Friday, July 22, 2016

FSSAI to test packaging for toxins release; new packaging standards soon

The apex food regulator FSSAI has sought a surveillance plan from the Indian Institute of Packaging (IIP) with regards to testing the packaging material used in food products so that the risk of toxins released in the food could be mitigated. Currently FSSAI is examining the plan and will hold discussions for its possible implementation. Further FSSAI has plans to come up with packaging standards apart from the existing BIS standards.

Pawan Agarwal, CEO, FSSAI, speaking to FnB news said that it was being done to determine the safety of the material used for food packaging and how the material reacted when it came in contact with the food. “We have asked the IIP to suggest a surveillance plan for checking the safety of the material used for food packs. We’re currently examining the same and soon we will take a decision in the matter,” he said.

This move is in-line with ensuring safety of food and such policy will enable FSSAI to keep an eye on the packaging. Apart from the testing done by Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), FSSAI is set to test the packaging standards of foodmakers. Testing will be carried on packets, bottles, cans or wrappers to see whether or not they release toxins into the food under different temperatures and conditions.

According to the officials of FSSAI, this will help FSSAI to bring down the percentage of the food contaminated due to migration from the packaging material. The FSSAI will conduct research before finalising their own set of guidelines.

The officials further stated that the new standards were expected to increase the frequency of checks and make companies more accountable. FSSAI wants manufacturers to make the packaging process more transparent.

FSSAI will also ask the states to follow the norms and domestic and multinational food giants will be checked.

Meanwhile, the industry welcomed the move saying that it would help the industry in checking any contamination while the smaller FBOs will be able to identify better packaging material for their products.

“The industry has experienced the issue of migration since the packaging was developed. There are certain parameters to avoid migration risks. A crucial component which has to be taken care while procuring raw materials for packaging a food product is statement of composition (SoC). This statement has a tabulated format of migration patterns of the material which is supplied. A detailed note of possible migrants is mentioned in the statement. Also, the worst case scenarios are mentioned statistically. There are even other systems to ensure safety, the food product should be taken into consideration while choosing the packaging material,” said Neelakamal Mohapatra, head, food processing technology development, Siegwerk India Pvt. Ltd, Rajasthan.

He added, “The new standards will be helpful for small manufacturers while choosing the materials as the migration levels will be mentioned already in the standards. This is a good move which will help small players on a larger scale. If they will be properly educated it will save their costs in incurred in testing on a larger scale.”

FSSAI to exempt traders supplying farm produce from quality accountability

Food Safety & Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has decided to exempt traders who deal in supply of farm produce (particularly grain and pulses) to the food processing industry from being held responsible for the quality of the produce. In this regard, traders who trade in mandis and procure raw material from farmers had alleged harassment at the hands of food safety officials on account of quality of the raw produce.

However, now, the FSSAI has issued an office order, which states that the apex food regulator has amended the rules with regards to enforcement in mandis wherein a provision has been added to the regulation 2.4.6 of Food Safety & Standards (Food Product Standard and Food Additives) Amendment Regulations, 2016, relating to food grains Clause 15. An additional Clause 16 was proposed to be added with respect to unprocessed whole raw pulses – not for direct human consumption.

FSSAI officials reveal that this proposal has already been operationalised with effect from April 13 this year.

“This would prevent avoidable harassment or prosecution of such traders who are procuring raw agricultural produce directly from farmers and selling the raw agricultural produce for further processing. The analysis of such samples when taken would be tested against the standards of raw produce. This is in line with the belief of FSSAI that sampling of primary food should only be encouraged where the same is being sold for direct human consumption,” states the order.

FSSAI has received several representations from various trade associations against enforcement activities undertaken against traders engaged in procuring raw agricultural produce directly from farmers and selling the same for further processing. The traders in mandis were held responsible for quality of the agricultural commodities produced by farmers.

But FSSAI officials admitted that the authority had limited scope in ensuring best farm practices while the department of animal husbandry, agriculture cooperation and farmers welfare and their respective departments in states had the responsibility to ensure that.


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കോഴിക്കോട് പലഹാരങ്ങള്‍ നിര്‍മ്മിക്കുന്നത് വൃത്തിഹീനമായ സാഹചര്യത്തില്‍

കോഴിക്കോട്: കോഴിക്കോട് നഗരത്തില്‍ പലഹാരങ്ങള്‍ നിര്‍മ്മിക്കുന്നത് വൃത്തിഹീനമായ സാഹചര്യത്തിലാണെന്ന് ഭക്ഷ്യ സുരക്ഷ വകുപ്പിന്റെ കണ്ടെത്തല്‍. പലഹാര നിര്‍മ്മാണത്തിന് ചീഞ്ഞളിഞ്ഞ വസ്തുക്കള്‍ ഉപയോഗിക്കുന്നതായും തെളിഞ്ഞു. കോഴിക്കോട് ഒരു ദിനം നിര്‍മ്മിക്കുന്നത് ഒരു ലക്ഷത്തോളം പലഹാരങ്ങളാണെന്നാണ് ഭക്ഷ്യ സുരക്ഷ വകുപ്പിന്റെ കണക്ക്.മൊത്തമായി നിര്‍മിക്കുന്നത് പത്തോളം സ്ഥാപനങ്ങളിലാണ്. പലതവണ അടച്ചു പൂട്ടാന്‍ നോട്ടീസ് നല്‍കിയിട്ടും പാലിക്കാത്ത സ്ഥാപനങ്ങള്‍ക്ക് എതിരെ നിയമനടപടി സ്വീകരിക്കാനാണ് ഭക്ഷ്യ വകുപ്പിന്റെ തീരുമാനം.
പാളയത്ത് ബോണ്ടയടക്കം നിര്‍മ്മിക്കുന്ന കേന്ദ്രത്തില്‍ ചീഞ്ഞ ഉരുളക്കിഴങ്ങുകള്‍ കൊണ്ടാണ് പലഹാരങ്ങള്‍ നിര്‍മിക്കുന്നത്. ദുര്‍ഗന്ധം വമിക്കുന്ന ഉരുളക്കിഴങ്ങുകള്‍ കൂട്ടിയിട്ടിരുക്കുകയാണ്. 

Silver leaf made from animal parts banned

Ahmedabad: Silver foil, seen atop various sweetmeats at sweet shops, is now comming under the scanner. Following the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) notification, the making of silver foil (chandi varakh) with the use of animal parts or products has been banned from August 1 this year. A subsequent notification has been brought out by the state-level food and drugs department and executed across Gujarat.

Fine silver foil or silver leaf, is used to decorate sweets and traditional desserts and spices such as cardamom and sweet paan. They are manufactured mostly in traditional units where the silver is placed between layers of animal intestine obtained from slaughterhouses, and then hammered into a fine foil. "There has to be a clear distinction between silver leaf made in traditional factories and those manufactured using machines," says a senior AMC official.

The FSSAI issued a gazette notification Tuesday that said: "Silver leaf cannot be manufactured using any animal material of animal origin at any stage of manufacturing process." The notification has also fixed norms for thickness, weight and purity of silver. This is to ensure that hazardous aluminium foil is not passed off as silver leaf and supplied to sweet shops in small towns and villages. It has also said that the sheet needs to be of uniform thickness, free from creases and folds; and the weight of silver foil should be up to 2.8g per square metre; and the silver used should of a minimum 999/1000 fineness, the notification says.

"The fines and penalties will be announced soon. The state food regulators will take action against manufacturers who use silver leaf which uses animal parts," said a senior official of the food and drugs department. Modern machinery, according to an AMC health official, is available for the manufacture of silver leaf.