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During proceedings on Wednesday, in regard to the ban on the Nestle product, Bombay Highcourt, it was concurred that NO ALCOHOL in India has received any product approval by the food safety regulator. Yet, it is being sold without any ban.
“The first thing that you should ban is alcohol. Nowadays, even schoolchildren have started consuming alcohol. It is injurious to health and is a food product. Cigarette is not because it does not fall in the category of food products,” said Justices V M Kanade and B P Colabawalla after the counsel of food safety regulator — Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) — defended the ban on Maggi noodles saying it was injurious to health.
However the defence (state) claims that the said that Nestle India was giving an “erroneous impression” by putting a “no MSG (monosodium glutamate)” label on its products. A high content of MSG became the bone of contention over which Maggi noodles was banned on June 5.
According to the Indian Express:
The court also said that it was time to put section 22 of the Food Safety Act to test. The said section deals with all such food items that are banned unless the food regulator approves it. Section 22 of the Act states: “Save as otherwise provided under this Act and regulations made thereunder, no person shall manufacture, distribute, sell or import any novel food, genetically modified articles of food, irradiated food, organic foods, foods for special dietary uses, functional foods, neutraceuticals, health supplements, proprietary foods and such other articles of food which the central government may notify in this behalf.”
Next time you visit an eating joint, you might as well hear the guy on the register saying, “That would be $4 and 900 calories, please!”
In a recent development, in United States of America, it has been mandated that every restaurant, pub and cinema chain should be displaying the calorie content of their food and drink. The same practice is already being followed by many joints in United Kingdom.
According to BBC :
Izzi Seccombe, chairman of the LGA’s community well-being board, said: “We are calling on cinema, restaurant and pub chains to step up and show leadership in tackling the obesity crisis, by providing clear and graphic signs at counters and on menus.
“In many cases, people are unaware of how many calories they are consuming.
“Food and drink outlets should be doing more to provide clear and prominent labelling which spells this out clearly.”
Soft drinks are said to be the biggest contributor to the obesity problems in kids these days, around the world. The move should be a welcoming one, as now one can observe and record his/her calorie intake, even when eating out. Also, perhaps, out of sheer shyness, of public display of calorie intact, we may cut on intake as well!! Great move for ones under diet plans!
FSSAI came into light for the general public only after the Nestle Maggi was banned. But is that all that is banned?
Surprisingly, FSSAI has always been under action, with about 400 products already banned apart from our favourite 2 minute noodles.
It seems that food companies have taken Indian food standards too lightly. In a compilation by NewsToFuse, the following stats will reflect the same.
Nestle is just a single company that has been scrutinised. There have been other big names whose items have been banned, but the general public has not been made aware of that by the media.
Tata Starbuck, Amway, Del Monte, McCain, Orflame and Ranbaxy are few of these defaulters. Remember the ads of Revital? Yeah well, BANNED!
No matter how old or young we are, the taste of the fluffy powdered milk is something we all have a liking for. Even the irritable moment when it sticks to the insides of the mouth, and makes it all dry, the taste is terribly addictive. Those little sachets of Nestle powdered milk is what all kids wait for, while travelling in the Rajdhani train, or an Air India flight. But is the powdered milk same as the natural milk? Powdered milk is said to hold similar nutritive values as the naturally procured milk. It does not have the odour, that many people do not enjoy in a regular milk. Also, it proves to be real time saver, and being used as tea/coffee whitener. However, being similar does not mean being same. The golden rule is, all that is not natural and packaged, is not 100% safe. Powdered form of the milk contains preservatives. Also, it misses out on some very essential nutrients like phosphorous, selenium and B-complex vitamins. Also, there is an argument, that many people do not get the mixture composition with water correctly. However the counter, from Dr. Ritika Samaddar of Max Healthcare Saket, New Delhi, is the back of the pack describes how to make the milk mixture with proper instructions. According to NDTV
All in all, powdered milk offers a convenient alternative to regular milk. However, as the experts have noted above, it is imperative that you chose the right product and consume it as per the nutritional directions mentioned on the pack – this is extremely crucial, especially when it is being fed to children.
In another development, it seems that FSSAI is now in action in full power. It seems to be taking alcoholic beverages under its list of standards to monitor the quality that is inflowing for its consumers.
A senior official told PTI :
Work is going on to prepare standards for alcohol and alcoholic beverages, in next two months the FSSAI will come up with draft notification seeking comments from the public
Among the drinks, whiskey, vodka, gin, beer and even breezer will come under the proposed standards, the official said.
According to NDTV:
Earlier this year, a meeting of the Central Advisory Committee had also discussed having standards for alcohol and alcoholic beverages. It was decided that once standards for alcohol and alcoholic beverages were finalised it shall be intimated to all states and UTs so that they may suitably advise the respective excise departments.
As the trend is going on, it seems that India is going to witness international levels of food standards soon, which is a great news to all the consumers, and to keep them healthy and aware of what they consume.
Nestle has been taking a firm hold on its stance that Maggi did not really break the trust of its consumers. Officials at Nestle have constantly taken the stand, that Maggi noodles never contained Lead and MSG, beyond the allowed limits. However, to maintain the trust of its consumers, Nestle gave a tender worth Rs. 20cr to Aditya Birla group to get done away with the Maggi packets that were banned for consumption.
In recent developments, two things have come forth in sight.
1. Labs in Canada, UK, Singapore and US that tested Maggi samples imported from India, gave a thumbs up, claiming Maggi fit for consumption. They found no content that was harmful for human consumption.
2. Nestle unsurfaced an interesting fact. The testing of the samples, that are said to have failed, were done in Laboratories that were not accredited to do so.
As Times of India published in an article :
Nestle India has hit back at Food Safety Standard Authority of India (FSSAI) for its June 5 ban on the popular 2-minute Maggi noodles by stating that the laboratories where noodle samples tested positive for excessive lead content “lacked accreditation, and are thus inconsistent and unreliable”. It also questioned the grounds of “emergency” for a pan-India ban.
Company has filed a case in the Bombay high court, and its plea shall be heard tomorrow, Tuesday, 14th July 2015. If the Nestle bags this case, huge reimbursements are on its way for Nestle, and this shall pose a question, as to why was there such haste in banning the two minute noodle, and why was this case so poorly handled?
The Food Safety and Standard Authority of India seem to have got into active mode ever since the media cracked onto the Nestle Maggi row. In a recent development, FSSAI has set 12,000 (twelve thousand) standards for food additives and ingredients.
These standards have been set in line with the global standard for product approval Codex. The setting of these standards are supposed to make product approval process more swift, compared to the old lengthy process.
Before this new development, there were only 375 food standards, and NONE were regarding additives and ingredients.
An article in The Times of India :
“FSSAI has approved 12,000 standards for food additives and ingredients. The Law Ministry is vetting the standards and a notification will be issued soon,” a senior health ministry official said.
FSSAI has stepped up measures to strengthen the quality standards for food products. It is reviewing the existing standards set for caffeine content, metal and toxic contaminants and other residues in the food products. The regulator is also in the process of setting standards for imported food items to ensure safe products are sold in the domestic market.
It is noticeable that FSSAI has been quite active in strengthening the food safety norms in India, trying to set levels at par with International levels, which is in best interest of the consumers. But the question is, why did we have to wait for a controversy as large as Nestle Maggi, for the food safety wing of our country to ensure safer food?