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Synthetic Milk plants Raided in Madhya Pradesh, 62 arrested.

21,July, 2019 Leave a comment
 

The Madhya Pradesh police arrested 62 people for allegedly manufacturing and supplying synthetic milk and other products and distributing them to branded milk outlets in six north Indian states, the PTI reported.

Three synthetic milk units located at Amba in Morena district and Lahar in the Bhind district of the Gwalior-Chambal region were raided by the Special Task Force (STF). They also raided a dozen other locations on Saturday but found the premises locked.

According to Rajesh Bhadoria, the STF Superintendent of Police, around 10,000 litres of spurious milk, over 500 kg of condensed milk and over 200 kg synthetic cottage cheese were seized during the raid. A huge quantity of liquid detergent, refined oil, maltodextrin powder, and other chemicals were also seized.

“As many as 20 tankers and 11 pick-up vans containing spurious milk and other products were seized,” the STF SP said.

30 percent milk was used in combination with refined oil, liquid detergent, white paint, and glucose powder in every liter of spurious milk produced at the three units, The NDTV report said, citing the officials.

How is Synthetic Milk produced?

Synthetic, milk is produced by adding white color water paint, oils, alkali, urea, and detergent, etc. Synthetic milk has a bitter after taste and turns yellowish on heating. The milk when rubbed between the fingers gives a soapy feeling.

The National Milk Quality Survey, 2018

The National Milk Quality Survey, 2018 was carried out by FSSAI to assess the quality of milk. The survey that was conducted in 602 towns collecting 6432 samples revealed that milk in India is largely safe. The Survey had found that 90% of the samples were safe and less than 10% of the samples were non-compliant.

Earlier this month, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) launched a scheme for Sampling, Testing & Inspection of milk to strengthen internal controls at the licensed dairy processing establishments. The Scheme that is tentatively planned to be operational by 1st October 2019 elaborates certain quality and safety tests that have to be done by the dairy establishments at regular intervals. This will help the establishments in identifying the cause of any non-compliance, take preventive and corrective action, the FSSAI had stated.

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Food wing collects seven samples in Kapurthala

21,July, 2019 Leave a comment
 

Jalandhar, July 19A team of the Health Department carried out a checking drive under Dr Harjot Pal Singh, Assistant Commissioner, Food, and Satnam Singh, Food Safety Officer, Kapurthala under ‘Tandrust Punjab Mission’ today.

The team started inspection at 6.30 am on a complaint basis. A dairy near Subhanpur was checked. However no objectionable material was found on the premises of the dairy, situated at the residence of a villager.The team checked food items and collected samples from other Food Business Operators (FBOs) in Begowal and surrounding areas.

The food wing took seven samples, including two milk, two fruits, one pulses, one confectionary item and one fruit drink.

The team of food wing inspected vehicles carrying food items, especially milk and milk products. During the course of checking, drivers were seen trying to evade the checking by moving vehicles this way or that way.

However, the food wing managed to check many of them. Taking into consideration the ongoing rainy season, the FBOs have been directed to keep and store foodstuffs under clean, dry and hygienic conditions, to protected them from Mold growth, which otherwise deteriorates the food items in rains due to increased moisture content in the air.

The samples have been despatched to the State Food Laboratory, Kharar, and the report of the analysis will be made available to the department at the earliest. Further legal action will be initiated against the offenders as per the report of analysis of the State Food Lab, under the Food Safety and Standards Act 2006 and Rules and Regulations, 2011.

All FBOs were strictly directed to hygiene on the business premises, proper personal hygiene of workers engaged in the unit, especially those directly handling the foodstuffs.

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Food wing collects seven samples in Kapurthala

21,July, 2019 Leave a comment
 

Chennai: The number of convictions for misbranding and adulteration of milk has nearly doubled and the penalty collected by the state has gone up by nearly three times (250%) between 2017-18 and 2018-19, according to Union minister of state for health and family welfare Ashwini Kumar Choubey.

Replying to a question from Rameshbhai Lavjibhai Dhaduk of Porbandar on the action taken to check adulteration in milk and to penalise the criminals involved by Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) as per the Supreme Court direction, Choubey said a nationwide qualitative screening of milk samples for on-spot qualitative and quantitative analysis of milk samples was conducted by the Authority. It checked for quality parameters such as fat, solid not fat (SNF), added water, protein content and safety parameters and 13 adulterants, antibiotics, pesticides and aflatoxin M1.

The survey was initiated in May 2018 screened 6,432 samples taken across the country. Analysis showed about 39% of milk samples were non- compliant with reference to quality parameters [fat, Solid not-fat (SNF), sugar and maltodextrin] but were without any safety issues. But 9.9% samples were found to be unsafe for consumption due to presence of harmful contaminants in excess of specified limits coming mainly from poor quality of feed, irresponsible use of antibiotics and poor farm practices, he said. To ensure quality and safe milk, the state food authorities keep a strict vigil by regularly drawing food samples, he said.

In 2017, Tamil Nadu dairy development minister K T Rajenthra Bhalaji accused two private milk companies of adulterating their products with chemicals before selling them. The two brands are using caustic soda and bleaching powder in spoilt milk, convert it to milk powder, he said. The same year, the state wing of FSSAI had lifted 393 samples of which 101 we found to have misbranded or adulterated their product. While seven criminal cases were filed 63 cases were filed in the civil court. The same year, 64 cases ended in conviction and penalty of ₹4.19lakh was levied from 64 cases.

In 2018, however, 847 samples were lifted and 157 were found to have misbranded of adulterated the milk. Three criminal cases and 93 civil cases were filed. This time, however, 97 were convicted and the FSSAI collected ₹14.9 lakh as penalty from 125 cases. “We have been doing spot tests in many shops regularly. Since we have managed to record violations we have been able to win legal cases,” said a senior FSSAI official. The amount collected was second only to Gujarat, which had collected ₹16.2lakh from 80 cases.

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Baby food to go off menu due to high sugar

21,July, 2019 Leave a comment
 

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Guidance note on Aflatoxins

21,July, 2019 Leave a comment
 

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Guidane note on Millets

21,July, 2019 Leave a comment

 

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Stale fish seized at Palayam market

11,July, 2019 Leave a comment
 

Joint raid finds some varieties of fish with worms inside being sold

As much as 150 kilograms of stale fish were seized from the Connemara market at Palayam in a joint raid on Monday conducted by the Health wing of the city Corporation, the Food Safety Department, and the Fisheries department.

With the fish vendors putting up a stiff resistance to the raid, the officials had to seek the help of the police to complete the proceedings.

Tuna and Seer fish

The officials seized stale fish of tuna (Choora) and seerfish (Neymeen) varieties from six vendors. Most of it were at least four to five days old.

Worms were found in some of the seized fish. The vendors claimed that the stale fish were not for sale but were kept to be dried.

Claim refuted

This claim was refuted by the officials who also seized a batch of stale fish that was cut and kept aside to be taken to a restaurant and a toddy shop.

The fish vendors put up resistance to the raid, accusing the officials of taking away even the fresh fish.

“We had requested the presence of Food Safety and Fisheries department officials because they have the expertise to detect stale fish using special strips and other mechanisms. This would be convincing for the fish vendors too. Still, there was resistance from the fish vendors as the raid progressed. We have not conducted raids in the Connemara fish market for a long time, mainly due to the chance of resistance. Now, we will conduct frequent checks to ensure that fresh fish is sold. It has to be said that there were some vendors who were selling only fresh fish,” said Palayam circle Health Inspector G. Manoj, who led the raid.

According to Health wing officials, the raids were conducted following complaints the Corporation was getting in recent weeks.

Last week, a person registered a complaint at the Corporation office, saying that his children had been affected with food poisoning after consuming fish bought from the market.

Complaint

Another complaint regarding quality of fish was received by the food safety authority, citing the exact locations of the vendors selling stale fish.

Following the raid by the authorities, the officials removed the stale fish, while some of the samples were sent for testing to check for the presence of formalin.

Further action, including imposing fine on the vendors responsible, would be taken based on the test result, the officials said.

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Is Indian table salt safe to use?

11,July, 2019 Leave a comment
 

01/8The compostion of salt!

Recently, the table salt came under the scrutiny of social media and regulatory bodies, when Shankar Gupta, Chairman of Godhum Grains & Farm Products claimed that Ferrocyanide levels were alarmingly high in reputed Indian salt brands. To which, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) and the Indian Medical Association (IMA) reacted and refuted the concerns . Scroll below to know more about Potassium Ferrocyanide and the controversy.

02/8What is Potassium Ferrocyanide?

It is a non-toxic inorganic compound that is potassium salt and forms lemon-yellow monoclinic crystals.

03/8Why this concern was raised?

The concerns rose only after Shiv Shankar Gupta, Chairman of Godhum Grains & Farm Products recently claimed that Potassium Ferrocyanide levels were alarmingly high in reputed Indian salt brands. According to Gupta, a test by American West Analytical Laboratories (AWAL) has revealed that Potassium Ferrocyanide levels are an alarmingly high in Sambhar Refined Salt at 4.71 mg per kg, at 1.85 mg per kg in Tata Salt and 1.90 mg per kg in Tata Salt Lite.

04/8Why is Potassium Ferrocyanide used?

As per a tweet by FSSAI, "Ferrocyanides are used as anti-caking agents in processing of salt and are safe for consumption. Test reports quoted in media have shown its presence well within the limit of 10 mg/kg, as specified by FSSAI. This is less than 14 mg/kg specified by Codex (International Food Standards)."

05/8The controversy

According to the American West Analytical Laboratories, AWAL does not communicate any information to third parties concerning work performed at the laboratory without written permission.

06/8 What companies have to say?

In an official statement, Tata Salt said that its products are safe and harmless. They have called the allegations false and misleading and said that India is one among many countries including the USA, European Union, Australia and New Zealand that has allowed the use of PFC in salt.

07/8What is the right amount of PFC allowed?

The level allowed by FSSAI, an independent statutory authority, under Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India is the lowest among these jurisdictions (10 mg per kg).

08/8Verdict

The use of PFC is allowed in salt and is safe and harmless to the human body when consumed as per approved levels. This is clearly declared in the list of many reputed salt brands in a manner prescribed by the regulations.

Categories: NEWS

Food safety concerns

11,July, 2019 Leave a comment
 

India faces grave dangers as unprecedented levels of GM genes have been found in our foods. The time for labelling GMOs is over; Governments must simply ban them

In Rottenseed! Cottonseed, Alzheimer’s and Your Brain, nutritionist Bruce Semon traces the rise of Alzheimer’s to a toxin in cottonseed that goes to the brain and randomly ties up important structures there. Cottonseed, a byproduct of cotton farming, contains poison but is routinely fed to farm animals, poultry and fish, from where it enters their flesh and reaches human beings when they eat this meat. Dr Semon, the first writer to trace the link between toxic cottonseeds and human health, describes his experiments on feeding cottonseed to animals.

In India, some farmers are illicitly extracting cottonseed oil and selling cheaply to vegetable oil dealers, who mix it with edible oils and sell to unwary consumers. In the past decade, cotton farming has risen sharply under the influence of GM cotton, peddled by multinational firms, increasing chances of the even more lethal GM cottonseed oil entering the human and animal food chain. In 2018, the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) detected BT cottonseed contamination in edibles oils. The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has so far done little to contain this adulteration. The Government must ban cottonseed for human or animal feed and warn against its consumption.

Cottonseed is also implicated in infertility. Male and female infertility has often been attributed to hormonal problems but Semon argues that cottonseed is loaded with toxic chemicals. It killed many animals to which it was fed, which led to studies on just how much cottonseed could be fed to animals without killing them.

A major cottonseed toxin is “gossypol.” Researchers have known this since 1950 but no one made it public. China is supposed to have examined gossypol as a possible form of birth control for men (it interrupts sperm formation). In women, gossypol causes failure to ovulate. Other harmful effects cannot be ruled out.

Indeed, India faces grave dangers as unprecedented levels of GM genes have been found in Indian foods. CSE detected unprecedented levels of genetically modified genes in Indian foods, both imported and indigenous. CSE’s Pollution Monitoring Laboratory found 32 per cent of 65 food products purchased randomly from retail outlets in Delhi-NCR, Punjab and Gujarat, to be GM-positive. Among imported samples, 80 per cent were GM-positive.

Scientist Amit Khurana said the CSE study revealed that in their biosafety submission to the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee, Monsanto/Bayer lied that “BT cottonseed oil is equivalent to natural cottonseed oil” and contains no GM traces. Moreover, the edible oil companies, that used transgenic BT cottonseed without regulatory approval, also endangered public health. The Indian Council of Agricultural Research has often relied on Monsanto’s printed biosafety submissions.

Dr KR Kranthi, former chief, Central Institute for Cotton Research, warned of edible oil contamination: “The possible routes of BT cotton protein entering the food chain are through human consumption of un-refined cottonseed oil, in which traces of BT protein may be present with particulate seed residues or through consumption of meat or milk of the animals which are fed on BT cotton seed-cake.”

Biosafety expert Dr Vandana Shiva said, “Illegal GMO Roundup Ready BT cotton has spread in farmers’ fields with no action from the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC). Illegal GMO foods are flooding India’s markets with no action from FSSAI. The Government is supposed to protect its citizens from harm and illegal actions. How long will it protect the GMO industry and allow Indians farmers and citizens to be harmed?”

Dr Gilles-Eric Seralini, who was hounded by multinational companies and their media acolytes until the French courts penalised his attackers for defamation, explained the effects of ingesting GM over a five-ten year period, “We have already demonstrated on mammals that BT toxins attack mucosal and epithelial cells, inducing heavy long term chronic diseases.” GMOs and pesticides, he says, are a biological arsenal causing diseases from cancers to farmers’ suicides.

The Indian Government did not conduct any independent scientific study before adopting Monsanto/Bayer’s GMOs, as pointed out by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on science and technology (Report 301 on GM crops and their effects). FSSAI’s GM labelling rule has been lambasted as too lenient and corporate-driven. A scientific study in the Journal of International Immunopharmacology (August 2018) found that the BT protein, present in BT crops, causes immune reactions and triggers food allergy and intestinal inflammation in mice.

Meanwhile, several scientific studies, including one published by the Public Library of Science (July 2013), have found compelling evidence that the DNA of genetically modified foods can enter the human bloodstream and cause many health problems. Blood samples of over 1,000 participants were collected and “the results indicated that meal-derived DNA fragments (which were large enough to carry complete genes) can avoid degradation and ultimately enter the human body’s circulation system.” Researchers said these are actually stretches of DNA large enough to pass complete genes of GMO plants (like soy, corn or canola oil) to humans.

In some blood samples, the relative concentration of plant DNA was higher than human DNA. The researchers said that participants with inflammatory bowel disease and auto-immune disease had the highest concentration of transgenic gene. Previous studies show that GMOs can change the beneficial bacteria in the small intestine and trigger auto-immune diseases and inflammation, making it difficult to absorb the real nutrients in food. These findings vindicate the claims of independent scientists and researchers who have long warned the regulatory bodies and biotech industry that GMO genes can be transferred from dairy and animal products to people.

After prolonged resistance, the European Food Safety Authority was forced to admit that DNA from food (GMO or non-GMO) could end up in animal tissues and milk and other dairy products consumed by people. The GMO companies are strenuously resisting the findings and investing millions of dollars to hide their toxic GMOs and defeat the GMO labelling movement, even as people eating these hidden toxins are getting sicker and sicker.

Many scientists and activists now feel that the time for labelling GMOs is over; Governments must simply ban them. This is also the time for the Government of India to order a scientific study of the diseases (cancer, diabetes, auto-immune, organ failure) that followed introduction of the Green Revolution. The artificial self-sufficiency wrought by the chemical fertiliser and pesticide-based agriculture has long devastated the health of animals, humans and the very soil.

(The writer is Senior Fellow, Nehru Memorial Museum and Library; the views expressed are personal)

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