Food sector updates- Week 6

Key Developments:

  • The Bombay High Court is expected to deliver its verdict today on Nestlé’s plea against the ban on Maggi
  • CAIT made a plea to Ministry of Consumer Affairs to bring brand ambassadors under the ambit of the Consumer Protection Bill
  • The results of tests conducted on Maggi in Mysuru's Central Food Technological Research Institute have shown that Maggi is safe
  • Maharashtra FDA has given a clean chit to Haldirams snacks, the State FDA tests reveal that the snacks are safe in terms of the presence of lead, sand particles and bacteria
  • Nestle India to increase advertising spend for image building post Maggi controversy
  • Reports about CFTRI clearing Maggi samples has been carried by media extensively, it is being widely speculated that the ban on Maggi noodles will be lifted soon
  • Gujarat Food and Drug Control Authority has extended the ban on Maggi noodles for third time in a row for a month. The State FDA said that Nestlé India has not furnished any safety data for the product
  • FSSAI has released a statement on its website clarifying that it has not given a clean chit to Maggi noodles post CFTRI results
  • The Economic Times has reported on the meeting held between concerned Ministries, FSSAI and industry associations. ET has taken a view that ‘Merely cracking down on food processors can spoil an industry but will not make food safe for Indians….instead the whole supply chain needs to be looked at.’

News updates:

FSSAI extends licence deadline to Feb 4, The Hindu Business Line, 7 July 2015

Food safety regulator FSSAI on August 6 extended the deadline for food companies to get a license to run their businesses by another six months, to February 4, 2016

The decision has been taken after the Union Health Ministry considered representations from various stakeholders, including food companies and industry associations. The industry has been demanding an extension of one year

As per the Food Safety and Standards regulations of 2011, no person or food business operator can commence any food business unless he or the operator possesses a valid license

Have gut feeling Maggi will return to retail shelves soon, says minister Ram Vilas Paswan, Firstpost, 7 July 2015

Consumer affairs minister Ram Vilas Paswan on Thursday said he was hopeful that Nestlé’s Maggi can be back on the shelves soon, drawing from the test reports that have come in now regarding the safety of the top instant noodles brand from some accredited laboratories

Paswan made it clear that consumer interest will be paramount while deciding on the matter pertaining to the ban on Maggi, while also expressing concern over the negative perception such developments have created in the minds of the potential foreign investors

State FDAs product approval system bringing back inspector raj: Food companies, The Economic Times, 6 July 2015

In a meeting with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, food companies have expressed their concern over the product approval system that FSSAI currently has

The food companies said that the product approval should be restricted to new ingredients and novel items only

The issues raised at the meeting involved an overlap between the Food Safety and Standards Act regulations framed for broad food categories and the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) norms for food on an item-to-item basis, the nature of the advisories issued by the FSSAI, which have no legal standing and are not consultative

Officials in the Health Ministry, under which FSSAI functions, declined to comment on the meeting, though there is an understanding
that the Ministry of Food Processing, PMO and other ministries want issues related to food safety and standards to be resolved at the earliest

Lessons from the Maggi Controversy, The Economic Times, 6 July 2015

In an editorial in ET, the publication has taken a stand that the food processing industry needs education on the procedures to be followed to demonstrate compliance, trace the sourcing of ingredients and maintain paperwork

It has also been recommended that the government invest in ensuring better quality fuel available across the country so that food
processing plants in close proximity of highways do not absorb harmful chemicals

Food safety should not be a point of conflict between the food processing industry and the FSSAI and instead it should be a unifying

FSSAI issues release to clarify that it gave no clean chit to Maggi, The Times of India, 6 July 2015

It is clarified that the FSSAI has not given any clean chit regarding the safety of Maggi noodles Some of the Maggi samples were sent for testing to the Food and Drugs laboratory of Goa by the Goa Food Safety Department where the food analyst that had taken the permissible limit of lead as being 10 parts per million for the “tastemaker” as against the maximum permissible limit being 2.5 parts per million

The Goa food regulatory authorities sent a portion of the testing to CFTRI, Mysore where lead was found to be within permissible
limits bit were not tested for MSG, according to the FSSAI

Overall, the FSSAI has asserted that the tests carried out by the Food regulatory authorities of Goa have no bearing on the June 5
recall order

FSSAI-approved lab finds Maggi noodles safe, The Times of India, 5 July 2015

In a major boost to Nestle India, FSSAI-approved laboratory of Central Food Technological Research Institute (CFTRI) has found Maggi noodles to be in compliance with the country’s food safety standards

Goa FDA Director, Salim A. Veljee confirms that CFTRI finding shows that the samples are in compliance with the food safety standards as per the Food Safety and Standards Rules, 2011

18 per cent of food samples tested found to be adulterated,’ The Business Standard, 5 July 2015

Around 18 per cent of the food samples tested for violation of food safety standards in past three years were found to be adulterated, according to proceedings held in Rajya Sabha on Tuesday

In a written reply, Health and Family Welfare Minister J.P. Nadda said that out of 69949, 72200 and 60548 food samples analysed during 2012-13, 2013-14 and 2014-15, respectively, 10380 (14.8 per cent), 13571 (18.8 per cent) and 12077 (19.9 per cent) samples were found to be adulterated or misbranded

Furthermore, J.P. Nadda has said that all Food Business Operators have to ensure testing of relevant chemical and/or microbiological contaminants in food products in accordance with these regulations as frequently as required

Haldiram snacks safe, no lead, bacteria: Maharashtra FDA, The Times of India, 4 July 2015

After a month after the US FDA banned the import of Haldiram snacks over alleged lapses in food safety standards, the Maharashtra Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Monday gave it a clean chit

Haldiram snacks were tested for the presence of lead, sand particles and bacteria; the lead in the samples is found being well within permissible limits and the test for sand particles has come out negative

The content of carbohydrates and fats was also within limits

New import norms on the anvil for US chicken legs, The Hindu Business Line, 4 July 2015

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India is setting new import norms on chicken leg pieces from the USA, which may come into effect in six months

There is a fear of cheaper US chicken leg pieces flooding the market due to the use of genetically modified feeds for the poultry, such as corn and soyabean as genetically modified crops are banned in India

Large scale imports from the US will bring the unorganised poultry industry to its knees as it already faces many challenges such as high feed prices

Bring brand ambassadors under consumer law: CAIT to Ram Vilas Paswan, The Financial Express, 3 July 2015

Amid the Maggi noodles controversy, trader body CAIT has requested Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan to bring brand
ambassadors under the ambit of the Consumer Protection Bill, 2015, which was approved by the Cabinet last week

The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT), in a letter to the Minister, said that the brand ambassadors should be included as Service Providers since endorsements by them are made primarily with an aim to push the sales of a product

The brand ambassadors will come under the ambit of Product Liability, which is a new chapter of the Consumer Protection Bill, 2015

Nestlé India reassessing brand Maggi, The Hindu Business Line, 3 July 2015

Nestlé India has said that it is reassessing the various aspects of Maggi product and there is a process of internalization of learnings as a result of the controversy

The company will also be looking at reducing overdependence on one product and besides Maggi, it will also focus on increasing growth in other product categories such as dairy, coffee and beverages, chocolate and confectionary and nutrition

FSSAI raids reveal food adulteration, The Hindu , 3 July 2015

Operation Ruchi has been in full force in the state of Kerala, which is a crackdown on eateries, including hotels that are in
violation of the food safety norms

The most crackdown as a result of the implementation of Operation Ruchi has been a temporary closure of two hotels at Charummodu and a soda-making factory at Kayamkulam, as ordered by the officials of the FSSAI


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