Food and civil supplies department, UP FDA differ on bones in biscuits

Wednesday, December 31, 2014 08:00 IST
Abhitash Singh, Mumbai

Uttar Pradesh’s Food and Civil Supplies department of Uttar Pradesh conducted a raid on a biscuit and rusk factory in Moradabad district and found that they were allegedly using animal bones in their products, which were harmful for human consumption. However, the state food and drugs administration (FDA) stated that they contained no illegal ingredients, adding that the unit had set up a rendering plant in the factory, which was illegal.

When quizzed by FnB News, a source from the state food and civil supplies department, on the condition of anonymity, stated, “Based on inputs from close sources, we conducted a raid on the biscuit and rusk manufacturing factory on Monday, and recovered animal bones, which the factory had allegedly been using as an ingredient in their biscuits.”

“We also found that the factory had employed children below the age of 14, which is an offence under Section 12 of the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986. The case is being investigated, but it is clear that the factory was not working as per the established food standards,” he added.

The source stated that the factory had been sealed and the food samples had been sent to the laboratory for analysis. “If the sample tests positive, a huge fine would be imposed upon the factory,” he added. Uttar Pradesh food safety commissioner Vijay Bahadur said, “We conducted the raid with the Food and Civil Supplies department, but didn’t recover any animal bones. However, the company was found using a rendering plant inside the factory, which is illegal.”


Antibiotic residue limit on honey fixed


The Centre has set limits for the presence of antibiotics in honey – an issue that had sparked off concerns four years ago about drug resistance, blood-related diseases and potential damage to vital organs in humans.

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), the national food regulatory body, has laid down more stringent parameters limiting the presence of a range of antibiotic residues found in honey. Experts say the move is likely to ensure the quality of honey sold in and exported from India.

“The use of antibiotics in bee-keeping can transfer its trace amounts, usually called residues, to honey, which in turn can affect public health in case of prolonged consumption. The standards have been established by considering safe and acceptable daily intake (ADI) which describes the amount consumed daily over a lifetime expressed in milligram per kilogram of the weight,” said Milind Umekar, executive member of the Indian Pharmacological Society, an apex body of professional pharmacologists in India.

The changed rules will come into force 60 days from December 3, 2014 (the date of publication in the official gazette). This essentially means that honey manufactured and packaged in India from February will have to conform to the new standards.

The limit on antibiotic residue in honey has been set on the basis of a detection method called ‘limit of quantification’. Extensive use of antibiotics in bee-keeping leads to accumulation of antibiotic residue in honey. “It is essential to limit its presence in the final honey product. Hence the guidelines,” said a senior FSSAI official.

Use of antibiotics has increased in bee-keeping after the Indian bee, which is more adaptable to the environment, has been replaced by the European bee.

In 2010, the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), an environmental action group, had found high levels of antibiotics in several commonly available brands of honey in the market. The study found that several leading brands of honey had high levels of two to four antibiotics. Some brands from Australia and Switzerland too had antibiotics in it.

All the samples were collected from markets in Delhi and tested for the presence of six antibiotics – oxytetracycline, chloramphenicol (which is banned in most countries for use in animals), ampicillin, enrofloxacin, ciprofloxacin and erythromycin.

“It is important to mention here that beekeepers use antibiotics at relatively high doses to treat infections or at low doses as ‘growth promoters.’ Apparently, extensive use of antibiotics leads to accumulation of antibiotic residues in honey, thereby leading to decreased quality. Antibiotic residues have a relatively long shelf life and may have direct toxic effects on consumers. Monitoring antibiotics residues in honey, wax, and bees helps assess the potential risk of these products to human health,” said Brijesh Taksande, head, animal and pharmacological experimentation at Smt. Kishoritai Bhoyar College of Pharmacy at Kamptee in Nagpur.

Pharmacologist and researcher Nandkishor Kotagale said, “Maximum residue limits (MRLs) have been established in India for most foods produced by animals treated with antibiotics like sulfonamides and tetracyclines. However, there were no MRLs for bee products. Honey is traded internationally and countries generally accept standards set by the Codex Alimentarius. Nevertheless, European countries, the US, Canada and Australia have their own separate standards. With FSSAI’s regulations we will be in a better position to detect the amount of various antibiotics in the marketed honey and can reject its sale and marketing if it is exceeding the prescribed limits.”

“Honey manufactured and packaged in India from February onwards will have to follow these norms,” said Dilip Sangat, assistant commissioner (food), Food and Drugs Administration (FDA), Pune.

Food Safety Act: Rs1.75 lakh fine on Mandi hotel

Mandi, December 30
                                     The Court of ADM-cum-Adjudicating Officer has imposed a penalty of Rs 1.75 lakh on a hotel under the Food Safety and Standards (FSS) Act, 2006.
A case was registered under Sections 56 and 58 of the FSS Act against the owner and the manager of Hotel Partap Palace here on January 20, 2012, on the complaint of Food Safety Officer (FSO) LD Thakur.
During an inspection of the hotel, the FSO found that sanitary conditions of the kitchen was not good, washing arrangement for utensils was not proper, four persons were engaged as food handlers but they were not medically examined, domestic cooking cylinders were being used for food preparations and the food licence for 2011-12 was not produced on demand. The FSO said the hotel was not complying with the provisions of the FSS Act.
After hearing the arguments of the respondents and the complainant, the court observed that the act of the business operators was irresponsible, unfair, callous and against the interests of the public at large.
“As they have not taken reasonable care as required from prudent businessmen while conducting business and, therefore, under the given circumstances, they do not warrant any sympathetic consideration as they failed to discharge their legal, moral, social and commercial obligations,” the court said.
The court held that the matter in question involved the public at large, punishment should be imposed upon the respondents so that on one hand, the ignorant and simpleton persons of society may not badly suffer on account of misdeeds of such law-breakers and on the other, it should also act as a deterrent to other persons who are involved in such kind of activities.

FDA inspectors to make the rounds for New Year’s eve

                                            The state Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will deploy 200 food safety inspectors to check the quality of food served at restaurants and bars at New Year parties. It said food samples collected on December 31 will be tested within 24 hours.
The food safety officers will visit eateries and act on patrons’ complaints. “They will have to collect at least two samples each from restaurants, bars and dhabas. We are expecting 300 or more samples,” said FDA commissioner Purushottam Bhapkar. “We will initiate strict action against eateries serving poor quality food,” he said.
Bhapkar said FDA offices will be open so that people can walk in with complaints or bring in food samples for testing. Mumbaikars can call 022-26591249 with their complaints.

Now, prasadam to get quality check: Licences of kitchens to be reviewed

                                            Food and offerings prepared in temples in Coimbatore district will soon come under the food safety department’s scanner. The department has been instructed to collect samples of prasadam prepared in temples regularly and check if they are fit for consumption. The licences of temple kitchens will also be reviewed over the next few months. 
At the health steering committee meeting at the district collectorate on Tuesday morning, collector Archana Patnaik told food safety department officials to monitor closely food prepared in temples. 
“Since large numbers of people congregate at temples, we have been told to keep an eye on the food and prasadam served there,” said designated food safety officer Dr R Kathiravan. The department has not received any complaints about temple prasadam. “This is purely a safety precaution,” he said. 
Most of the temples run by the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments (HR&CE) department in the state as well as by private trusts hold licences for their kitchens, said the official. “The kitchens are hygienic and well-maintained but some of them do not follow our rules when it comes to packaging of prasadam and serving it on clean banana fibre plates and cups,” said Kathiravan. 
Across the state, the HR&CE department says it keeps a tight rein on temple kitchens to ensure hygiene. The department has officials in charge of quality checks so that the prasadam as well as the food served in the annadanam halls is clean and fresh. An official of the HR&CE department said most kitchens had been automated to prevent contamination of food and only the best ingredients were procured. Packaging too has been improved so that the prasadam can stay fresh and withstand travel. 
At the Palani Murugan temple, for instance, the entire process of making the panchamirtham prasadam, is mechanized from the peeling of bananas to the packaging. Previously, people would stamp bananas to pulp but the process has been automated to ensure cleanliness as well as meet the huge demand, said an official. 
Kitchens in other large temples such as Tiruchendur are also automated, while smaller temples like Parthasarathy temple in Triplicane in Chennai and the Srirangam temple have separate kitchens with trained staff. The prasadam is prepared following traditional recipes and specific ingredients have to be procured. 
The department makes all efforts to ensure that the taste is authentic though it now has to mass produce most of these offerings, said an official. 
The Coimbatore administration, however, is taking no chances. “We will be reinforcing our rules and advisories,” said Kathiravan.

Sugar, oil form the cream in your roll

                               Six of 15 samples of food items collected by food safety officials have been found to be sub-standard. According to senior officials, vegetable fat has been found to be a major adulterant and is being rampantly used in preparing various ingredients or as a cooking medium.
Commissioner food safety and drug administration Badal Chatterjee said, “Instead of using dairy cream, many city bakeries are using non-dairy cream topping, which contains hydrogenated fat and trans fatty acid, which are a source of cholesterol”.
Tests of two samples of non-dairy cream from a bakery in Kaiserbagh have shown presence of vegetable fat. According to norms, this item has been categorised sub-standard. Cream samples from a bakery on Park Road and one in Aliganj have shown presence of vegetable fat. A sample of paneer from the Aliganj-based bakery shows lesser quantity of milk fat (44.8%) than what is required (50%). Samples from another bakery in Aliganj have shown presence of starch in chocolate.
According to Chatterjee, licences of these food joints would not be cancelled as of now. However, notices would be issued to them and a reply would be sought.
“Most cream roll makers mix sugar and vegetable oil in a high-speed blender. Essence is then infused into the cream formed,” Chatterjee said, implying that no fresh cream is used.
The department would also initiate an awareness drive during which shop owners will have to seek a licence from the department (if their annual turnover is more than Rs 12 lakh) or register themselves with the department (if the annual turnover is up to Rs 12 lakh). Officials also said action would be taken against the bakeries and their owners under the provisions of Food Safety & Standards Act, 2006.

Notices served on four Lucknow bakeries for adulteration

Lucknow, Dec 30:
Bakeries, sweet sho                               ps and restaurants across the state were raided Tuesday for checking adulteration in products, specially keeping in mind the festive season, officials said.
While samples have been lifted from many places, samples from four major bakeries sent for tests Dec 22 have been found to be adulterated, an official informed.
Food Safety Commissioner Badal Chatterji said four big bakeries in the state capital have been found wanting in quality of ingredients being used in dairy products, cakes and pastries, and have been served notices.
“We have taken a serious view of the reports and are taking action as per law,” he said adding that licenses of such bakeries will be revoked.
The state government has also taken note of reports that a bakery in Moradabad was mixing animal bone powder in biscuits and action has been initiated against the company and notice served to its management, officials said.