Assistant Commissioner, Food Safety Srinagar has informed all the Food Business Operators dealing in the business of food products that the use of synthetic colour is prohibited in spices, condiments and prepared foods under the provisions of Food Safety and Standards Act 2006 Rules and Regulations 2011. The concerned dealing in the business of food products are directed not to use synthetic colours failing which stern action as per the provisions of the Food Safety and Standards Act shall be initiated against them. The samples of such products are bound to be declared unsafe under the provisions of the Act by the Food Analyst.
Friday, January 30, 2015 08:00 IST
The United States is toying with the idea of creating a single food safety agency in the country.
As per the proposal, put forward by lawmakers on Wednesday, this new body will bring under one umbrella all food safety related functions of various bodies such as US Food and Drug Administration (US FDA), and US Department of Agriculture (USDA).
According to Democratic senator Richard Durbin from Illinois and Democratic representative Rosa DeLauro from Connecticut, the bill would create a single federal agency with an administrator directly appointed by the president.
The bill, introduced as the Safe Food Act of 2015, was co-sponsored by 10 other Democrats and aims to elevate food safety at a time when the US food supply is increasingly sourced from abroad.
“The fragmented Federal food safety system and outdated laws preclude an integrated, system-wide approach to preventing foodborne illness,” it says.
Each year, 48 million people, or 1 in 6 Americans, suffer from foodborne illness. More than 100,000 are hospitalised and thousands die, according to federal data.
Currently most of the responsibility for food safety lies with the FDA. The USDA oversees meat, poultry and processed eggs.
The bill would, among other things, consolidate food safety authority for inspections, enforcement and labelling, provide authority to recall unsafe food, and improve foreign food import inspections.
In January 2011, the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act was signed into law. The goal was to increase food safety by shifting the focus of regulators to preventing contamination rather than just responding to it. The lawmakers said their goal is to build on that.
Friday, January 30, 2015 08:00 IST
Ashwani Maindola, New Delhi
Union health minister J P Nadda has said that the government is working towards streamlining the process for a time-bound system for product approval.He stated this while holding a review meeting on product approval at the health ministry recently.
Product approval has been a major issue that FSSAI (Food Safety and Standards Authority of India) is faced with as piles of product approval applications from both domestic manufacturers as well as food importers are awaiting clearance from the apex food authority.
The issue has assumed alarming proportions as apart from making domestic manufacturers run from pillar to post for getting their products approved, denial of approval has resulted in withholding of imported products worth crores of rupees at various ports and airports in the country for the past several months.Not only that, cases are being fought in various courts of law in this regard.
In view of this, Nadda informed the meeting, “This will not only clear the approval of several pending proposals for food products but will also give much-needed push to the domestic food processing industry, while not compromising on quality and safety of food products.”
Impact of litigations
According to sources, the meeting extensively discussed issues related to product approval that have cropped up following several litigations currently underway in various courts. Also the Supreme Court had asked the government to constitute a committee to review the product approval system.
While the above-mentioned meeting was held on January 20, 2015, an earlier meeting was held on January 13, 2015. The highlight of the January 20 meeting was discussion on Section 22 of the FSS Act related to product approval.
Battle of two ministries
Meanwhile, the ministry of food processing industries was supposed to file its representation on the issue before the apex court. It is pertinent to mention here that the issue of product approval remained a bone of contention between ministries of health and food processing industries, so much so that, the issue was raised before the prime minister.
In this regard, in August 2014, a meeting was held between senior officials of the two ministries headed by the principal secretary to PM and it was decided that product approval for proprietary food using approved additives and ingredients should be discontinued.Yet no action was taken.
Thrashing out issues
According to the health minister, in order to ensure quality and safety of food products, various issues pertaining to regulations under the FSSA Act, 2006, were discussed at the meeting, including the mechanism for ‘product approval.’
The review meeting was held with stakeholders under the mandate of the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006, to ensure that food that was consumed was safe, healthy and wholesome, and the manufacturing process adhered to standards and procedures.
Present at the meeting were stakeholders from the food processing industries; secretary, department of industrial policy and promotion; secretary, department of food processing; chairman & CEO, Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI); and officials of the department of health and family welfare.
Food Minister, Ram Vilas Paswan has approved the proposal to extend the export sugar subsidy as the sugar industry has huge stocks of sugar surplus. The prices of sugar are low and the approval of export subsidy of Rs. 4,000 per tonne of sugar has come as a ray of hope for both the sugar industry as well as sugarcane farmers who can hope to receive arrears of payment.
In February Rs 3,300 a tonne of subsidy was introduced for exports of 4 million tonnes of raw sugar. In August – September this was increased to Rs 3,371 a tonne. The export subsidy is a step that the Food Ministry has taken to help the cash-strapped industry so they can pay farmers on time especially after sugar prices declined below the cost of production. It will also help the manufacturers reduce their huge stocks. The present subsidy proposal has been signed by the Food Minister but will have to be approved by the Union cabinet before it comes into force.
In most of the sugar producing states the price of sugar is below the cost of production. In Maharashtra, which is a major sugar producing state, the price of sugar is Rs.2, 450 a quintal against the cost of production of Rs.3, 000 a quintal while in Uttar Pradesh the price is Rs.2, 750 as against the cost of production Rs.3, 500 a quintal. Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA) says that the industry debt has gone to Rs 36,500crore in 2012-13 from Rs.11, 500 crore in 2008-09.
India, the world’s biggest sugar producer after Brazil and has exported about 7 lakh tonnes of raw sugar in the market year that ended in October 2014. Raw sugar is mainly exported to China, Indonesia and the Middle East, and used by standalone refineries in those countries. The revision is being eagerly awaited as the sugar mills have to plan their production for the remaining 2-3 months of the crushing operations before it comes to an end.
The sugar industry had wanted the incentive to continue and have been eagerly awaiting the notification. They have also been looking forward to more bank loans. On the other hand farmers associations say that mills that do not pay farmers, after receiving incentive within 15 days on procuring sugarcane should be punished. Kisan Jagriti Manch, Lucknow feel that farmers will continue to suffer and the only way out was to have mechanisms that would bring about price correction.