Hygiene off menu of most eateries

Deadline For Mandatory Registration Extended Four Times, Notices Issued Yet Response From Food Biz Poor
Wednesday is the deadline for food opera tors to register with or get licences from the food safety department, but less than 10,000 of the 50,000-odd restaurants in the city have enrolled. This implies hygiene isn’t high on the menu of most eatery operators.Food safety officials say the response from food operators has been poor even though several notices were issued and the deadline for registration was extended four times. The Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 has set new licensing and registration norms for food businesses–hotels, restaurants, canteens, hostels, roadside eateries, dairy shops, tea shops, meat shops, juice shops and vegetable and fruits vendors. The Act was implemented in August 2011, and the Centre extended the deadline multiple times because food operators resisted the rules for mandatory registration and licensing.

The food safety department does not have a count of the number of food operators in the city , but say it has identified 22,424 of them. Till Monday , only 9,934 had enrolled. Of these, 6,231 got licences and 3,703 registered.

An official said many food operators are not taking the Act seriously because of the numerous exten sions. “We were unable to take action against busi nesses that sell unhygien ic food because of the ex tensions. We hope the government will not ex tend the deadline any more,“ he said.

Former director of public health Dr S Elango said there is a little coordination between the local bodies and food safety department. “The Prevention of Food Adulteration Act has been replaced with Food Safety and Standards Act of 2006 but the food safety department doesn’t have ward-level staff like the corporation,“ he said. Sources said the department has only 25 food safety inspectors to monitor thousands of shops in the city .

Tamil Nadu Hotels’ Association secretary R Srinivasan said the Act is stringent and impractical. “There should be an amendment to reduce the penalties because they are too harsh. We cannot ensure safe food as the pesticide in food particles is high,“ he said.

Many roadside vendors said they are unaware about the Act. A fast food vendor in Teynampet said, “Corporation officials and policemen regularly collect bribes from us, but I have not heard about registering with the food safety department.“

A senior food safety official said they are conducting inspections. “We have collected food samples and issued improvement notices to 147 establishments,“ he said.

Activists said lack of awareness could be a reason for laxity. “The government will not have control over food operators if there is no licensing system. It should implement the Act immediately to safeguard customers,“ said Santhana Rajan of Consumer Association of India.

Deadline For Mandatory Registration Extended Four Times, Notices Issued Yet Response From Food Biz Poor
Wednesday is the deadline for food opera tors to register with or get licences from the food safety department, but less than 10,000 of the 50,000-odd restaurants in the city have enrolled. This implies hygiene isn’t high on the menu of most eatery operators.Food safety officials say the response from food operators has been poor even though several notices were issued and the deadline for registration was extended four times. The Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 has set new licensing and registration norms for food businesses–hotels, restaurants, canteens, hostels, roadside eateries, dairy shops, tea shops, meat shops, juice shops and vegetable and fruits vendors. The Act was implemented in August 2011, and the Centre extended the deadline multiple times because food operators resisted the rules for mandatory registration and licensing.

The food safety department does not have a count of the number of food operators in the city , but say it has identified 22,424 of them. Till Monday , only 9,934 had enrolled. Of these, 6,231 got licences and 3,703 registered.

An official said many food operators are not taking the Act seriously because of the numerous exten sions. “We were unable to take action against busi nesses that sell unhygien ic food because of the ex tensions. We hope the government will not ex tend the deadline any more,“ he said.

Former director of public health Dr S Elango said there is a little coordination between the local bodies and food safety department. “The Prevention of Food Adulteration Act has been replaced with Food Safety and Standards Act of 2006 but the food safety department doesn’t have ward-level staff like the corporation,“ he said. Sources said the department has only 25 food safety inspectors to monitor thousands of shops in the city .

Tamil Nadu Hotels’ Association secretary R Srinivasan said the Act is stringent and impractical. “There should be an amendment to reduce the penalties because they are too harsh. We cannot ensure safe food as the pesticide in food particles is high,“ he said.

Many roadside vendors said they are unaware about the Act. A fast food vendor in Teynampet said, “Corporation officials and policemen regularly collect bribes from us, but I have not heard about registering with the food safety department.“

A senior food safety official said they are conducting inspections. “We have collected food samples and issued improvement notices to 147 establishments,“ he said.

Activists said lack of awareness could be a reason for laxity. “The government will not have control over food operators if there is no licensing system. It should implement the Act immediately to safeguard customers,“ said Santhana Rajan of Consumer Association of India.

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Amway asked to withdraw six products from market

NAGPUR:

Following directives from the Food Safety and Standards of India (FSSAI) the state Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has warned the M/s Amway Enterprises Pvt Ltd to withdraw six of its products from the market in the state. These products were found to contain more than the permissible quantities of minerals and vitamins as per the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and National Institute for Nutrition (NIN).

In city, Amway has a warehouse in Wadi and a showroom in Eternity mall. “After we received a directive from Uday Wanjari from our headquarters FDA (Food) we issued a letter to the company here on January 30 to withdraw the six products within seven days, by February 6,” said joint commissioner FDA (Food) in city S Desai speaking to TOI.

The FSSAI’s ‘product approval’ committee had rejected these six products which include Nutrilite cal-mag-D, Nutrilite natural B tablets, Nutrilite Iron Folic tablets, Nutrilite Bio C, Positrim Vanilla and Nutrilite Kids Drink Mixed Fruit flavour as per a letter written by Sandhya Kabra, dated December 31, 2014 who is director of the approval committee. Amway had asked for approval from FSSAI as per a letter dated June 21, 2012. In reply to this letter Kabra’s predecessor Pradip Chakraborty had written to Vinay Kumar of Amway at Delhi on May 23, 2013.

But apparently, despite many reminders, the company did not withdraw the products and therefore FSSAI has now asked for action against the company across the country. On Monday Mohd Shahid Sharif, president of Anti-Adulteration Consumer Society in the city raised the issue with the collector office on ‘lokshai din’ when common people’s complaint are heard. “I produced a bill of some of these products from the Eternity mall outlet named M/s Micropark Infortrade of Rs1,164.00 dated November 6, 2014. I have raised the query how it was being sold in city under eyes of local FDA,” he said.

Assistant commissioner of FDA (Food) NR Wakode, who too was present when Sharif said no one would be spared. But the administration will take action only after the warning period till February 6 is over. In Mumbai, however, the order for withdrawal was issued on January 28 while it reached Nagpur FDA on January 30. “We inspected both the Wadi and Eternity mall outlets and issued warnings in writing,” said Wakode.

Food business operators seek time for registration under Food Safety and Standards Act

FOOD BUSINESS OPERATORS’ PLEA
Food business operators have sought time till February 2, 2016, for registration under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006. In a memorandum submitted to Nirmala Seetharaman, Union Minister of State for Commerce, Tamil Nadu Foodgrains Merchants Association has appealed to her to urge the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to extend the current deadline of February 4 by a year.
Its joint secretary M. Karthikeyan said the UPA government gave three extensions for registration and getting licence, after coming to know of the shortcomings of the Act. The association also wanted Ms. Seetharaman to give due representation to farmers, food scientists and food business operators in the two committees appointed to review the shortcomings.