Saturday, July 27, 2013

തിരുവനന്തപുരത്ത്‌ ഭക്ഷ്യവിഷബാധ: വിദ്യാര്‍ത്ഥിനി മരിച്ചു

തിരുവനന്തപുരം : ഭക്ഷ്യവിഷബാധയേറ്റ്‌ മെഡിക്കല്‍ കോളേജില്‍ ചികിത്സയില്‍ കഴിഞ്ഞ വിദ്യാര്‍ത്ഥിനി മരിച്ചു. ഉള്ളൂര്‍ സ്വദേശിനി രജിതാ രാജീവ്‌(18) ആണ്‌ മരിച്ചത്‌. കഴക്കൂട്ടത്തെ ഹോട്ടലില്‍ നിന്ന്‌ ചിക്കന്‍ ബിരിയാണി കഴിച്ചതാണ്‌ വിഷബാധയ്‌ക്ക് കാരണമായതെന്ന്‌ ബന്ധുക്കള്‍ ആരോപിക്കുന്നു. ഇതേതുടര്‍ന്ന്‌ ഭക്ഷ്യസുരക്ഷാ ഉദ്യോഗസ്‌ഥര്‍ ഹോട്ടലുകളില്‍ പരിശോധന നടത്തി. ഇന്നലെ രാത്രി കഴക്കൂട്ടത്തെ കൈലാസ്‌ എന്ന ഹോട്ടലില്‍ നിന്നായിരുന്നു രജിത ചിക്കന്‍ ബിരിയാണി കഴിച്ചത്‌. രാത്രി തന്നെ ശാരീരികാസ്വാസ്‌ഥത കാട്ടിയതിനെ തുടര്‍ന്ന്‌ ഡോക്‌ടര്‍മാരായ മാതാപിതാക്കള്‍ ഭക്ഷ്യവിഷബാധയുടെ ലക്ഷണമാണെന്ന്‌ തിരിച്ചറിയുകയും ഒരു സ്വകാര്യ ആശുപത്രിയില്‍ പ്രവേശിപ്പിക്കുകയുമായിരുന്നു. പിന്നീടാണ് തിരുവനന്തപുരം മെഡിക്കല്‍ കോളേജിലേക്ക് മാറ്റിയത്. മൃതദേഹം മോര്‍ച്ചറിയില്‍ സൂക്ഷിച്ചിരിക്കുകയാണ്‌.ഹോട്ടലില്‍ പരിശോധന നടത്തിയ ഭക്ഷ്യ സുരക്ഷാ വിഭാഗം കേടായ ഭക്ഷണങ്ങള്‍ കണ്ടെത്തിയതായാണ്‌ റിപ്പോര്‍ട്ട്‌. മാസങ്ങള്‍ക്ക്‌ മുന്‍പ്‌ ഷവര്‍മയില്‍ നിന്നും ഭക്ഷ്യവിഷബാധയേറ്റ്‌ വിദ്യാര്‍ത്ഥി മരണമടഞ്ഞ സംഭവത്തിന്‌ ശേഷം ഭക്ഷ്യസുരക്ഷാ പ്രശ്‌നങ്ങളെ തുടര്‍ന്ന്‌ തലസ്‌ഥാനം വീണ്ടും വാര്‍ത്തകളില്‍ നിറയുകയാണ്‌.

Online food licensing and regn faces manpower & infrastructure hurdles

Even technology has failed to speed up the snail-paced licensing and registration of FBOs procedure being undertaken across the country under the Food Safety & Standards (Licensing and Registration of Food Businesses) Regulations, 2011.
That is because, fraught with glitches like lack of tech-savvy users and officials and inadequate infrastructure – software, hardware and manpower - the online version of the procedure, which meant the entire process will be completed in a few minutes at the click of a few buttons, has failed to gather steam in most parts of the country where it has been launched in recent times.
While the above-mentioned glitches are a matter of grave concern for now, they are also likely to impact the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India’s (FSSAI) goal of completing the licensing and registration procedure in the country before the deadline – February 4, 2014 – be it manual or online. Interestingly, the deadline has been extended by the Authority twice earlier.
To know the current scenario, let us take a look at Goa. The tiny state commenced the process of licensing and registration online on January 31, 2012. Jyoti J Sardessai, deputy director, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the South Goa district, said, “Most food business operators across the state prefer offline application.”
This was confirmed by a source in the district FDA, who added that online licensing and registration constitutes 30 per cent, while offline licensing and registration accounts for the remainder.
He said, “Adequate infrastructure has not been created for citizen-centric centres (for instance, cyber-cafes, which charge exorbitant rates). Another hurdle the online system faces in Goa is that most FBOs are not too tech-savvy.”
“We have recently appointed four data entry operators, who upload the information about applications received – both online and offline – from FBOs in the state's two districts (North Goa and South Goa) onto a database,” the official informed.
“Establishments with larger premises and more staff opt for online licensing and registration,” he added.

Software glitches
The online licensing and registration process first started about two years ago. But the software for the same, though developed with a great deal of fanfare and trials, was not upto the mark. While efforts were made to rectify the weak areas, users still found some glitches.

Maharashtra
Maharashtra was the first to start the online licensing and registration. Till date, 3 lakh FBOs across the western state have either registered or obtained licences. Yet, 90 per cent of the registration and licensing has taken place offline, and the remainder online.

Haryana & Chandigarh

Haryana also started the online registration for FBOs on March 22 2013. Chandigarh, the capital of the state (as well as that of Punjab), became the first Union Territory recently to introduce the online food licensing and registration system (FLRS) to facilitate food business operators (FBOs) to file and track their applications.

Tamil Nadu & Kerala

The total number of licenses issued by and FBOs registered in Tamil Nadu so far is 1,85,000, all of which are offline. The online process recently commenced in Madurai district. The number of FBOs who have either obtained a license or registered – all offline – across Kerala is 55,000.

Gujarat – An exception

However, Gujarat is a state whose Food and Drug Control Administration (FDCA) has fared better than its counterparts in the other states.
H G Koshia, the state's food commissioner, said, “About 1,20,000 FBOs have either obtained a license or registered offline so far. And I am proud to say that Gujarat has become the first state in the country to start the online registration and licensing process in all 26 districts at one go.”
He added, “We imparted training to all the FBOs and also organised five workshops covering all the districts along with the National Institute for Smart Government (NISG) and the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI).”
Koshia added, “I am sure Gujarat will complete its licensing and registration well before the deadline stipulated by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India, namely February 4, 2014.”

Puducherry's poor performance

“There are seven months to go before the February 4, 2014 deadline lapses, but the process of licensing and registration is yet to commence in Puducherry,” said Ragesh Chandra, the Union Territory's health and education secretary.

Conclusion


Nevertheless, FSSAI is organising workshops and educating FBOS across the country hoping that all the states concerned come up with solutions for their problems soon.

Monday, July 22, 2013

തിരുവനന്തപുരം, കൊച്ചി, കോഴിക്കോട് ലാബുകള്‍ അന്താരാഷ്ട്ര നിലവാരത്തിലേക്ക്; പാലക്കാടും കാസര്‍ഗോഡും പുതിയ ലാബുകള്‍

തിരുവനന്തപുരം: ഭക്ഷ്യസുരക്ഷാ നിയമം കര്‍ശനമാക്കുന്നതിന്റെ ഭാഗമായി സംസ്ഥാനത്തെ ലബോറട്ടറി സൗകര്യങ്ങള്‍ 50 കോടി രൂപ ചെലവില്‍ വിപുലമാക്കുമെന്ന് ആരോഗ്യമന്ത്രി വി.എസ്. ശിവകുമാര്‍ അറിയിച്ചു. തിരുവനന്തപുരം ഗവണ്‍മെന്റ് അനലിസ്റ്റ് ലാബും എറണാകുത്തും കോഴിക്കോടുമുള്ള റീജിയണല്‍ അനലിറ്റിക്കല്‍ ലാബുകളും അന്താരാഷ്ട്ര നിലവാരത്തിലേക്കുയര്‍ത്തി എന്‍.എ.ബി.എല്‍ അക്രഡിറ്റേഷന്‍ ലഭ്യമാക്കാന്‍ നടപടികള്‍ സ്വീകരിക്കും. അതിര്‍ത്തി ജില്ലകളില്‍ ഭക്ഷ്യസുരക്ഷാ പരിശോധന ശക്തമാക്കുന്നതിന്റെ ഭാഗമായി പാലക്കാടും കാസര്‍ഗോഡും പുതിയ ലാബുകള്‍ തുടങ്ങും. അടിയന്തിര ഭക്ഷ്യപരിശോധനാ സൗകര്യം വിപുലപ്പെടുത്തുന്നതിന് 3 മൊബൈല്‍ ലബോറട്ടറികള്‍ ആരംഭിക്കുമെന്നും മന്ത്രി അറിയിച്ചു. കേന്ദ്രസര്‍ക്കാരിന്റെയും സംസ്ഥാന സര്‍ക്കാരിന്റെയും സംയുക്ത പങ്കാളിത്തത്തോടെയാണ് ഇവ യാഥാര്‍ഥ്യമാക്കുക. തിരുവനന്തപുരം ഗവണ്‍മെന്റ് അനലിസ്റ്റ് ലാബിന്റെ മൂന്നുവര്‍ഷം (2013-2016) നീണ്ടുനില്‍ക്കുന്ന വികസനപ്രവര്‍ത്തനങ്ങള്‍ക്ക് ഒമ്പത് കോടിയുടെ കേന്ദ്രസഹായം ഉള്‍പ്പെടെ 12 കോടി രൂപയാണ് വിനിയോഗിക്കുക. ഈ ലാബിന് എന്‍.എ.ബി.എല്‍ അക്രഡിറ്റേഷന്‍ ലഭ്യമാക്കുന്നതിനുള്ള പ്രൊപ്പോസല്‍ ഡിസംബറില്‍ സമര്‍പ്പിക്കും. കൊച്ചി, കോഴിക്കോട് റീജിയണല്‍ അനലിറ്റിക്കല്‍ ലാബുകള്‍ 24 കോടി രൂപ ചെലവിലാണ് നവീകരിക്കുക. ഇതില്‍ 18 കോടി കേന്ദ്ര വിഹിതവും ആറ് കോടി സംസ്ഥാന വിഹിതവുമാണ്. 2014 മുതല്‍ 2017 വരെയാണ് പദ്ധതിയുടെ കാലാവധി. ഈ ലാബുകള്‍ക്ക് എന്‍.എ.ബി.എല്‍ അക്രഡിറ്റേഷന്‍ ലഭ്യമാക്കുന്നതിനുള്ള പ്രൊപ്പോസല്‍ അടുത്തവര്‍ഷം സമര്‍പ്പിക്കും. 14 കോടി രൂപ ചെലവിലാണ് പാലക്കാടും കാസര്‍ഗോഡും പുതിയ ലാബുകള്‍ ആരംഭിക്കുക. ഇതില്‍ 9.2 കോടി കേന്ദ്രസഹായമായി ലഭിക്കും. 2015 മുതല്‍ 2017 വരെയാണ് പദ്ധതിക്കാലയളവ്. പത്തനംതിട്ടയിലെ ജില്ലാ ഫുഡ് സേഫ്ടി ലാബിന്റെ പ്രവര്‍ത്തനം വിപുലപ്പെടുത്തുമെന്നും മന്ത്രി പറഞ്ഞു. തിരുവനന്തപുരം, കൊച്ചി, കോഴിക്കോട് ലാബുകളുടെ വികസനത്തിനും മൊബൈല്‍ ലാബുകള്‍ ആരംഭിക്കുന്നതിനും ഈ വര്‍ഷത്തെ സംസ്ഥാന ബഡ്ജറ്റില്‍ 4.25 കോടി രൂപ അനുവദിച്ചിട്ടുണ്ട്. റീജീയണല്‍ അനലിറ്റിക് ലാബുകളുടെ അക്രഡിറ്റേഷന്‍ പ്രവര്‍ത്തനങ്ങള്‍ക്ക് 40 ലക്ഷം രൂപയും ബഡ്ജറ്റില്‍ വകകൊള്ളിച്ചിട്ടുണ്ട്. തിരുവനന്തപുരം അനലിസ്റ്റ് ലാബില്‍ മൈക്രോബയോളജി പ്രത്യേക വിഭാഗം ഉടന്‍ ആരംഭിക്കുമെന്നും ആവശ്യമായ ജീവനക്കാരെ നിയമിക്കുമെന്നും മന്ത്രി അറിയിച്ചു. പാല്‍ ഉള്‍പ്പെടെയുള്ള ഭക്ഷണപദാര്‍ത്ഥങ്ങള്‍, കുടിവെള്ളം മുതലായവയില്‍ രോഗകാരികളായ ബാക്ടീരിയ, വൈറസ്, ഫംഗസ് എന്നിവയുടെ സാന്നിധ്യമുണ്ടോയെന്ന് പരിശോധിക്കുന്നത് മൈക്രോബയോളജി വിഭാഗത്തിലാണ്. മറ്റു സംസ്ഥാനങ്ങളില്‍ നിന്നെത്തുന്ന പാല്‍, മത്സ്യം, മാംസം, പഴം, പച്ചക്കറി മുതലായവയില്‍ കീടനാശിനികള്‍, ഹോര്‍മോണുകള്‍, ആന്റിബയോട്ടിക്കുകള്‍ മുതലായവ ചേര്‍ത്തിട്ടുണ്ടോയെന്നത് കര്‍ശനമായ പരിശോധനയ്ക്ക് വിധേയമാക്കുന്നുണ്ട്. കാര്‍ഷിക സര്‍വ്വകലാശാലയുടെ തിരുവനന്തപുരത്തുള്ള പെസ്റ്റിസൈഡ് ലാബ്, മൃഗസംരക്ഷണവകുപ്പിന്റെ തൃശ്ശൂരിലുള്ള ലാബ്, കൊച്ചിയിലെ സെന്‍ട്രല്‍ ഇന്‍സ്റ്റിറ്റിയൂട്ട് ഓഫ് ഫിഷറീസ് ലാബ് എന്നിവയുടെ സേവനവും പരിശോധനകള്‍ക്കായി പ്രയോജനപ്പെടുത്തുന്നുണ്ട്. സംസ്ഥാനത്തെ എല്ലാ നിയമസഭാ നിയോജകമണ്ഡലങ്ങളിലും ഫുഡ് സേഫ്ടി ഓഫീസര്‍മാരെ വിന്യസിപ്പിക്കുവാന്‍ നടപടി സ്വീകരിക്കുമെന്നും മന്ത്രി പറഞ്ഞു. ഓണം, റംസാന്‍ ഉത്സവവേളയില്‍ അന്യസംസ്ഥാനങ്ങളില്‍ നിന്നും കൊണ്ടുവരുന്ന ഭക്ഷണവസ്തുക്കളില്‍ മായം കലര്‍ന്നിട്ടുണ്ടോയെന്ന് കര്‍ശനമായി പരിശോധിക്കാന്‍ മന്ത്രി ഭക്ഷ്യസുരക്ഷാ കമ്മീഷണര്‍ ബിജു പ്രഭാകറിന് നിര്‍ദ്ദേശം നല്‍കി. ഇതേത്തുടര്‍ന്ന് ഭക്ഷ്യസുരക്ഷാ കമ്മീഷണര്‍ ഈ മാസം 22 ന് തൃശ്ശൂര്‍ രാമനിലയത്തില്‍ സംസ്ഥാനത്തെ ഫുഡ് സേഫ്ടി ഓഫീസര്‍മാരുടെയും, 24 ന് തിരുവനന്തപുരം ഗവ. അനലിസ്റ്റ് ലാബില്‍, ബന്ധപ്പെട്ട സ്ഥാപനങ്ങളിലെ ശാസ്ത്രജ്ഞന്മാരുടെയും യോഗങ്ങള്‍ വിളിച്ചുകൂട്ടും.
Source:http://veekshanam.com

Government to address pesticide safety

The Department of Agriculture is gearing up to establish a State-wide network of laboratories equipped with facilities to detect pesticide residue in horticultural products.The laboratories will be set up under a programme to ensure the supply of safe-to-eat products for consumers and minimise health hazards posed by constant exposure to pesticide residue in vegetables and fruits.The government has issued directions to vegetable farmers to stop the indiscriminate use of pesticides and instead turn to biocontrol agents, pheromone traps, and other safe pest control methods. “The farmers will have to utilise 40 per cent of the Rs.10,000 subsidy per hectare on safe plant protection methods. The government, on its part, will ensure adequate supply of inputs for farmers,” said P. Rajasekharan, Chief (Agriculture), State Planning Board.He told The Hindu that the production of safe-to-eat vegetables would require elaborate facilities for testing pesticide residue.“The laboratories will be set up in the next phase.” He said the programme assumed relevance in the light of the forensic report that revealed pesticide contamination to be the cause of the noon meal tragedy that claimed 23 children in Bihar.
“The unfortunate incident has to be seen as an opportunity for us to address the pesticide safety issue,” he said.
KAU initiative
Meanwhile, Kerala Agricultural University (KAU) has launched efforts to sensitise vegetable farmers in Thiruvananthapuram district on the need to adopt safe plant protection practices. The KAU is on the lookout for farmers willing to produce safe-to-eat products and is working on the establishment of a monitoring mechanism to detect pesticide contamination at source, said Thomas Biju Mathew, Principal Investigator of the project. The Pesticide Residue Research and Analytical Laboratory at the College of Agriculture, Vellayani, had detected heavy pesticide contamination of vegetables imported from Tamil Nadu. Analysis of samples of curry leaf, coriander leaf, mint leaf, and green chilly regularly supplied from big farms at Kaaramada near Mettupalayam had showed heavy load of Profenofos and Chlorpyrifos, organophosphorous fertilizers not recommended for vegetables.Samples of okra, cabbage, and cauliflower grown in farms near Coimbatore also revealed high levels of pesticide residue.
The laboratory is developing protocols for consumers to remove pesticide residues from high risk vegetables and fruits. The KAU is also preparing to establish another laboratory at the College of Agriculture, Padannakkad, Kasaragod, this year.The university has tied up with the Kerala State Horticultural Products Development Corporation (Horticorp) to promote safe-to-eat vegetables under the brand name Amrut.Dr. Mathew said that the pesticide contamination of vegetables produced outside the State could be addressed only by involving the food safety wing and stepping up vigilance at check-posts. He said it would require stern action such as heavy fines and return of consignments, to deter farmers in neighbouring States from exporting pesticide contaminated vegetables to Kerala.
The draft agriculture development policy, now under the consideration of the government, has recommended popularisation of cheap, quick, and non-destructive methods of detecting pesticide residue in raw fruits and vegetables.It has also stressed the need to promote organic pesticides. 

Food safety: Government to spend Rs 50 crore

The State Government will spend Rs 50 crore on expanding the facilities in government laboratories in the state as part of ensuring food safety, Health Minister V S Sivakumar said on Sunday.
“Steps will be taken to raise the Government Analysts Laboratory in Thiruvananthapuram and the Regional Analytical Laboratories in Kozhikode and Ernakulam to international standards by obtaining the National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL) accreditation,” he said.  New labs will be started in Palakkad and Kasaragod for strict monitoring in the border districts of the state. “The government is also planning to roll out three mobile labs for prompt inspection of food items,” Sivakumar said. These projects will be implemented jointly by the state and Central Governments. A sum of Rs 9 crore-Rs 12 crore as central assistance - would be spent on the Govt Analysts Laboratory, Thiruvananthapuram, between 2013 and 2016 as part of the project. Applications for the NABL accreditation would be submitted in December.  The regional laboratories in Ernakulam and Kozhikode will be renovated using Rs 24 crore. “Of the total sum, Rs 18 crore will be Central assistance and the rest will be state share,” the Minister said.
Source:http://newindianexpress.com/

Thursday, July 18, 2013

The Newshour Debate: Why don't kids matter

Quality checks on noon meal in schools

Quality checks are being carried out on food given to children as part of noon meal schemes in schools and anganwadis across the state in the wake of the noon meal tragedy in Bihar which has so far claimed the lives of more than 20 children. Food Safety Commissioner Biju Prabhakar said here on Wednesday that inspections were carried out in 50 schools and 59 anganwadis in rural Kerala. The reports are being submitted to the Commissionerate. Orders were issued for conducting the inspections in the wake of the Bihar incident. The inspections will continue in the days ahead. For lodging complaints about the food distributed as part of the noon meal scheme, call toll free number 1800 425 1125. Twenty-two children have died and several admitted to hospital after eating food distributed as part of the noon meal scheme at a primary school in Saran district of Bihar.
Source:http://newindianexpress.com

ബിഹാര്‍ ഭക്ഷ്യ വിഷബാധക്ക് കാരണം കീടനാശിനി

പാട്‌ന: ബിഹാറില്‍ ഭക്ഷ്യവിഷബാധയേറ്റ് 22 കുട്ടികള്‍ മരിക്കാനിടയായത് ഭക്ഷണത്തില്‍ കലര്‍ന്ന കീടനാശിനി മൂലമാണെന്ന് പോസ്റ്റുമോര്‍ട്ടത്തില്‍ സ്ഥിരീകരിച്ചു. പാചകഎണ്ണയില്‍നിന്നോ ഭക്ഷ്യവസ്തുക്കളില്‍നിന്നോ ഉള്ള കീടനാശിനിയാകാം ദുരന്തമുണ്ടാക്കിയതെന്ന് കരുതുന്നു.
നാല്പതോളം കുട്ടികളാണ് സ്‌ക്കൂളില്‍നിന്നും സൗജന്യ ഉച്ചഭക്ഷണം കഴിച്ച് അസ്പത്രിയിലായത്. അതില്‍ പകുതിയിലേറെ കുട്ടികള്‍ രണ്ടുദിവസത്തിനിടെ മരിച്ചതോടെ ബിഹാറില്‍ പ്രതിഷേധം കത്തിപ്പടര്‍ന്നിരുന്നു. കുട്ടികള്‍ കഴിച്ച ഭക്ഷണത്തിന്റെ സാമ്പിള്‍ പരിശോധിച്ചതില്‍ നിന്നും ദുരന്തത്തിന് കാരണം കീടനാശിനിയുടെ സാന്നിധ്യത്തെക്കുറിച്ച് സൂചന ലഭിച്ചിരുന്നു. സോയബീന്‍സും ഉരുളക്കിഴങ്ങും ചോറുമായിരുന്നു കുട്ടികള്‍ക്ക് നല്‍കിയ ഉച്ചഭക്ഷണം. ചികിത്സയിലുള്ള വിദ്യാര്‍ത്ഥികളുടെയും പാചകക്കാരന്റെയും നില ഗുരുതരമല്ലെന്ന് ഡോക്ടര്‍മാര്‍ വ്യക്തമാക്കി.  നെല്‍കൃഷിക്കും ഗോതമ്പ് കൃഷിക്കും ഉപയോഗിക്കുന്ന കീടനാശിനിയാണ് ഭക്ഷണ സാമ്പിളുകളിലുണ്ടായിരുന്നതെന്ന് കണ്ടെത്തിയതായി ബീഹാര്‍ വിദ്യാഭ്യാസ മന്ത്രി പി.കെ സാഹി ഇന്നലെ മാധ്യമങ്ങളോട് പറഞ്ഞിരുന്നു. മരിച്ച കുട്ടികളുടെ കുടുംബങ്ങള്‍ക്ക് 2 ലക്ഷം രൂപയുടെ സഹായവും ബിഹാര്‍ സര്‍ക്കാര്‍ പ്രഖ്യാപിച്ചിരുന്നു.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Milma’s affidavit throws open a debate

Milma’s affidavit in the Kerala High Court that its milk sachets contain reconstituted skimmed milk powder seems to have raised many an eyebrow.
Jino G. Maliyakal, State secretary, Kerala Aggressive Dairy Farmers Association, wants the government to come out with a definition of milk in this context.
‘‘This is a serious issue affecting future generations. Whether the milk supplied by dairy farmers to Milma (Kerala Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation Ltd) and other agencies comes under the definition of milk is another question. The government has to take into consideration all types of milk, including milk sachets of Milma and other agencies as well as the milk supplied by farmers. Also, whether there is mix of cow, buffalo, and goat milk in the milk that consumers get is a natural question,’’ he says.
Another question, according to him, is that the State’s milk production is 22 lakh litres a day (marketed by Milma and other agencies). But the maximum demand is 60 lakh litres a day (during festival seasons such as Onam). So what kind of milk is brought in to meet the demand gap, he asks.
SNF, fat contents
According to Mr. Maliyakal, Milma’s affidavit says that the milk from crossbred cows in the State contains a lower SNF (solid non-fat) content and that if skimmed milk powder is not added, toned and double-toned milk within the standards prescribed in the Food Safety Standard Regulations could not be produced in Kerala.
‘‘It is true that the milk of cows in Kerala will not have a regular percentage of SNF and fat. The SNF and fat contents of milk supplied by farmers to Milma are tested in its laboratories. Milma will not naturally reveal the real fat and SNF contents as it will have to pay more price for more fat content. Then how is such content being really analysed in the State,’’ he asks. Dairy farmers, on the other hand, are finding the going very tough. The Planning Commission itself has listed dairy farming as an allied sector of agriculture. So the dairy farmer gets loan only at 12 per cent, compared to 4 per cent for agriculture, Mr. Maliyakal said.
Mechanisation
He points out that the solution of mechanisation being touted for labour shortage cannot be viable for small dairy farmers.
A huge investment will not be possible for such farmers.
G. Krishnakumar, who has around 15 cows, says he had installed large machines which could milk four cows at a time, but the electricity charges are too high.
Mr. Maliyakal points out the cluster approach as a solution to the dairy farmer’s woes. In this approach, cow or other animal rearing is considered as milk production unit, cow urine and cow dung and its various uses come under another unit, production of grass another unit, and selling of milk and milk products yet another unit. All these units will be independent but function as a single cluster, he says.

Friday, July 5, 2013

FSSAI claims 65% of NCDEX black pepper tested is adulterated

MUMBAI: The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India, an agency of the Health & Family Welfare Ministry, today said it has found traces of mineral oil in 60-65 per cent of the tested samples of the 6,500 tonnes pepper seized from warehouses of NCDEX in Kochi.  "We have tested 68 lots of pepper from the seized warehouses in Kerala and found 60-65 per cent of lots contain traces of mineral oil, which is not fit for human consumption," Commissioner of Food Safety, Kerala, Biju Prabhakar told PTI here.
The Food Safety and Security department of Kerala had sealed six NCDEX warehouses in Kochi which contained about 6,500 tonnes of pepper worth around Rs 300 crore, as it had found mineral oil adulteration after few sample checks. "There are a total of about 800 samples and the whole testing process is quite arduous. We are trying to speed it up and complete it within a month," Prabhakar said.
FSSAI is also in talks with Spices Board to work out the best possible solution to this crisis.
"The authority is yet to take a decision on whether to destroy the contaminated pepper or reprocess it to make it fit for human consumption," Prabhakar said, adding that the decision will be taken only after FSSAI officials' meeting with the Chairman of Spices Board next week.
The country produces nearly 65,000 tonnes of pepper and the seized quantity is 6,500 tonnes, a 10 per cent.
"The amount seized is quite big and destroying it will have huge impact on the lives of farmers and traders. Even though the FSSAI can independently decide if the pepper should be destroyed or reprocessed, we will consult with the Spices Board and then take a decision," he said.
Pepper futures have been temporarily halted on the NCDEX on alleged market manipulation by several brokers.
In May 2013, Food safety officers and officers of Spiecs Board based in Kochi had drawn samples from the sealed warehouses for analysis. The samples were drawn in presense of officers from NCDEX, NCMSL, JICS Logistics, and the physical market participants. These samples were tested at Spices Board laboratories. Mineral oil is termed as an adulterant under Food Safety and Securities Act.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Supreme Court asks state govts to curb sale of adulterated milk

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Tuesday expressed concern over the sale of adulterated milk in the country, saying it is a serious issue and action needs to be taken by the state governments to curb it.
"It is a very serious issue. There is no doubt that it is happening all over the country. What action is being taken by the government?" a bench of justices K S Radhakrishnan and Pinaki Chandra Ghose asked.
The bench directed the governments of Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Delhi to file their response stating what action they are taking to put an end to the menace of milk adulteration, after the Centre submitted that it is for the state governments to take action on the issue.
The court said that it would later on expand the ambit of the PIL to include all the states in the country on the issue. The bench posted the matter for hearing on July 31 and made it clear that no further time will be given to the states to file their submissions. The court also observed that the adulteration is because of gaps in demand and supply of milk. It was hearing a PIL filed by a group of citizens, led by Swami Achyutanand Tirth of Uttarakhand, who have alleged that synthetic and adulterated milk and milk products are prepared using urea, detergent, refined oil, caustic soda and white paint, which, according to studies, are "very hazardous" to human life and can cause diseases like cancer. Apart from a check on the sale of synthetic and adulterated milk and various dairy products, the PIL has also sought framing of a "comprehensive" policy on the production, supply and sale of healthy, hygienic and natural milk.
On October 21, last year, the Centre had informed the apex court that over 68 per cent of milk in the country does not conform to the standards set by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI). The Centre, in its submission, had referred to a survey conducted by FSSAI, which had found that over 68 per cent of the "non-conforming" milk was found in urban areas, 66 per cent of which was loose milk. According to the FSSAI's 2011 survey, the most common way of adulteration was found to be the addition of water, and the main reason for deviation from the standards was addition of glucose and skimmed milk powder. It had also found that some samples contained detergent.
The Centre's affidavit had also stated that over 83 per cent of the non-conforming milk in rural areas was found to be loose milk.
Source:http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com

Monday, July 1, 2013

Adulterated Food - The FDA Is The Problem

Lack of equipment, workers hits analytical laboratories

The government analysts of the laboratory have admitted that labs lacked trained staff and proper equipment required for its smooth functioning, which was delaying the test results. | EPS
The food safety officials across the state said slow and crippled functioning of regional analytical labs in Kozhikode, Thiruvananthapuram and Eranakulam, was a cause for concern as they delayed the test results of the samples submitted at the laboratories. The government analysts of the laboratory have admitted that labs lacked trained staff and proper equipment required for its smooth functioning, which was delaying the test results.Adding to the miseries, a majority of the equipment currently available in the labs are partly broken down. Further, the National Accreditation Board for Hospitals and Health Care Providers (NABH) has not accredited any of the four labs in Kerala, which include the regional analytical labs in Kozhikode, Thiruvananthapuram, Eranakulam and Pathanamthitta. The labs lack apparatuses such as high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), liquid chromatography mass spectrometry (LCMS), gas chromatography mass spectrometry (GCMS) and UV spectrophotometer, which are necessary for the diagnosis of pesticides, insecticides and for quantitative analysis of each parameter.
It is learnt that the safety officials were unable to initiate action against the traders who supply adulterated or contaminated food, mainly because of the poor test results from the labs that make it difficult for them to assess the level of organic or inorganic content present in the sample. “When we give a food sample, they say that a particular organic or inorganic matter is present in the sample. They will refuse to comment on any further questions on it. Some contents are permissible to a certain level, but beyond which would be hazardous. For want of proper test result, we cannot exactly gauge the quantity of the content,” said food safety officials. The officials said when they asked the lab authorities why they failed to come up with a detailed report of each food sample, they blamed it on poor facility and lack of trained staff in the testing rooms. “Last time, we gave some mangoes to assess the level of insecticides and pesticides in them. But, I haven’t received the results even after one month of submitting the samples, the officials said. “On an enquiry, they said, ‘A particular equipment meant to test the mangoes is not available with us’, and asked me to avail of the service of some private laboratory,” added the the officials.  At the Kozhikode Regional Laboratory a micro biologist post has been lying vacant for more than a year which makes the assessment of bacterial contamination in food items nearly impossible.
S T Thankachan, a government analyst in the laboratory, admitted that 50 per cent of the total staff are not trained. Besides, fund was not available to buy equipment to conduct tests.

Source:http://newindianexpress.com

FDA Maharashtra suspends 8 food and drug inspectors in six months for breaking rules

In the last six months, Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) Maharashtra suspended eight food and drug inspectors on various charges including taking bribes from businessmen. The latest to be suspended was Rajesh Namdeo Badhe, Akola-based food inspector, Rajesh Namdeo Badhe, who was trapped by the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) for demanded a bribe from a businessman based in the city for allegedly using prohibited colour in food items. Initially, he demanded Rs 40,000, but eventually settled for Rs 25,000. The food inspector was nabbed when the businessman approached the ACB.
Other food inspectors suspended for dereliction of duty included M P Bhoyewar, who seized a huge quantity of mangoes upon finding that chemicals were used to ripen them, and then returned the goods without taking action against the erring businessman. The FDA commissioner Mahesh Zagade warned the food safety officials of dire consquences if found guilty. He said, “Earlier the food inspectors and shop owners had no fear to break rules because the actions were not stringent. But now we are taking stringent action against any senior officials or shop owners who are indulged in any offence. We are determined to take strict action against any one who violates the rules.”