Thursday, August 29, 2013

FSOs have more tasks, but reduced powers and inadequate infrastructure

Source:http://www.fnbnews.comExactly two years after the implementation of the Food Safety and Standards Regulations, 2011, across the country, Food Safety Officers (FSOs), the personnel who make ensuring food safety possible by conducting raids, collecting samples and enabling punishment or fine in case of non-compliance, are a disillusioned lot. While the FSOs admit that the regulations have given them more teeth compared to the predecessor - the Prevention of Food Adulteration (PFA) Act, 1954 – they make no bones about the fact that though their responsibilities have increased multifold under the new regime, their powers have been reduced and work is hampered by lack of infrastructure such as offices and vehicles and absence of adequate number of personnel. FnB News takes a look at some of the states where FSOs are trying to do their duties while facing such issues:

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

A mere 4 food inspectors for Hyderabad’s 20,000 eateries

Jurisdiction: 625 sq. km. Population: 78 lakh plus. Eateries: 20,000 plus. And the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) has just four officers to ensure food safety under its jurisdiction.
Under the Food Safety & Standards Act, the city administration should have adequate number of food safety officers to monitor all food establishments, draw samples for analysis and surveillance, act against unsafe food and ensure that food poisoning or similar such episodes do not occur.
However, against a team of officials with the required assisting staff and other paraphernalia, the GHMC has just four officers. According to Corporation estimates, there are more than 20,000 eateries of varying scope, from roadside pushcart vendors to star hotels. Add to them, other facilities such as school and college hostel canteens, working men and women hostels and canteens at government offices, and the list goes on.
“We are expected to monitor all these facilities and ensure that food and water are proper, that there is no contamination or poisoning, that kitchens and serving areas are clean and hygienic, and that no stale food is being dished out,” says a senior official.
He asks, “Yes, we have to do all of this. But can only four officials with little or no support staff do it?”
The Corporation has been looking forward to having more food safety officers on its rolls. It was also decided to have an officer each for its 18 circles. Even staff strengthening seems a distant possibility, say senior officials.
“It might take a year, two years or more also. We do not know,” says a health and sanitation wing official.
The shortage of staff is obvious from the fact that though the city has such a large number of eateries, Food Inspectors could book only 45 cases in 2010, 54 in 2011 and 135 in 2012. Additional Commissioner (Health & Sanitation) L.Vandan Kumar concedes staff shortage and says that the Corporation is hoping to get 18 Circle-wise officers soon.
“For now, we are focusing on areas with heavy concentration of eateries. Weekly targets are given to our officers, and review held at the weekend,” he says.
Canteens at school and college hostels have been listed out for inspection next week.
“We have some complaints, and we intend acting on them,” Mr. Kumar says.
Incidentally, the civic administration of a happening city like Hyderabad does not even have a laboratory of its own to test food samples collected during raids, forcing it to depend on other institutions.

NCDEX denies liabilities concerning 900-tonne adulterated black pepper

Under pressure from Kerala's food safety commissioner Biju Prabhakar over the alleged adulteration of black pepper, the National Commodities and Derivatives Exchange (NCDEX) – one of India's leading agricultural bourses – stated that it does not have any liability regarding stocks of the spice. The exchange added that it is not liable for non-compliance by any member and market participant with all applicable laws on the underlying commodity either.

“NCDEX merely provides a platform for trading in forward contracts, and does not own, deposit or deal with the goods in the warehouses,” the exchange, which has sought official permission to remove the mineral oil coating from the 900-tonne-stock, valued at approximately Rs 350 crore, said, adding that the removal of the adulterant by the holders of the stock and market participants would be in the best interests of the industry, as it would improve the quality of the spice.
The bourse – which is headquartered in Mumbai and promoted by a consortium of shareholders, including the National Stock Exchange of India (NSE), ICICI Bank, the Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) and the National Bank for Agricultural and Rural Development (NABARD) – stated that it has always ensured that the delivery of every commodity is in accordance with its contract specifications.

Seizures in Kerala
Prabhakar recently ordered the exchange to destroy the aforementioned stock of black pepper, and following seizures at six warehouses located in two districts of the southern state (Alappuzha and Ernakulam), those trading in the spice on the exchange made representations to the Forward Markets Commission (FMC) – the commodity market regulator – and the bourse, demanding that either valid goods be delivered to them or the value of the spice be reimbursed.

NCDEX confirmed that the pepper stocks were seized after buyers complained that they contained mineral oil, and added that the warehouses in Kerala were accredited by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), the country's apex food regulator. Since then, FSSAI has been testing the stock with the help of NCDEX and the Spices Board India, and ordered the destruction of 93 lots containing traces of mineral oil.

About 6,000 tonne black pepper was sealed. Prabhakar, who sealed the warehouses, issued a notice to the bourse, stating that it ensure that the spice does not enter the market. Spices Board India was entrusted with the task of examining the black pepper samples. Following the order, NCDEX claimed that the owners were urged to take up the matter with FSSAI and take appropriate action. The lots that meet the standards set by the regulator will be returned to their owners.

Most of the stocks in the godowns sealed by FSSAI were bought by the holders in off-market transactions outside the NCDEX platform. However, the bourse was informed by some industry players that farmers and traders engaged in the cultivation, production and trading of pepper adopt various methods to preserve the spice, including adding a small amount of mineral oil. This is later removed by  steaming.

The adulterant
According to the Prevention of Food Adulteration (PFA) Act, 1954 [which preceded the Food Safety and Standards Act (FSSA), 2006], the use of any mineral oil in pepper is prohibited. The mineral oil used to adulterate black pepper is made of burnt diesel, paraffin oil, white petroleum and other petroleum products, which are neither digestible nor soluble. When black pepper is coated with this adulterant, it becomes unfit for human consumption and could even be carcinogenic.

Hearing in Indore
On September 17, 2013, the Indore Bench of the Madhya Pradesh High Court will hear a petition filed by the Kalimirch Vyapari Association, a body that represents traders who have incurred huge losses owing to the non-delivery of black pepper by the National Commodities and Derivatives Exchange. The members of the association have reportedly purchased the spice on the bourse by paying a sum of Rs 350 crore. 

Source:http://www.fnbnews.com

Saturday, August 24, 2013

After a wait of seven months, FSSAI gets CEO in Dilip Kumar Samantaray

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), which was operating without chief executive officer (CEO) for the last seven months, finally got one in Dilip Kumar Samantaray, an Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer of 1983 batch from Madhya Pradesh.
He was appointed by ministry of health and family welfare under a suggestion from the Madhya Pradesh
government as CEO on July 1, 2013, and took charge on August 5, 2013, according to sources in FSSAI. Earlier, the post was occupied by S N Mohanty, who left it amid a lot of speculation at the beginning of 2013. He is now director-general, supplies and disposal in the ministry of commerce and industry.
The source from FSSAI revealed, “Samantaray is very strict in his work and after taking the charge of FSSAI CEO on August 5, 2013, he has been planning to bring about a lot of changes. He is working on the steps to be taken for the completion of licensing and registration of food business operators well before the deadline – February 4, 2014.” 

Crackdown on sale of adulterated milk soon

There is a question mark over the quality and standard of the milk sold in the city. Authorities are checking out complaints received from the public over the sale of adulterated milk.
J.Suguna, Designated Officer for Food Safety, Madurai district, told The Hindu on Friday that raids would be carried out at milk manufacturing and selling points across the city.
“Private dairies, retail suppliers and those who are selling milk packets under different brand names will have to follow Food Safety Standards. There are quality norms governing the production and distribution of branded as well as unbranded milk, and Food Safety Inspectors will start inspection from Monday,” she said.
Milk samples will be collected and sent to the Food Analysis Laboratory to check for the presence of toxic chemicals, additives, starch and whiteners, apart from high levels of water.
Ms.Suguna said Food Safety Wing officials recently caught a popular bakery in Kochadai selling bread and other bakery items past their expiry date.
Eateries, restaurants and other food outlets have been asked to obtain mandatory certification by February 2014, she pointed out.
“So far, we have issued 1,800 licences and about 7,000 registration certificates. Nearly 9,000 food business operators are yet to get food safety clearance from us,” Dr.Suguna said.

Pesticide residue found in rice

Excessive amounts of Malathion, a general use pesticide, have been detected in a rice sample collected for inspection from the Food Corporation of India godown at Valiyathura here.
Traces of uric acid, indicating presence of pests, were also found in three to four samples, of a total of nine samples that were collected in raids conducted on August 1.
According to Food Safety officials, the presence of Malathion was detected during tests conducted at the Pesticide Residue Research and Analytical Laboratory of the Kerala Agricultural College at Vellayani here while traces of uric acid, which were in amounts that made the rice and wheat grains ‘unfit for consumption’, were found in tests at the Government Analyst Laboratory, Thiruvananthapuram.
Officials said the FCI staff had admitted that they used pesticides such as Malathion, DDVP, and Deltamethrine to keep away pests.
“Apparently, the quantity they used was much above stipulated limits, which is why Malathion could be detected in the grains though it was sprayed over the sacks in which the grains are stored. The concentration was very high,” officials said.
The Food Safety Department will shortly submit a report on the issue to the State and Union governments. However, action might be initiated only after Onam, officials indicated, adding that more intensive raids and elaborate examination of samples would be taken up after Onam at the godown and other similar food grain storage installations in the capital district.
Incidentally, the raids on August 1, during which the contaminated samples were collected, had witnessed unruly scenes when FCI employees and loading workers refused to let the Food Safety officials in.
The raid was conducted after the Valiyathura police intervened and both the Food Safety Department and the police had booked cases in connection with the incident.
Source:http://www.thehindu.com

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Food poisoning in Marusagar Express

ട്രെയിന്‍ ഭക്ഷണം: ഭക്ഷ്യ സുരക്ഷാ വിഭാഗത്തിന്റെ നിര്‍ദേശം അവണിച്ചു

തിരുവനന്തപുരം : ട്രെയിനുകളില്‍ വിതരണം ചെയ്യുന്ന ഭക്ഷണത്തിന്റെ ഗുണനിലവാര പരിശോധന കര്‍ശനമാക്കണമെന്ന ഭക്ഷ്യസുരക്ഷാ വിഭാഗത്തിന്റെ നിര്‍ദേശം റയില്‍വേ അവഗണിച്ചു. ടെയിനുകളിലെ ഭക്ഷണം മോശമാണെന്ന വ്യാപക പരാതികളെത്തുടര്‍ന്നു കഴിഞ്ഞ ജനുവരിയിലാണു ഭക്ഷ്യസുരക്ഷാ കമ്മിഷണര്‍ ദക്ഷിണ റയില്‍വേ ജനറല്‍ മാനേജര്‍ക്കു കത്ത് നല്‍കിയത്. എന്നാല്‍, ഈ നിര്‍ദേശം അവഗണിക്കപ്പെട്ടതാണു മരുസാഗര്‍ ഉള്‍പ്പെടെയുള്ള ട്രെയിനുകളിലെ ഭക്ഷ്യവിഷബാധയ്ക്കു കാരണമായത്. വൃത്തിഹീനമായ സാഹചര്യത്തിലാണു പാന്‍ട്രികളില്‍ ഭക്ഷണം തയാറാക്കുന്നതെന്നും ഇതു സംബന്ധിച്ചു പരിശോധന നടത്തണമെന്നുമായിരുന്നു ഭക്ഷ്യസുരക്ഷാ കമ്മിഷണറുടെ കത്തിലെ ആവശ്യം. ഒട്ടേറെ പരാതികള്‍ ലഭിക്കുന്നുണ്ടെങ്കിലും റയില്‍വേ സ്‌റ്റേഷനുകളിലും ട്രെയിനുകളിലും പരിശോധന നടത്താന്‍ സംസ്ഥാന ഭക്ഷ്യസുരക്ഷാ വിഭാഗത്തിന് അധികാരമില്ലാത്തതുകൊണ്ടാണ് ഇക്കാര്യങ്ങള്‍ റയില്‍വേയുടെ ശ്രദ്ധയില്‍പ്പെടുത്തിയത്. 
Source:http://www.manoramaonline.com

ഭക്ഷ്യവിഷബാധ ആവര്‍ത്തിക്കുന്നു: സര്‍ക്കാര്‍ നിസംഗതയില്‍

ഭക്ഷ്യസുരക്ഷാ ഭീഷണി വീണ്ടും ശക്തമാകുമ്പോള്‍ സര്‍ക്കാര്‍ പതിവ് നിസംഗതയില്‍. സംസ്ഥാനത്ത് ഭക്ഷ്യവിഷബാധ കാരണം മരണം സംഭവിച്ച് നാളുകളായിട്ടും ഇതുവരെ ആവശ്യത്തിന് നടപടിയെടുക്കാതെ വീണ്ടുമൊരു ദുരന്തത്തിന് കാക്കുകയാണ് സര്‍ക്കാര്‍. ഭക്ഷ്യസുരക്ഷ നിലവാര നിയമം പൂര്‍ണമായും നടപ്പാക്കാന്‍പോലും ഇതുവരെയായിട്ടില്ല. ജീവനക്കാരുടെ സ്ഥിതിയും വ്യത്യസ്തമല്ല. സംസ്ഥാനത്താകെ 140 ഫുഡ് സേഫ്റ്റി ഓഫീസര്‍ തസ്തികയാണുള്ളത്. ഇതില്‍ 60 തസ്തിക ഒഴിഞ്ഞുകിടക്കുന്നു. നിലവിലുള്ളവരില്‍ ചില ജീവനക്കാര്‍ അവധിയിലാണ്. എംഎസ്സി കെമിസ്ട്രിയാണ് ഫുഡ് സേഫ്റ്റി ഓഫീസറാകാനുള്ള യോഗ്യത. നിലവില്‍ ഒഴിവുകള്‍ പിഎസ്സിക്ക് റിപ്പോര്‍ട്ട് ചെയ്തിട്ടുണ്ടെങ്കിലും തുടര്‍ നടപടികളുണ്ടായില്ലെന്ന് ഉദ്യോഗസ്ഥര്‍ പറയുന്നു. കാസര്‍കോട് ജില്ലയില്‍ നിലവില്‍ രണ്ട് ഒഴിവുണ്ട്. ഒരെണ്ണത്തില്‍ ഓഫീസറുണ്ടെങ്കിലും അവധിയിലാണ്. മലപ്പുറം ജില്ലയിലെ ഉദ്യോഗസ്ഥനാണ് ഇയാളുടെ ചുമതല വഹിക്കുന്നത്. കണ്ണൂര്‍ ജില്ലയുടെ ചുമതലകൂടി ഇദ്ദേഹത്തിനുണ്ട്. ജീവനക്കാരുടെ അഭാവം നടപടികളില്‍ കാലതാമസമുണ്ടാക്കുന്നു. ഭക്ഷ്യ സാമ്പികളുടെ പരിശോധനക്ക് നിയമപ്രകാരമുള്ള ലബോറട്ടറികള്‍ ഇനിയും യാഥാര്‍ഥ്യമായിട്ടില്ല. മോശമായ ഭക്ഷണമാണെങ്കില്‍ ഇതിനുത്തരവാദികളായവര്‍ക്ക് തടവും പിഴയും വിധിക്കാന്‍ അധികാരമുള്ള സ്‌പെഷ്യല്‍ കോടതികളും ആരംഭിച്ചിട്ടില്ല. ഭക്ഷണം മോശമാണെങ്കില്‍ അഞ്ചുലക്ഷം രൂപ വരെ പിഴ ഈടാക്കാനുള്ള അധികാരം അഡ്ജുഡിക്കേറ്റുമാര്‍ക്കുണ്ട്. നിലവില്‍ എഡിഎമ്മാണ് അഡ്ജുഡിക്കേറ്റര്‍. ഇവര്‍ക്ക് ഇതിനായുള്ള സമയക്രമം നിശ്ചയിച്ച് നല്‍കാനാകാത്തതും പ്രയാസമുണ്ടാക്കുന്നു. 
Source:http://www.deshabhimani.com/newscontent.php?id=341037

ട്രെയിനിലെ ഭക്ഷ്യവിഷബാധ: പാന്‍ട്രികാര്‍ സീല്‍ ചെയ്യുന്നതില്‍ വീഴ്ച സംഭവിച്ചതായി റിപ്പോര്‍ട്ട്

കാസര്‍കോട് * ഭക്ഷ്യവിഷബാധയുണ്ടായ അജ്‌മേര്‍ - എറണാകുളം മരുസാഗര്‍ എക്‌സ്പ്രസ് ട്രെയിനിലെ പാന്‍ട്രികാര്‍ സീല്‍ ചെയ്യുന്നതില്‍ ഗുരുതര വീഴ്ചയെന്ന് അന്വേഷണ സംഘത്തിന്റെ വിലയിരുത്തല്‍. അന്‍പതിലേറെപ്പേര്‍ക്ക് ഭക്ഷ്യവിഷബാധയുണ്ടായി മണിക്കൂറുകള്‍ക്കു ശേഷവും കേസ് റജിസ്റ്റര്‍ ചെയ്യാനോ ഭക്ഷണ സാംപിളുകള്‍ ശേഖരിക്കാനോ റയില്‍വേ അധികൃതര്‍ തയാറായില്ല. ഇതേത്തുടര്‍ന്നു പഴകിയ ഭക്ഷണസാധനങ്ങള്‍ നശിപ്പിച്ചതായും റയില്‍വേ ആരോഗ്യവിഭാഗം അധികൃതരും ആര്‍പിഎഫും ഉള്‍പ്പെടുന്ന അന്വേഷണ സംഘം വിലയിരുത്തുന്നു.

17നു ട്രെയിന്‍ ഗോവയില്‍ എത്തിയപ്പോഴാണ് ആദ്യം ഭക്ഷ്യവിഷബാധ റിപ്പോര്‍ട്ട് ചെയ്തത്. യാത്രക്കാര്‍ക്ക് ഛര്‍ദിയും വയറിളക്കവും അനുഭവപ്പെട്ടതിനെത്തുടര്‍ന്ന് റയില്‍വേ അധികൃതരോട് പരാതിപ്പെട്ടെങ്കിലും നടപടിയുണ്ടായില്ല. തുടര്‍ന്ന് മംഗലാപുരം കങ്കനാടി റയില്‍വേ സ്‌റ്റേഷനില്‍ എത്തിയതോടെ യാത്രക്കാര്‍ റയില്‍വേ അധികൃതര്‍ക്കു രേഖാമൂലം പരാതി നല്‍കിയെങ്കിലും വിശദപരിശോധന നടന്നില്ല. ടിടിഇ ഉള്‍പ്പെടെയുള്ളവര്‍ പാന്‍ട്രികാറില്‍  എത്തിയെങ്കിലും ഭക്ഷണസാംപിളുകള്‍ പരിശോധനയ്ക്കായി ശേഖരിച്ചില്ല. പിന്നീട് ട്രെയിന്‍ കാസര്‍കോട് റയില്‍വേ സ്‌റ്റേഷനില്‍ എത്തിയപ്പോള്‍ ജില്ലാ ആരോഗ്യവകുപ്പ് അധികൃതരുടെ നേതൃത്വത്തില്‍ പാന്‍ട്രികാറില്‍ നിന്നു ഭക്ഷണസാംപിളുകള്‍ ശേഖരിക്കുകയായിരുന്നു. ഇതേത്തുടര്‍ന്ന് റയില്‍വേ ഫുഡ് സേഫ്റ്റി വിഭാഗം അധികൃതരും സാംപിള്‍ ശേഖരിച്ചു.  ട്രെയിന്‍ ഷൊര്‍ണൂര്‍ സ്‌റ്റേഷനില്‍ എത്തിയപ്പോഴും സാംപിള്‍ ശേഖരിച്ചു.

എന്നാല്‍ പാന്‍ട്രികാര്‍ ജീവനക്കാര്‍ ഇതിനകം പഴകിയ ഭക്ഷണം നശിപ്പിച്ചിട്ടുണ്ടാകുമെന്നാണ് അന്വേഷണ സംഘം വിലയിരുത്തുന്നത്. ഭക്ഷ്യവിഷബാധ കണ്ടെത്തിയ ഉടന്‍ തന്നെ പാന്‍ട്രികാറില്‍ നിന്ന് സാംപിള്‍ ശേഖരിച്ച ശേഷം സീല്‍ ചെയ്യണമെന്നാണ് ചട്ടം. എന്നാല്‍ അന്‍പതിലേറെ യാത്രക്കാരെ ആശുപത്രിയില്‍ പ്രവേശിപ്പിച്ചിട്ടും ട്രെയിന്‍ എറണാകുളം എത്തുന്നതു വരെ പാന്‍ട്രികാര്‍ പൂട്ടിയിരുന്നില്ല. വെജിറ്റബിള്‍ ബിരിയാണിയും ഓംലറ്റും കഴിച്ചവര്‍ക്കാണ് അസ്വസ്ഥത അനുഭവപ്പെട്ടതെന്ന് കണ്ടെത്തിയതിനെത്തുടര്‍ന്ന് ഇവ രണ്ടും ഒഴിവാക്കി മറ്റു ഭക്ഷണം വിതരണം ചെയ്തതും കുറ്റകരമാണെന്നാണ് അന്വേഷണ സംഘം വിലയിരുത്തുന്നത്. ജയ്പൂര്‍ ആസ്ഥാനമായി പ്രവര്‍ത്തിക്കുന്ന എബിസി കേറ്ററേഴ്‌സ് എന്ന സ്വകാര്യ കമ്പനിക്കായിരുന്നു ട്രെയിനിലെ പാന്‍ട്രികാര്‍ പ്രവര്‍ത്തിപ്പിക്കാന്‍ കരാര്‍ എടുത്തത് . സംഭവത്തെത്തുടര്‍ന്നു കരാര്‍ താല്‍ക്കാലികമായി റദ്ദാക്കാന്‍ റയില്‍വേ അധികൃതര്‍ നിര്‍ദേശം നല്‍കിയിട്ടുണ്ട്.

ജില്ലാ ആരോഗ്യ വകുപ്പ് വിഭാഗവും ശേഖരിച്ച ഭക്ഷണ സാംപിളുകള്‍ വിദഗ്ധ പരിശോധനയ്ക്കായി  കോഴിക്കോട്ടെ അനാലിറ്റിക്കല്‍ ലാബില്‍ പരിശോധിക്കും. റയില്‍വേ ഫുഡ് സേഫ്റ്റി അധികൃതര്‍ ശേഖരിച്ച സാംപിള്‍ മൈസൂരിലെയോ ഹൈദരാബാദിലെയോ ലാബുകളിലാവും പരിശോധിക്കുക.
പരിശോധനാ റിപ്പോര്‍ട്ട് ലഭിച്ച ശേഷം തുടര്‍നടപടികള്‍ക്കായി കേസ് നോര്‍ത്ത് - വെസ്‌റ്റേണ്‍ റയില്‍വേയ്ക്ക് കൈമാറാനാണ് ദക്ഷിണ റയില്‍വേ അധികൃതരുടെ തീരുമാനം.

പരാതിപ്പെടാന്‍ ടോള്‍ഫ്രീ നമ്പരും ഇ-മെയിലും 
മുംബൈ * പാന്‍ട്രിയിലെ ഭക്ഷണത്തെക്കുറിച്ചുള്ള പരാതി ട്രെയിനില്‍ ടിടിഇയെ അറിയിക്കാം. കണ്ടക്ടര്‍ ഓഫ് ദ് ട്രെയിന്‍ ആയി പരിഗണിക്കപ്പെടുന്ന ഏറ്റവും മുതിര്‍ന്ന ടിടിഇ, പാന്‍ട്രി കാര്‍ മാനേജര്‍, ഗാര്‍ഡ്, സ്‌റ്റേഷന്‍ മാനേജര്‍ തുടങ്ങിയവരുടെ പക്കലുള്ള പരാതിപ്പുസ്തകം ഏതു സമയത്തും യാത്രക്കാര്‍ക്ക് ആവശ്യപ്പെടാം. സ്‌റ്റേഷനുകളിലെ റിഫ്രഷ്‌മെന്റ് റൂമുകളിലും പരാതിപ്പുസ്തകമുണ്ട്. പരാതിക്കൊപ്പം പിഎന്‍ആര്‍ നമ്പര്‍, പേര്, സീറ്റ് നമ്പര്‍, ട്രെയിന്‍ നമ്പര്‍, തീയതി, പൂര്‍ണ മേല്‍വിലാസം തുടങ്ങിയവ രേഖപ്പെടുത്തണം. ഇതിനു പുറമെ, 1800 111 139 എന്ന ടോള്‍ ഫ്രീ നമ്പരിലും  x എന്ന ഇ മെയിലിലും പരാതികള്‍ അറിയിക്കാം്. എന്നാല്‍ ലഭ്യമായ സൗകര്യങ്ങള്‍ യാത്രക്കാര്‍ പലപ്പോഴും അറിയുന്നില്ലെന്നതാണു വസ്തുത.

ട്രെയിനുകളിലും സ്‌റ്റേഷനുകളിലും മികച്ച ഭക്ഷണം ഉറപ്പാക്കാന്‍ റയില്‍വേ നല്‍കുന്ന നിര്‍ദേശങ്ങള്‍ ഇപ്രകാരം:
* കോച്ച് അറ്റന്‍ഡന്റിനോ കണ്ടക്ടര്‍ക്കോ വെയ്റ്റര്‍ക്കോ നേരത്തെ തന്നെ ഓര്‍ഡര്‍ നല്‍കുക.
* പണം നല്‍കുമ്പോള്‍ ക്യാഷ് മെമ്മോ ആവശ്യപ്പെടുക.
* മെനു, താരിഫ് കാര്‍ഡുകള്‍ ശ്രദ്ധിക്കുക.
Source:http://www.manoramaonline.com/cgi-bin/MMonline.dll/portal/ep/malayalamContentView.do?channelId=-1073751706&programId=1074439323&contentId=14813059&BV_ID=@@@tabId=11

Friday, August 9, 2013

Food department officials crack down on hostel kitchens

CHENNAI: Private hostels serving unhygienic food will get the boot if the food safety department has its way. Acting on complaints from various parts of the city, the department began raids on hostel kitchens on Thursday.  District food safety officer S Lakshmi Narayan said that they conducted surprise inspections in various hostels in Saidapet and T Nagar. "It was shocking that most private hostels are in a bad condition and serve poor quality food". TOI had recently highlighted the lack of quality food and hygiene in the private hostels in the city. During the raid, officials found that many hostels serve substandard food and water, posing health risks. Other conditions in these hostels were also found to be bad. "Some 16 people were staying in a crammed room in bunker beds without adequate space. There aren't enough toilets for the residents. We have issued notices to these hostels and asked them to improve the quality of food and the living conditions in 15 days. If they don't comply, we will take action," the officer added. Many professionals and students from different parts of the country stay in hostels as they provide cheap accommodation, but there are several complaints about the quality of food. "I don't have the money to pay 12-month rental advance and broker commission for a flat. The hostel owner prepares food for only 25 people, though 35 live here. The quality of food is pathetic," said Anita Rajendran, a resident of a private hostel in Saidapet. "If we complain, they ask us to leave the hostel."
Chennai corporation doesn't monitor the functioning and facilities of hostels. Sources said people who run five to ten hostels in various parts of the city have a centralised kitchen. "Food material is sometimes transported in unsealed containers, and they can get contaminated," said an employee of a private hostel in West CIT Nagar. Residents often have no choice as the monthly rent of about 6,500 is always inclusive of the food.
Source:http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com

Inedible oil flows to Kochi

Kochi: With Onam just a couple of weeks away come rep­orts that huge quantities of inedible and discarded oil from Tamil Nadu is  being widely used  to make the snacks so much in demand during the festival  in bakeries and eateries across the city. The oil transported on trains is allegedly sold to the eateries for as little as Rs. 30 a litre, and so  usually has many buyers. “Except a few, all other bakeries and eateries in the city  no longer prepare their own snacks , but buy them in bulk from catering centres like those in Palluruthy, Edappally and Vypeen, which generously use the cheap oil. And as there is no mechanism to monitor their hygiene  or the ingredients they use they get away with it,” said a trader, adding that the oil trade lobby does brisk business during the festival season, when  chips and fried snacks fly off the shelves of eateries.“With Onam  just a couple of weeks away, there  is a boom in the sale of chips. The authorities need to take stringent measures to prevent the use of substandard cooking oil for making them and other delicacies,” underlined CPM councillor in the corporation council,  P. S. Prakash.While food safety officers and the corporation’s health department appear to be  turning a blind eye to the major public heal­th hazard that the sale of such eatables constitutes,  district food safety officer,  Ajith Ku­mar, when contacted, clai­med he had received no complaints about substandard oil being used by catering centres in the city.“Although we’ve not re­c­eived any reports about substandard oil arriving in Kerala, we will do an intensive check at railway stations and other entry points,” he promised.
Source:http://www.deccanchronicle.com

Friday, August 2, 2013

Baba Ramdev ashram's products declared sub-standard

| Video | Baba Ramdev ashram's products declared sub-standard | India Videos | - India Today

Smartphone cradle, app detect toxins, bacteria in food

The handheld biosensor was developed by researchers at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. A series of lenses and filters in the cradle mirror those found in larger, more expensive laboratory devices. Together, the cradle and app transform a smartphone into a tool that can detect toxins and bacteria, spot water contamination and identify allergens in food. Afraid there may be peanuts or other allergens hiding in that cookie? Thanks to a cradle and app that turn your smartphone into a handheld biosensor, you may soon be able to run on-the-spot tests for food safety, environmental toxins, medical diagnostics and more.Kenny Long, a graduate researcher at the university, says the team was able to make the smartphone even smarter with modifications to the cellphone camera.

Tension prevails as FCI staff prevent Food Safety officials from entering godown at Valiathura

A raid by Food Safety officials at the Food Corporation of India (FCI) godown at Valiathura here on Thursday witnessed unruly scenes when FCI employees and loading workers refused to let the officials in. The raid could be conducted only after the Valiathura police intervened.Both the Food Safety Department and the police booked cases in connection with the incident and samples were collected from the godown with the help of the police.The cases were registered on charges of obstructing officials from discharging their duties and under Section 62 of the Food Safety and Standards Act. The raid was part of a State-wide drive, triggered by ‘widespread’ complaints over the quality of foodgrain supplied through the Public Distribution System of the State. Ration shops, Maveli stores, Labham supermarkets, Nanma supermarkets, Consumerfed stores, and FCI godowns were inspected by special squads led by the respective District Food Safety Officer as part of the drive in all 14 districts, an official release issued here said.On Thursday, 35 samples were collected from 46 ration shops, and 41 Maveli, Nanma, and Labham outlets.The samples will be sent for analysis. Punitive action as per relevant sections of the Food Safety and Standards Act will be taken wherever necessary, the release said. The raids, according to Food Safety Commissioner Biju Prabhakar, will continue and the focus will be on whether the foodgrain and items sold in these outlets are stored in a proper manner and in hygienic conditions.