FSSAI (Food Safety and Standards Authority of India) improvises on a regular basis and releases drafts, updates and Gazette notifications with respect to Food and Water Safety, Compliance and Health of all the consumers. This helps standardize all kinds of food products, ingredients, methods of operation, etc under the respective regulations as made with accordance to the Food Law.
However, many Food Business Operators (FBOs) and majorly consumers tend to overlook or completely miss many important highlights that are pivotal to their business.
Equinox has started an initiative called ‘WhatsApp Updates’ which we send every week; this consists of an image and link to the blog which delves into the notifications. Here are the updates which made the headlines in Food Industry last week:
1. FSSAI has asked the States and Union Territories to verify compliance by conducting a special inspection drive in edible oil manufacturing and processing units regarding Transfatty acids not being more than 5%.
According to a notification from FSSAI earlier in August 2015, FSSAI had revised maximum limit of trans fatty acids to not exceed more than five percent in interesterified vegetable oil/fat, margarine, fat spread and hydrogenated vegetable oils from the earlier decided ten percent by amending the FSS (Food Products Standards and Food Additives) Regulations, 2011.
The time period for compliance was allotted to be February 2016 and with its end, it was mandated to be compliant with the said regulation. Hence, the special inspection drive is in place to ensure that edible oil manufacturers and processors have complied with the update from FSSAI.
2. The influx of Genetically Modified (GM) Foods without any advisory can pose a danger to the health. Mandatory labelling has been recommended to the FSSAI for products with GM ingredient of 5% or more.
There are reports which have highlighted the increased amount of GM products or GM ingredients in the Indian Food Market without any consumer warning or health advisory. The rates at which the products are circulating in the market with little or no health effects known, can be dangerous. Hence, a validated label bearing the presence, its amount and the danger it might have to the consumer should be in place, as per the demand of the government officials.
3. FSSAI has requested suggestions on tolerance to harmonisation of Maximum Residue Level (MRL) of pesticides. It mentions specific insecticides which can be used on food, not beyond the MRL prescribed.
FSSAI has issued a notice which suggests restrictions on the use of insecticides directly on articles of food. It also puts forth new standards Food Safety and Standards (Contaminants, Toxins and Residues) Regulations, 2011. If insecticides are registered under the Insecticide Act but the label mentions for the products are not standardised, the MRL is to be fixed at Limits Of Quantification. MRL will also be decided based on the fats and as per the recommendation by 49th Session of Codex Committee on Pesticide Residues (CCPR).
4. FSSAI has identified 15 key areas to work upon which can revolutionize the Indian Food Sector. Licensing and compliance, institutional capacity for food safety in states, food imports, food testing, safe food practices, etc, are few of the many areas.
To ensure that Indian Food Industry stands on par with the global market standards, FSSAI has identified 15 key areas that should be worked upon. This will ideate the norms and set in motion, a chain of events that should lead to compliance.
Here are the 15 sectors that are decided :
1. Governance and administration
2. food standards
3. Food Safety and Knowledge Assimilation Network (FSKAN)
4. registration, licensing and compliance
5. institutional capacity for food safety in states
6. food imports
7. food testing
8. safe food practices
9. food safety training
10. social and behavioural change
11. consumer connect
12. promoting a healthy diet
13. preventing food wastage and managing food loss
14. promoting hygienic street food and local food culture
15. technological intervention and global outreach
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