cool and add two drops of iodine in the solution. If the solution turns blue, then it has been adulterated with starch.
Thandai, a milk based summer drink is synonymous with Holi. An exotic mix of spices, nuts and full fat milk go into the making of this cooling summer drink, which is traditionally mixed with bhang during Holi. The popularity of this drink lies in its recipe, which includes a number of ingredients that can be subject to adulteration, particularly during Holi, when the demand increases. Synthetic artificial colors and flavors are also used in such drinks, which may not be allowed under the food safety regulations due to their harmful effects. Therefore, it is advisable to buy the ingredients fresh from a reliable retailer and prepare this traditional drink at home.
In order to reduce the cost of production of sweets and give them a finer appearance without putting in extra capital, unscrupulous sweet merchants put in unhealthy add-ons to serve their purpose. These chemicals could be used to enhance color, texture or taste. Always taste or smell the sweets before buying in bulk. Stale products emit a musty smell and taste slightly sour. Before purchasing sweets, you should also make sure that the shopkeeper is trustworthy.
The larger public is not optimally aware about adulteration and the ways in which items of consumption are laced with harmful additives. In fact, most people are unaware that a law prohibiting adulteration actually exists. The Food Safety and Standards Act (2006) safeguards the consumer against misbranded food, sub-standard food and food containing extraneous matter by keeping provision of penalties. If a food product is found unsafe then the food business operator may be levied with a maximum fine of Rs. 10 lakhs along with an imprisonment which may extend even up to a life-term.
It is also important for the consumers to see the hygiene standards of the sweet shop while buying sweets to check if cleanliness is being maintained and whether food handlers are following basic personal hygiene standards. Look out for the following:
Are food handlers wearing clean clothes?
Are they wearing gloves while packing sweets from the counter?
Are they chewing or smoking tobacco?
Are they touching their mouth, nose, eyes or other body parts?
Are they spitting, sneezing, or coughing near food?
Are they handling food and money simultaneously?
At the end of the day, it is up to you to save yourself and your family from becoming victims of food adulteration. Just follow these tips and celebrate a safe and happy Holi
Nagpur: Amway Enterprises Pvt Ltd has sought some more time from the state Food and Drugs Administration (FDA-food section) to put forth its side before the administration, in response to the show cause notice issued by FDA on February 21 on recall of certain products. FDA has agreed to give the company some time and discuss the issue with Amway officials.
The need for the recall arose when the Food Safety and Standards of India (FSSAI) warned the company at national level to withdraw six of its products as they did not meet the FSSAI specifications. Following this the state FDA sent a letter to various cities in Maharashtra to recall these products. But in Nagpur, despite a recall notice of seven days, FDA found two of the products in two different inspections at the company’s warehouse in Wadi and a showroom in Eternity mall on January 30 and February 27 (almost after a month).
Assistant commissioner FDA (food) NR Wakode told TOI that in the first inspection at Eternity mall by food safety officer PA Umap, Nutrilite Natural B 100 tablets (batch num 4363BK52 manufactured 12/14) and 160 Nutrilite Cal mag-D tablets (batch no 4365BLA1 manufactured 12/12/14) were found while in the second inspection conducted after the recall notice on February 27, a stock of 480 Cal Mag-D tablets and 120 Natural B tablets were found.
However, Amway has submitted that it will not be selling any of these products, even if the findings were true. Also the company has sent a list of 403 persons (probably of clients who are members of the chain marketing system) who have recalled these two products. "We trust the company and will wait for an adjudication till we discuss the issue on one to one basis," said Wakode.
After an earlier news by TOI dated February 2, Jignesh Mehta, regional corporate communications and CSR manager (west) Amway India Limited at Mumbai had clarified that the company had already withdrawn BIO C from the market. He had claimed that the current recommended dose of Indians was much lower as compared to WHO norms. Hence the company was selling the Cal mag-D and Natural B products with lower dose and changed labels. "However, this is also illegal until FSSA has given it a product approval," said Wakode.
On Wednesday Mehta in a statement sent to TOI said, "We are a law abiding corporate and are complying with the advice of the state FDA authority. We have given a detailed written response to the FDA’s notice and have also sought a personal meeting to explain our stand."
திண்டிவனம்: திண்டிவனம் பகுதி ஓட்டல்களில் உணவு பாதுகாப்பு அலுவலர்கள் திடீர் ஆய்வு மேற்கொண்டனர். திண்டிவனம் பகுதியில் மாவட்ட உணவு பாதுகாப்பு நியமன அலுவலர் டாக்டர் ஆறுமுகம் தலைமையில், அலுவலர்கள் முருகன், மோகன், சாமரேசன், பாரதி பன்னீர்செல்வம் ஆகியோர் ஓட்டல்கள், மளிகை கடைகளில் ஆய்வு செய்தனர். மயிலம் ரோட்டில் டீ கடையில் கலப்பட டீ தூள் பயன்படுத்தியது தெரியவந்தது. மேம்பாலம் அருகே உள்ள ஓட்டல்களில் சுகாதாரமற்ற முறையில் உணவுகள் தயாரித்தது தெரிந்தது. சுகாதாரமான முறையில் உணவுகள் வழங்க ஊழியர்களிடம் அதிகாரிகள் அறிவுறுத்தினர்.
நத்தம் பகுதியில் அரசு அனுமதி இல்லாமல் செயல்பட்டு வந்த 4 மினரல் வாட்டர் கம்பெனிகளை அரசு அதிகாரிகள் பூட்டி சீல் வைத்தனர்
திண்டுக்கல் மாவட்டம் நத்தம் பகுதிகளில் கடந்த சில நாட்களாக போலி மினரல் வாட்டர் கம்பெனிகள் அதிக அளவில் இருப்பதாகவும், இக்கம்பெனிகள் அரசு அனுமதி பெறாமல் கம்பெனிகள் இயங்கி வருவதாகவும், சுகாதாரமற்ற முறையில் தண்ணீர்கள் தயாரித்து விற்பனை செய்வதாகவும், உணவு பாதுகாப்பு மற்றும் மருந்து நிர்வாகத்துறை மாவட்ட நியமன அலுவலர் சாம் இளங்கோ, மதியரசு, தலைமையில் அதிகாரிகள் நத்தம் பகுதியில் உள்ள நத்தம், அய்யனார்புரம், கோவில்பட்டி உள்ளிட்ட இடங்களில் உள்ள மினரல் வாட்டர் கம்பெனிகளில் திடீர் சோதனை நடத்தினர். இச்சோதனையில் அரசு அனுமதி பெறாமல் மினரல் வாட்டர் தயாரித்து விற்பனை செய்து வந்தது தெரியவந்தது. அந்த நிறுவனங்களை அரசு அதிகாரிகள் பூட்டி சீல் வைத்தனர். மேலும் சாணார்பட்டி பகுதிகளில் அரசு அனுமதி இல்லாமல் செயல்பட்டு வரும் மினரல் வாட்டர் கம்பெனிகள் மீது நடவடிக்கை எடுக்கப்போவதாகவும் அதிகாரிகள் தெரிவித்தனர்.
Will the Minister of HEALTH AND FAMILY WELFARE be pleased to state:
(a) whether Government has defined junk food under the Food Safety and Standards Act and if so, the details thereof;
(b) whether the consumption of junk food has been increasing continuously and, if so, the details thereof along with the reasons therefor;
(c) whether Government has taken note of some recent studies/reports about the adverse effect of junk food on the health of the people and, if so, the details thereof;
(d) whether Government has imposed/ proposes to impose ban on sale of junk food in the country and if so, the details thereof; and
(e) if not, the corrective steps taken/ being taken by Government including launching awareness programmes in this regard?
THE MINISTER OF HEALTH AND FAMILY WELFARE
(SHRI JAGAT PRAKASH NADDA)
(a): “Junk Food” has not been defined under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006.
(b): No such data is maintained centrally.
(c): The Government is aware of the reports appearing in the media about the adverse effects of Junk Food. Further, a study conducted by the National Institute of Nutrition (NIN), Indian Council of Medical Research, Hyderabad on Assessment of ill-effects of consumption of Carbonated Water beverages (CWBs) on health of adolescents and young Adults, showed higher increments of body fat in young consumers.
(d): There is no proposal under consideration of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to impose such ban at present.
(e): The consumers are educated/made aware of the food safety through consumer awareness programmes launched jointly by the Department of Consumer Affairs and the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI). These include advertisements in different media, campaigns launched by the FSSAI on social media such as Face-book, documentary films on YouTube, educational booklets, information on FSSAI website, stalls at Fairs/Melas/Events and mass awareness campaigns.
Patna: Food safety wing of the health department raided altogether six eateries in the state capital and Danapur on the eve of Holi on Wednesday.
Vrindawan Sweets in Hari Om Complex neat Dak Bungalow roundabout has been sealed for three days in wake of unhygienic conditions there, said food safety officer Sudama Chaudhary. He said, "The sweets workshop did not have a proper ceiling and ceiling materials used to fall in food ingredients." Four food samples have also been collected from Vrindawan Sweets.
He said there was no problem of hygiene at Cozy Sweet Shop on Dak Bungalow road. But some complaints had been received earlier. The hygiene at Sadhu Sweet Shop was not found to be satisfactory. Ghee, paneer and khowa samples were collected from this shop. Sai Sweet Shop at Boring Road was also raided, but the conditions were found to be, by and large, satisfactory. "It was raided because complaints had been received about it during Diwali," the official said.
In Danapur, three shops – Prabhat Hotel, Sadhu Sweets and New Cozy Sweet Shop – were raided. Samples of khowa, laddoo, ghee, kalakand and other sweets were collected from these shops for test.
The raiding team included magistrate and armed police personnel. The raids were conducted on the instruction of district magistrate, said Chaudhary.