Saturday, November 29, 2014

Food Safety Helpline introduces Food Safety App for Android users

Food Safety Helpline has introduced a food safety mobile app, an application which is being introduced for the first time in India for the convenience of the food business operators in India to understand, learn and implement the requirements in compliance with Food Safety & Standards Act, 2006.

With a growing need of a source which has everything related to the FSSAI compliance needs, food business operators can now access all the latest updates and notifications regarding FSSAI regulations plus a self-inspection tool through the Food Safety Mobile App.

The mobile application will not only provide the information on FSSAI compliance needs, but will also feature food safety inspections for food businesses. The mobile app will assist the food business community, who are intending to operate with FSSAI regulations, with a traceability system at their premises.

Currently the mobile app is available only on the Android platform.

With Food Safety Inspection tool, one can:
  • do the audit through a mobile device
  • generate automated reports
  • save cost of hiring a professional firm for inspection
  • cover multiple locations of one's food business
  • identify the gaps in the system and can take corrective action

In God’s own country, laddu-jalebis won’t be the same ever again

What’s in a colour? A laddu without colour would taste as sweet (apologies to Shakespeare’s Juliet). Come next New Year’s Day, ‘bakeries’ across Kerala will make and sell only colourless laddus and jalebis.
The Bakers Association-Kerala (BAKE), which in 2008 ran a successful campaign against the use of artificial colours in Kerala’s famous banana chips, has asked its 15,000 members not to use any colouring agent in laddus and jalebis from January 1.
Some bakers have, without waiting for the New Year’s Day deadline, already started making the colourless ones. “This is a paradigm shift in our trade,” PM Shankaran, president of BAKE, told BusinessLine.
“We decided not to use colours in two of the most popular sweets, though approved colours upto 100 ppm are allowed by the law.” Colour has only a cosmetic role in laddus and jalebis, but most customers prefer the coloured ones. Kerala’s growing concern about the quality of the food it eats and the stringent measures of the Food Safety Authority are factors that have contributed to the BAKE decision.
Shankaran said they had taken note of the criticism from health experts that sweets with artificial colouring was one of the causes for the increasing incidence of cancer in the State.
“We don’t want to look like we’re serving food that is harmful to our customers’ health.” He noted that the motto of BAKE was ‘better taste through better hygiene’ and the industry had in the recent years undergone a makeover by setting up modern, hygienic shops and manufacturing units. BAKE had some six years back launched a ‘Say Goodbye to Colour’ drive. There are an estimated 20,000 bakeries in Kerala, though the concept of a bakery is slightly different here.
Fast growing Industry
They sell not just bread and cakes, but a variety of sweets, packaged and non-packaged food items, snacks, soft drinks and sometimes tea too.
Most bakeries look chic with modern interiors and tidy ambiences. In recent times, bakeries have sprouted across the State and the annual combined turnover is an estimated ₹1,000 crore. The new bakeries have given a boost to the home-based catering business and a sizeable chunk of the bakeries’ supplies comes from these tiny units. They have also helped save a number of traditional sweets and ethnic dishes.
“We are starting the ‘colourless’ campaign with two sweets now, but we will expand it to other sweets,” Shankaran says. “But, it all depends on customers’ response and the practical difficulties we face.” 

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Centre Sets Aside Proposed Changes to Food Safety Act

NEW DELHI: The changes proposed to Food Safety and Standards Act by the previous UPA Government was set aside by the NDA Government, which said fresh amendments would be brought in after further consultations.
The decision was taken at a meeting of the Union Cabinet, headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on Wednesday.
The UPA Government had proposed amendments to the Act to expand the composition of the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India.“The Cabinet gave its approval for withdrawing the Food Safety and Standards (Amendment) Bill, 2014, as introduced in the Rajya Sabha on 19.02.2014,” an official statement said.
The Food Safety and Standards (Amendment) Bill, 2014, needs to be further amended after taking into account the judgments of the Supreme Court, Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court and representations received by the government and other recent developments, it said.“Based on further examination, a fresh set of amendments will be finalised by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare,” the statement said.
The government also decided to adopt global convention of International Maritime Organisation to help sea vessels from India undertake international shipping activities without contacting other countries.
The amendments to the Merchant Shipping (Amendment) Bill, 2013, aimed at acceding to the Anti Fouling Systems (AFS) Convention 2001 of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), were also approved by the Union Cabinet. These amendments now require the  clearance of Parliament.The approval of the amendments would enable all Indian flag sea-going vessels having 400 gross tonnage or more to engage in international shipping activities without contacting other governments, who have ratified the convention for such certificates, after getting an International Anti-Fouling System Certificate.
There are no financial implications involved, a government release said after the Cabinet meeting. “Further, India will be able to ensure that all foreign flag vessels entering Indian territorial waters or exclusive economic zone are duly certified in accordance with the requirement of the AFS Convention 2001,” it said.