FSSAI To Stop Product Approvals

In a publication, dated 26th August 2015, the Food Safety & Standards Authority of India has stated that it is no longer possible for them to continue with the existing Food Product Approval System. The process of product approval has been into action   through their advisory of 11 May 2013. The FSSAI has published this information in view of the Supreme Court Order dated 19 August 2015. The Apex court has upheld the order of Bombay High Court decision on quashing the advisory that FSSAI had issued on the procedure for product approvals. (source : Food Safety Helpline). The process of product approval was brought to allow streamlining of the entire process of approving the food which is not standardized for the safety of the public.

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Food Safety experts say; around the globe product approval is not required to launch products. If FSSAI still feels the need for a product approval system it can only be possible by an Act of Parliament and not through an advisory. However, experts are still awaiting clarifications as right now there is no way to ascertain if food companies are free to launch new products or not. Some experts opine that perhaps new product launches may not be permitted until regulations are in place.

Eat to Live… Longer!

Eat to live? Or live to eat? Whichever category you might belong to, this interesting research compilation is something worth a read!

Eight Foods That Improve Life Expectancy (source)

  1. Fruits and Vegetables: Haven’t our mamas always asked us to finish our vegetables, and have salads? Well, that is because they want us to live longer! Fruits and vegetables are low in calorie content, and have more fiber and nutritional value. Balanced and regular intake of these, help maintain body weight, and also protect from cardio-vascular ailments.
  2. Low Salt Intake: Salt has always been known not just in culinary sense, but also a common culprit for blood pressure and related problems. It is a known fact that less salt in the diet means lower blood pressure. And a new study reveals that keeping blood pressure down may also protect brain cells and decrease the risk of age-related memory loss and even dementia.
  3. Blueberries: Antioxidants, as we all know, keep us healthy. They fight against oxidation of elements in our body.  Researchers at the Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University in Boston, have found out that blueberries top the list in terms of their antioxidant activity when compared to 40 other fresh fruit and vegetables.
  4. Tomatoes: Scientifically speaking, tomato comes under the fruit category. They are low in fat, high in fiber and a low-calorie source of many vitamins and they’re packed with lycopene, an antioxidant that gives them their red color and may also have a role to play in lowering the risk of cancer.
  5. Calcium Rich Foods: Bone loss and osteoporosis are among the leading reasons for disability in later life. Once a person becomes disabled, their health often reduces in many other ways. Although some bone loss with age is certain to happen, the process can be slowed down by eating foods high in calcium and vitamin D which can also prevent disabling fractures.
  6. Coffee: A growing number of studies recommend that coffee has many unexpected health benefits. In addition to potentially lowering the risk of type 2 diabetes, drinking coffee may reduce the risk of age-related mental reduction. According to the latest evidence that comes from a Finish study of 1,409 volunteers published in the Journal of Alzheimers Disease in 2009, it found that people who drank coffee consistently during their middle-aged years had improved life expectancy ratio over time.
  7. Soya: Protein is an important component of every cell in the body. Hair and nails are mostly made of protein. Your body uses protein to build and repair tissues. You also use protein to make enzymes, hormones, and other body chemicals. Protein is an important building block of bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood. And Soya is stuffed with quality protein and it is the only plant food that contains all the essential amino acids (protein building blocks) needed for good health, making it similar to meat, fish, eggs and dairy products. This also makes it a particularly important food for vegetarians and vegans.
  8. Grains: Whole grain includes foods such as grain cereals, wholemeal bread, brown rice and wholewheat pasta. As the name suggests, whole grains contain the ‘whole’ grain, including the nutrient-rich germ, the energy-providing endosperm and the fibre-rich bran layer.

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All the Fuss Leading to Lead

Lead was found in Maggi. Lead was found in Yipee. Instant noodles were banned because there is lead in it. But what does lead lead to, that has created all the fuss in the media today? (sources: NRDC; KingCounty )

Lead as poison (scientific name: Plumbum)

  1. Inhibits oxygen and calcium transport and altering nerve transmission in the brain.
  2. Builds up in soft tissue — kidneys, bone marrow, liver, and brain — as well as bones and teeth.
  3. Lead can cause permanent damage including reduced IQ, learning disabilities, and shortened attention span.
  4. Low-level chronic lead exposure in childhood can alter secretion of the human growth hormone, stunting growth and promoting obesity.
  5. Even at low levels, lead can be harmful and be associated with:

  6. Behavior issues
  7. Nervous system damage
  8. Speech and language impairment
  9. Decreased muscle growth
  10. Decreased bone growth
  11. Kidney damage
  12. High levels of lead are life threatening and can cause seizures, unconsciousness, and death.

There is no safe level for Lead intake. Prolonged use of small quantity of lead can also cause serious health issues. And high-level intake can even cause death.

And this is why there has been so much fuss related to lead.

Importance of Food Packaging

A packet of biscuit along with the evening tea, isn’t that just what you need while at work? And how we tear apart that one small packet of the popular glucose biscuit, and five different people dig into our coffee/tea mugs, with the crispy bites. But do we know how important that plastic sheet is, which has wrapped our favourite biscuit before we tore it apart cruelly!

India, on an estimate produces 300 million tonnes of food articles; food that contains grains, cereals, pulses, fruits and vegetables, and meat products. For this huge industry, packaging and distribution plays a key role. The packaging lines generally occupies 50% of the food floor space while the packaging and the related areas engage about 60% of the 5 million labour force concerned with the food industry.

Packaging based on food items

  1. Jaggery and other types of gur are packed in mat baskets and leaves are difficult to pack. This requires hygienic and economical packaging, for both storage and distribution, especially in regions where the RH exceeds 86%
  2. About 30% of total production of fresh fruits and vegetables are transported in bulk packs of jute or hessian and baskets for marketing. Only less than 0.1% is pre-packaged, and efforts are being made to market more in this form, and it is likely to increase 30 folds requiring large quantities of polyethene based films and corrugated fibre board boxes.
  3. In the packaging pattern of liquid milk, a large increase in the volume of the packed milk is expected although self-vending machines are likely to be introduced due to effectiveness. Sterilized milk packed in tetrahedral and brick type aseptic packs are likely to find greater use especially in big towns and cities.
  4. With respect to bakery goods, almost all types of biscuits are either bulk packed or consumer packed, but only 30% if bread and bun are packed.

Packaging has gone through a revolution in recent years. Items are being identified for innovative packaging, making it attractive to the customers. Packaging of food stuff require high degree of protection. Besides other aspects, it should prevent spoilage, provide shelf life, retain its flavour, colour, texture, and nutritional value.

**The above article has been extracted from: Profile on Food Packaging, from Ministry of Food Processing Industries (Govt Of India), Central Food Technological Research institute (Mysore), Indian Institute of Packaging (Bombay)

Herbs to Detoxify Lungs : Quit Smoking

Smoking is injurious to health, and may cause cancer!

We all know about the above statement, but still, that moment of brain-numbness and the “stress-free” couple of seconds pushed us into this vice at one juncture of life. And at some point of time, every smoker decides to quit. When the lungs can’t keep up and we realize that we can no longer sustain our cardio, with as much stamina as we used to have before we started smoking.

Here is something that can help detoxify your lungs, and help push clean air to blood to stay healthy; (source) a list of 5 herbs that can clean up the lungs!

  1. Mullein (Known as Verbascum sinuatum): The flowers and leaves of this plant helps soothe out the nasal passage, and has been proved very effective is problems like asthma, pneumonia, and tuberculosis. It can be consumed as tea, or used in oil/ointments, or cooked to eat. Breathing its steam can be extremely helpful as well!
  2. Lungwort (also known as pulmonaria) : This herb has been used as medicine since 1600! And this HAS to be good for your lung, because the name says so! It thins out the phlegm, thus creating an ease to breathing more clear. If you have accumulated a lot of tar in your lungs from smoking – this is the herb for you.
  3. Licorice Root: Licorice tea is a favourite beverage for all! The initial sip of the tea might not create its effect. But wait for a while, when the root does its magic and fills your mouth with overwhelming sweetness! That natural sweetener is perfect for soothing the throat. It’s great for lung detoxification as it relieves irritation. It helps loosen the phlegm in our throat to make it easier to then expel. It’s antibiotic properties kill bacteria and viruses living in our system.

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  4. Coltsfoot (also known as Tussilago farfara): It looks like little dandelion’s but be careful – when not taken properly it can be toxic. Its leaves have been used since ancient times to treat colds, coughs and other similar sicknesses. It’s effective for smokers when trying to quit. It helps the recovery of tar covered lungs from years of smoking. It loosens the mucus as it acts as a great expectorant. If you have a sore throat or dry cough it creates good relief for that kind of irritation. It can also assist in the soothing of bronchitis, colds, and even pneumonia.
  5. Indian Tobacco (also known as Lobelia Inflata): Don’t worry! The list is still about herbs that work against tobacco! Call it irony, but the tobacco, I mean the India Tobacco is known for causing reverse effects as to what smoking tobacco does to lungs.This amazing herb grows only a few times a year in North America!

    It has been used by Natives throughout time as they understood the healing properties of this plant. It has been used to treat an array of respiratory diseases long before it was used to detoxify lungs.

    Lobeline is an alkaloid that is the main source of relief in this plant. It loosens the phlegm and thins the mucus in the air passages. It’s especially helpful for more serious respiratory issues like asthma and bronchitis.

    It can be used to transition out of tobacco withdrawals in people who are smokers trying to quit. Cleanse your lungs with it by adding a small handful of leaves to a pot of boiling water. Inhale the steam coming from the water for at least 10 minutes. Repeat this twice a day when detoxing your lungs.

A sincere request to our readers! Please quit smoking now! Your life is precious!

Food For Depression

“Having a bad day? Bite on some chocolate, and stop worrying!”
“Its an occasion then! Lets eat out!”

Haven’t we all heard these statements too often? Isn’t it a proof of the fact that food does play an important role in governing your mood? And what if we told you, some food items can help you fight stress and depression?

Yes! Food is not just something you consume to continue living. Food can help you divert your mind from a stressful event, and can even help you medically fight depression.

We are here with a list of items that can help you punch back the sulkiness you have been having! (Source)

Continue reading “Food For Depression”

Mother Dairy Bites the Dust

Just about a month back, Mother Dairy was in news for all the wrong reasons, having failed tests where it was found that the milk samples contained detergents. And now, Ghaziabad FDA has again failed some milk samples.

A Kolkata based central laboratory had recently sent milk samples (fullcream and toned) to the Ghaziabad FDA for retesting, and it was found that the milk samples this time not only contained detergents, but also contained frozen fats.

District FDA teams had collected samples of “full cream milk” on January 11 from a Mother Dairy booth situated at H-Block in Govindpuram, while samples of toned milk were collected on January 30 from the booth situated at 100 feet road in Loni, in the district, he said.

A report from ABP News is here below:

Also Read : Is milk safer than milk powder?

In the past, there have been certain issues reported regarding Mother Dairy’s probiotic milk as well. It seems the food safety is now being taken care of, and very strictly, as many products have been put away from shelves recently under FSSAI norms and guidelines!

Russia destroys all Banned Products

Any decision taken (or not taken in few incidences), always ends up facing the heat. Specially so, when it is the one, that impacts a country. Russia seems to be standing in one of those situations as well.

Russia has always been famous in taking radical decisions. Decisions that make eye-brows raise. Proving to be loyal to such an image, in a event, Russia has decided to destroy all the food articles that have been banned.

While it is a commendable effort, in providing nothing but the best quality food to the citizens, the reason why the decision is facing the heat is because of Russia’s history of famines.

Russia Destroys Food

According to BCC

“The actions come a year after Russia banned some Western food products in retaliation to EU and US sanctions applied after Moscow annexed Crimea. One steamroller took an hour to crush nine tonnes of cheese. Another consignment was due to be burnt. Boxes of bacon have been incinerated. Peaches and tomatoes were also due to be crushed by tractors. “

An initiative taken by the Russians have surfaced up, via online media. more than 2,85,000 Russians have signed a petition to the President, Vladimir Putin, to put an end to this. This is supported by the fact that more than 20 million Russians live below the poverty line, and the amount of food that is being destroyed could have been fed to the needy and the poor.

Course Details

FICCI Research and Analysis Centre has been established as one of the study centres for Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) for the course of Post Graduate Diploma in Food Safety and Quality Management.

For information on the course details, download the pdf file : PG DIPLOMA in FSQM

Course Co-ordinator

Dr. Sujata Pandit

Study Center Details

FICCI Research and Analysis Centre
Plot # 2
Sector 8
Dwarka (Near Sector 9 metro station)
New Delhi – 110077