Food Safety Standards – FSSAI, food fortification, etc.

Apr, 26, 2019

India extends ban on import of Chinese milk products, chocolates

News

  • The government has extended the ban on import of milk and its products, including chocolates, from China till laboratories at ports for testing presence of toxic chemical melamine are upgraded.

Ban over Melamine

  • Food regulator FSSAI had recommended extending the ban until all labs at ports are modernized to test the chemical.
  • The ban was first imposed in September 2008 and extended subsequently from time to time.
  • Although India does not import milk, milk products from China, it has imposed the ban as a preventive measure.
  • However, it has not mentioned any timeline for upgradation of that capacity of all laboratories.

Why Ban?

  • Melamine content of more than 1 ppm in infant formula and more than 2.5 ppm in other foods should be viewed with suspicion of adulteration.
  • Addition of melamine into food is not approved by the FAO/ WHO Codex Alimentarius (food standard commission), or by any national authorities.
  • Chinese milk scandal: In 2008, at least four babies in China died and around 100,000 became sick after consuming powdered milk baby food laced with melamine.

About Melamine

  • Melamine is a chemical compound that has a number of industrial uses, including the production of laminates, glues, dinnerware, adhesives, molding compounds, coatings and flame retardants.
  • It is a name used both for the chemical and for the plastic made from it. In this event, all references are to the chemical.
  • It is illegally added to inflate the apparent protein content of food products.
  • Because it is high in nitrogen, the addition of melamine to a food artificially increases the apparent protein content as measured with standard tests.

Back2Basics

Milk Production in India

  • India is the world’s largest producer and consumer of milk. It produces around 150 million tonne milk annually.
  • Uttar Pradesh is the leading state in milk production followed by Rajasthan and Gujarat.
Apr, 05, 2019

EAT-Lancet Report for a sustainable food system

News

  • One of the most influential public health documents of this decade, the EAT-Lancet Commission’s Food Planet Health, was formally released for India.

EAT-Lancet Report

  • The report stated that transformation to healthy diets by 2050 will require substantial dietary shifts.
  • The report was authored by 37 international experts, including two from India, has been put together by EAT, the science-based global platform for food system transformation, and the journal The Lancet .

Highlights of the report

  • The EAT-Lancet Commission’s report, for the first time proposes scientific targets for what constitutes a healthy diet derived from a sustainable food system.
  • It added that healthy diets had an optimal caloric intake and consisted largely of a diversity of plant-based foods and low amounts of animal-source foods, contained unsaturated rather than saturated fats, and limited amounts of refined grains, highly processed foods and added sugars.
  • The report also called for doubling in the consumption of healthy foods such as fruits, vegetables, legumes and nuts, and a greater than 50 per cent reduction in global consumption of less healthy foods.
  • EAT-Lancet also proposed a country-specific report for a reference diet for India, which was supported by the country’s apex food regulator, which stated that the National Institute of Nutrition (NIN), Hyderabad.
Feb, 14, 2019

Kerala takes the lead in tackling trans fat hazard

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Governance | Issues relating to development & management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Eat Right Movement, Swastha Bharat Yatra, Heart Attack Rewind, TFA

Mains level: Read the attached story.


News

  • The Kerala state Health Department has drawn up an action plan to generate public awareness on the harmful effects of trans fatty acids (TFA) in commercially available food items.

Plan to phase out TFA

  1. The plan is aimed to encourage the local food industry to meet the current statutory limits set for TFA.
  2. An unhealthy diet with a high TFA content is a significant factor that pushes up metabolic syndrome and the burden of its associated complications amongst Keralites.
  3. The year-long action plan has specific components on building awareness on trans fat amongst food business operators (FBOs) and giving them scientific sessions and training on how they can keep their food TFA-free.
  4. Generating public awareness on the harmful effects of trans fat, especially among schoolchildren, is being given special focus.
  5. Clear timelines are being set as to when each of the components of the plan should be completed and when enforcement should begin.

Focus on low Sodium content food

  1. Salt being a major contributor to hypertension and stroke, the action plan also plans to address the high salt content in processed foods, pickles, papads and condiments by encouraging manufacturers to move to low sodium options.
  2. The pickle industry is in agreement that good hygienic and manufacturing practices and low sodium options can reduce the salt content in their products.

Need for alternatives

  1. The food industry is willing to ditch partially hydrogenated vegetable oils (PHVOs, one of the main sources of TFA in industrially produced food ).
  2. It aims to switch to TFA-free margarine or shortening to produce baked goods.

Support for initiative

  1. The department is being supported in this initiative by Vital Strategies, the nutrition wing of the World Bank, WHO, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI).
  2. The State Food Safety wing will be in charge of enforcement.
  3. An experts’ group has been constituted for the implementation of the guidelines on TFA and salt reduction.

Back2Basics

Trans Fats

Dec, 01, 2018

FSSAI launches awareness drive on trans fats

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Governance | Issues relating to development & management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Eat Right Movement, Swastha Bharat Yatra, Heart Attack Rewind

Mains level: Read the attached story.


News

  • The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has launched a new mass media campaign in order to create awareness about trans fats and eliminate them in India by 2022.

Heart Attack Rewind

  1. It is a 30-second public service announcement to be broadcast in 17 languages for a period of four weeks on YouTube, Facebook, Hotstar, and Voot.
  2. It will also be placed on outdoor hoardings and run on radio stations in Delhi and the National Capital Region.
  3. The campaign will warn citizens about the health hazards of consuming trans fats and offer strategies to avoid them through healthier alternatives.
  4. This campaign will concentrate on the demand side (consumers), who in turn, will push the supply side (food manufacturers) to come up with various strategies in order to reduce and later replace trans fats.

What are Trans Fats?

  1. Artificial Trans fats are created in an industrial process that adds hydrogen to liquid vegetable oils to make them more solid.
  2. Since they are easy to use, inexpensive to produce and last a long time, and give foods a desirable taste and texture, they are still widely used despite their harmful effects being well-known.

Why this move?

  1. Studies have recently shown that 60,000 deaths occur every year due to cardiovascular diseases, which in turn are caused due to high consumption of trans fats.
  2. Since the impact of trans fats on human health is increasing exponentially, it is very important to create awareness about them.

Other FSSAI Initiatives

  1. Heart Attack Rewind is a follow-up to an earlier campaign called “Eat Right”, which was launched on July 11, 2018.
  2. As part of the campaign, edible oil industries took a pledge to reduce trans fat content by 2 per cent by 2022.
  3. Later, food companies also took a pledge to reformulate packaged foods with reduced levels of salt, sugar and saturated fat.
  4. Swasth Bharat Yatra, an initiative started under the “Eat Right” campaign which started on October 16 and will end on January 27, 2019, will also seek to create awareness among citizens about trans fats.

A Move to adopt WHO guidelines

  1. In May this year, the WHO released a step-by-step guide for the elimination of industrially-produced trans-fatty acids from the global food supply.
  2. Since then, a lot of countries have made efforts to reduce the levels of trans fats and in some cases, have completely banned them.
  3. India is also moving towards same by first reducing the levels from 5 per cent to 2 per cent and then altogether by 2022.
Oct, 18, 2018

'Swastha Bharat Yatra' campaign to create awareness about safe food

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Governance | Issues relating to development & management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Eat Right Movement, Swastha Bharat Yatra

Mains level: Read the attached story.


News

Context

  • The government has launched a national campaign ‘Swastha Bharat Yatra’ on the World Food Day under which a pan-India cycle rally is being organised to sensitize people about eating safe food and be healthy.

Swastha Bharat Yatra

  1. The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is leading this campaign where about 7,500 cyclists are expected to participate in over 18,000 km relay.
  2. The cycle rally will travel across six tracks through almost every state and UT over 100 days to propagate a powerful message ‘Eat Right India’.
  3. The cyclathon will culminate in the national capital on January 27.

Activities under the Yatra

  1. Along with a bicycle convoy, there will be ‘Eat Right Mobile Unit’ and ‘Mobile Food Testing Unit’ to build awareness around food safety, combating food adulteration and healthy diets.
  2. In all, over 7,500 volunteer cyclists would stop at 2,000+ locations and conduct in-city and en-route activities and ‘Prabhat Pheris’ to propagate the message of Eat Right India.
Oct, 16, 2018

[op-ed snap] From food security to nutrition security

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Agriculture | Public Distribution System – objectives, functioning, limitations, revamping; issues of buffer stocks & food security

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Biofortification, HarvestPlus programme

Mains level: Need for nutritional security in India


Context

World food day

  1. October 16 is observed as the World Food Day to mark the creation of the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) in 1945
  2. The world body envisions a “zero hunger world” by 2030
  3. It’s important to understand the role of science and technology in ushering the Green Revolution, which ensured food security in India
  4. Today, similar innovations in biotechnology hold the promise to provide nutrition security

Impact of Green Revolution

  1. While the country’s population has grown by more than four times, from 330 million in 1947 to 1.35 billion in 2018, India’s wheat production has increased by over 15 times in roughly the same period — from about 6.5 MMT in 1950-51 to 99.7 MMT in 2017-18
  2. India contributes about 13 per cent of the world wheat production, next only to China whose share is about 17 per cent
  3. Rice production has shot up by about 5.5 times — from 20.6 MMT in 1950-51 to 112.9 MMT in 2017-18
  4. India has a 23 per cent share in world rice production, next only to China whose share is about 29 per cent
  5. India is also the largest exporter of rice in the world

Challenge of nutritional security

  1. Notwithstanding its foodgrain surpluses, the country faces a complex challenge of nutritional security
  2. FAO’s recent publication, The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World, 2018 estimates that about 15 per cent of the Indian population is undernourished
  3. More than 38 per cent of Indian children aged below five years are stunted and 21 per cent suffer from wasting

Factors behind malnutirition

  1. Poor diet
  2. Unsafe drinking water
  3. Poor hygiene and sanitation
  4. Low levels of immunisation and education, especially that of women

Solutions for reducing malnutrition

  1. Latest innovations in biotechnology that fortify major staples with micronutrients like vitamin A, zinc and iron can be game changers
  2. Globally, the HarvestPlus programme of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) is doing a lot of work in this direction
  3. In India, the group has released the iron-rich pearl millet
  4. The Indian Council of Agricultural Research has independently released zinc and iron-rich wheat, rice, and pearl millet in 2016-17
  5. This could possibly lead to the next breakthrough in staples, making them more nutritious

Way forward

  1. This seems to be the beginning of a new journey, from food security to nutritional security
  2. Innovations in biofortified food can alleviate malnutrition only when they are scaled up with supporting policies
  3. This would require increasing expenditure on agri-R&D and incentivising farmers by linking their produce to lucrative markets
Jun, 06, 2018

Fortified rice will be distributed through PDS

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Governance | Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre & States & the performance of these schemes

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Biofortification

Mains level: Nutrition levels in India and government policies and schemes for their improvement


News

Improving nutrition via PDS

  1. Union Food Ministry is mulling over a proposal to distribute fortified rice through the public distribution system
  2. Rice will be fortified with essential vitamins and minerals

Back2Basics

Biofortification

  1. Fortification is the practice of deliberately increasing the content of an essential micronutrient, i.e. vitamins and minerals (including trace elements) in a food
  2. This is done to improve the nutritional quality of the food supply and provide a public health benefit with minimal risk to health
  3. Biofortification is the process by which the nutritional quality of food crops is improved through agronomic practices, conventional plant breeding, or modern biotechnology
  4. Biofortification differs from conventional fortification in that biofortification aims to increase nutrient levels in crops during plant growth rather than through manual means during processing of the crops
Oct, 21, 2017

[op-ed snap] Hungry for publicity

Source

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Economy | Inclusive growth & issues arising from it.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Tendulkar poverty line, IFPRI hunger index

Mains level: Various indices showing India in poor condition and reality behind these surveys


Context

  1. India ranks 100th out of 119 countries on the global hunger index – behind North Korea, Bangladesh, and Iraq but ahead of Pakistan
  2. The report ranked 119 countries in the developing world, nearly half of which have ‘extremely alarming’, ‘alarming’ or ‘serious’ hunger levels

Previous stats of poverty and differences in calculation

  1. Absolute poverty in India in 2011/12 came out to be around 12 percent, not 23 percent as officially reported (Tendulkar poverty line)
  2. The difference between 23 and 12 percent is the difference in measurement of consumption measured on a 30-day recall basis for food rather than the more accurate seven-day recall basis

IFPRI’s Hunger Index

  1. IFPRI hunger index is not a hunger index at all
  2. It is an index about child mortality, and stunting, and wasting, and undernourishment of children

What do we require to address hunger?

  1. A definition of hunger is needed to evaluate policies to alleviate hunger
  2. The conventional approach is to measure hunger via calorie consumption 
  3. However, the caloric equation (poverty means low consumption of calories) has long been given up as an indicator of hunger, or much else

What is the problem in India?

  1. Malnutrition affects stunting and weight and despite having considerably higher per capita income, India has the same IFPRI nutrition (reported as hunger) status as sub-Saharan Africa
  2. There is a genuine nutrition absorption problem in India
  3. The most likely cause of this is bad sanitation, a large component of which is open-defecation
  4. In the Indian environment, access to water and toilets, breastfeeding (to impart immunity in an unhealthy environment), access to sound health advice/treatment, the prevalence of vaccination and availability of vitamin supplements” are indicators of bad health, malnutrition etc.

Moves to address this problem

  1. In 2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi started the drive to stop open defecation and said that we needed to do so from the ramparts of the Red Fort
  2. A few years from now, the large role played by toilet construction, and adoption, in increasing nutrition efficacy in India to East Asian levels will be visible
Aug, 08, 2017

Food security: SC raps Centre, States

Image Source

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Governance | Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Particulars of Food Security Act

Mains level: The article gives important facts regarding the implementation of the act. Important Judgement on an important welfare scheme.


News

Implementation of Food Security Act in different states

  1. According to SC judgement, the State Food Commission set up under the National Food Security Act in Haryana, has been sitting “jobless” and “without proper infrastructure
  2. Why: Due to the state government’s dull response to the Act

Other observations

  1. The judgment also listed nine other States viz. Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Bihar and Chhattisgarh
  2. Why: Due to their dull response to the food security law meant to help those living below the poverty line

Directions from SC

  1. The SC directed the government to frame rules and designate independent officials for a grievance redressal mechanism under the Act within a year
  2. It directed the states to set up State Food Commissions and vigilance committees in every state by the end of the year and set up a social audit machinery

 

Sep, 29, 2016

What's the issue with melamine in milk?

  1. Melamine: An organic base chemical most commonly found in the form of white crystals rich in nitrogen
  2. Use: Widely in plastics, adhesives, countertops, dishware, whiteboards
  3. FSSAI: Melamine content of more than 1 ppm in infant formula and more than 2.5 ppm in other foods should be viewed with suspicion of adulteration
  4. Addition of melamine into food is not approved by the FAO/ WHO Codex Alimentarius (food standard commission), or by any national authorities
  5. Chinese milk scandal: In 2008, at least four babies in China died and around 100,000 became sick after consuming powdered milk baby food laced with melamine
  6. Due to the presence of nitrogen, the addition of melamine to milk makes it look protein-rich
Aug, 23, 2016

FSSAI wants to regulate quality of tap water

  1. News: The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is examining the possibility of holding municipal authorities and other agencies such as state water supply boards accountable for the quality of water they supply
  2. Background: The Central Consumer Protection Council has expressed concern over the quality of drinking water supplied through the pipeline
  3. It has recommended mandatory standards for drinking water, irrespective of its source
  4. Census 2011: Just about 32% of India’s households have access to treated tap water (supplied through pipelines) and around 11.5% households get untreated water
Jul, 07, 2016

Food grain production growth to slow in India

  1. News: Though the demand for most food commodities in India is set to grow by 2025, it would at a slower rate as compared to 2005-15, according to UN’s Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO)
  2. Reasons: Gradually slowing rate of population growth
  3. Rising household income may lead to product substitution for meeting caloric requirements. For eg, consumption of cereals might be substituted by vegetable oils, sugar and livestocks
  4. Rising food prices whereby a small section of the population will find food unaffordable and thus decrease consumption – requires policy attention
Jun, 21, 2016

CSE report on carcinogenic food additives

  1. A Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) report has found that two potential cancer causing chemicals have been widely found in bread variants across India
  2. Potassium bromate and potassium iodate helps make the break fluffier and softer
  3. Potassium bromate typically increases dough strength, leads to higher rising and gives uniform finish to baked products
  4. Potassium iodate is a flour treatment agent
  5. The CSE study had found that 84% of the 38 commonly available brands of pre-packaged breads, including pav and buns, tested positive for the 2 additives
  6. The two food additives are banned in many countries and are listed as ‘hazardous’ to public health
Jun, 21, 2016

Use of potassium bromate as food additive banned

  1. News: The Food Safety Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has banned the use of potassium bromate as a food additive
  2. Context: A Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) study had earlier found that presence of potassium bromate and potassium iodate in bread caused cancer
  3. Potassium iodate has not been banned yet and has been referred to a scientific panel
Jun, 18, 2016

India must transform its unorganised food system: U.S. think-tank- II

  1. Supply system: Areas of improvement- transit, warehousing, cold chains, retail and processing that could improve urban food security in India
  2. Feeding cities: Increasing urban employment and rising incomes portend significant growth for India’s $360-billion food market
  3. Investment: Targeted public investments and involvement of private sector
  4. It has also recommended reduction of regulatory complexity and enhancing food testing capacity
Jun, 18, 2016

India must transform its unorganised food system: U.S. think-tank- I

  1. Context: ‘Investing to Nourish India’s Cities’, a report by American think-tank, Chicago Council on Global Affairs
  2. India’s food system is largely unorganised and highly fragmented inhibiting large-scale procurement, distribution, and retail sales
  3. Urban: India’s population is set to double in the next 40 years & with growing urbanisation, India has to transform its food system to feed that urban growth
  4. Need: Reform government procurement, tariff and tax policies affecting urban food delivery to feed its growing cities
  5. Also, substantial public investments are needed to expand and increase the quality of storage, handling and transportation infrastructure
May, 25, 2016

Potassium bromate in same cancer class as coffee

  1. Context: Concerns over potassium bromate being found in breads in Delhi
  2. Potassium bromate: It is a chemical additive widely prevalent in bread and refined flour and associated with cancer
  3. It is in the same category as coffee, aloe vera, mobile phone radiation and carbon black (a key ingredient in eye-liner)
  4. It is less toxic than processed and red meat
  5. Data: List of agents deemed potentially cancerous by the International Agency For Research on Cancer (IARC), a WHO body
May, 24, 2016

GM seeds key to food security: Javadekar

  1. Context: Environmental minister has said that GM technology for seeds is important for agricultural development
  2. It will improve agricultural productivity and food security
  3. Criticism: GM crops are unfit for human consumption
  4. A Panel is set up by Environment Ministry to take a call on GM mustard
  5. GM Mustard: First food-related transgenic crop
Apr, 06, 2016

Govt releases Rs 25,800-crore food subsidy to FCI

  1. What? The Centre has released Rs 25,834 crore as food subsidy to the Food Corporation of India (FCI)
  2. Benefit: Will help in smooth procurement and distribution of grains
  3. The bulk of the food subsidy is paid to FCI to buy foodgrain at the support price and running the public distribution system
Oct, 02, 2015

Mid-Day Meal Rules out: Stress on quality, regularity

The Mid-Day Meal Rules, 2015 seeks to fix responsibility on persons for non-supply of food for three consecutive school days or five days in a month.

According to the new rule, a student is entitled for Food Security Allowance if meals are not served for in the school. Photo: M.A. Sriram


 

  1. The National Food Security Act, 2013, contains provisions related to welfare schemes, including the mid-day meal scheme.
  2. Food security allowance will be paid to beneficiaries under the temporary fund utilization in case of non-supply of meal for specified reasons.
  3. To check meal quality provided in the rules, it will be tested randomly on monthly basis by accredited Labs. 
  4. Child of age group of 6 to 14 years old studying in classes from I to VIII standard provided hot cooked meal with nutritional standards.
  5. Mandatory for schools to have facility for cooking meal in hygienic manner. Schools in urban areas may use the facility of centralised kitchens.
Aug, 14, 2015

Maggi ban: High Court lifts ban, orders fresh tests within 6 weeks

  1. Maggi could soon be back on sale after the Bombay High Court lifted the nation-wide ban on Maggi noodles, subject to fresh tests.
  2. Court observed FSSAI acted in an arbitrary manner and not followed the principles of natural justice while banning the product.
  3. The food labs engaged by the FSSAI, which found excessive lead in Maggi noodles, were not authorised under the FSS Act and Regulations.
Aug, 02, 2015

FSSAI gets 3 months to finalise guidelines controlling sale of junk food around schools


 

  1. Acting on a public interest writ petition, the Delhi HC had earlier directed FSSAI to regulate sale of foods high in salt, fats and sugar in and around 50 metres of schools.
  2. Court also directed CBSE to consider including the adherence to these guidelines while giving affiliation to the schools.
  3. The draft guidelines suggested creation of a canteen policy and education program to inform students and parents of link between ‘High in fats, salt & sugar’ (HFSS) foods and non-communicable diseases like obesity, hypertension, diabetes etc.
Jul, 23, 2015

FSSAI can act on mere suspicion

  1. FSSAI told the Bombay High Court that FSSAI Act gives the power to the authorities to act on mere suspicion, without any concrete evidence.
  2. FSSAI vs Nestle case is in Bombay High Court for 3 apparent violations by Nestle – misleading labelling on monosodium-glutamate, presence of excessive lead in maggi and launching oats tastemaker without assessment.

     

     

Jul, 13, 2015

[Discuss] What are the questions raised by the Maggi crisis?

 

The real story is of a regulator that has lacked the resources and know-how to safeguard public health.


A brief history on how the food regulation came about in India:

  1. Until 2006, a myriad laws and regulatory bodies were responsible for determining and enforcing quality and health standards.
  2. This got replaced by (FSSAI) which, since becoming operational in 2011, became the central regulatory authority responsible for food safety in India.

FSSAI’s job, in its own words, is to lay down “science-based standards” for the manufacturing, processing, distribution, sale and import of food in India.


But interestingly, the ground reality is this –

  1. Despite all the detailed guidelines, the law does not make testing of food products before approval mandatory.
  2. Whether or not a product should be approved for sale and consumption is based almost entirely on scientific analysis provided by the manufacturers themselves, and not on that done by FSSAI.
  3. Another major issue is that FSSAI virtually has no enforcement mechanism to speak of.

    Hence the discussion of the day – 

What are the different aspects of food security and organisation level challenges that plague India? What reality has India’s regulators risen to in the wake of the Maggi fiasco?

 

 

Jul, 13, 2015

FSSAI sets 12,000 standards for food additives & ingredients


 

  1. These are in line with global safety standards, to do away with lengthy process of product approval.
  2. At present, there are 375 FSSAI safety standards for food items but none for food additives and ingredients.
  3. This move will help the food companies as they won’t have to waste much time scouting for product approval.
Jun, 27, 2015

[cd explains] Food Safety in India

 

Jun, 25, 2015

[Discuss] Is India still far from food safety?

This topic will be LIVE for discussion for a day & we will prepare a story from the user comments. Good contributions will be highlighted in the story page.


Open Discussion

Jun, 16, 2015

[cd explains] The curious case of Mono Sodium Glutamate

 

Jun, 15, 2015

Key Points: How labelling cooked Maggi’s goose

  1. The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) identified 3 problems –
    • Lead levels higher than the permissible quantity of 2.5 ppm (parts per million).
    • Misleading labelling on the package that stated “No added MSG”.
    • Release of “Maggi Oats Masala Noodle with Tastemaker” without product approval.
  2. The REAL DEAL – Maggi noodles sold in India contain hydrolysed groundnut protein, onion powder and wheat flour, all of which contain glutamate. MSG is a sodium salt of glutamate.
Jun, 04, 2015

[op-ed snap] Two-minute bans

  1. Maggi alarm must push government towards greater alertness & stringent processes on food safety.
  2. A similar instance led to formation of JPC which prescribed standards for carbonated water, owing to charges of pesticides in fizzy drinks in a CSE study.
  3. Government responses to the problem of food safety is sporadic & spurred by sudden alarms.
  4. The govt. is promising a tough law to deal with the production of harmful food products and new commissions to replace consumer forums.
  5. The present day controversy acquired a new clamour, when FIRs were registered against brand ambassadors, unravelling a new thread of responsibility.

Jun, 03, 2015

Why prosecuting Maggi brand ambassadors makes no sense

Punishing brand ambassadors shows that the government is only interested in going after the low hanging fruits.

It took the government 54 years & a court case to get rid of rat shit in your most basic food items (read Public Distribution system). But I do not recall any politician who extolled the PDS system being pulled up for it.

How, then, can Bachchan or Dixit or Zinta be held responsible for a faulty batch of Maggi made in UP? If someone detects a higher level of petroleum jelly in say, Lux soap, should all heroines who endorse it or have ever done so, be hauled into court?

Apr, 07, 2015

Is your food safe enough?

This year, WHO’s theme is ‘Food Safety’ – To ensure that everyone has the answers to a few questions: What is in your meal and where did the ingredients come from?

  1. WHO is concerned about streamlining the supply chain and stressing on stakeholders to promote food safety.
  2. The approach to food safety requires multi-sectoral collaboration, as it passes through multiple hands from farm to plates.
  3. As groundwater resources deplete & put pressure on other factor, farm markets shift to ‘chemically managed’ crops.
  4. The increasing disregard for food safety norms is based on multiple factors including lack of awareness and training, absence of compliance or plain corruption.

Mar, 31, 2015

Safe food, from the farm to the plate

Food safety is critical for public health as food-borne diseases affect people’s well-being, strain health-care systems, and adversely impact national economies, tourism and trade.


  1. Unsafe food creates a vicious cycle of disease and malnutrition, particularly affecting infants, young children, the elderly and the sick.
  2. Unsafe food creates a vicious cycle of disease and malnutrition, particularly affecting infants, young children, the elderly and the sick.
  3. The emergence of street foods assumes public health significance, as a source of food-borne diseases.
  4. Establish a network of food safety authorities at national/international level, to promote exchange of food safety information and improve collaboration.
  5. Incorporation of food safety in disaster mgmt. programmes and emergencies, due to likelihood of food in the affected areas getting contaminated and causing outbreaks of foodborne disease.
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