Prod­ucts of top food com­pa­nies fail to meet norms of reg­u­la­tor

Consumer Voice - - In The News -

Food Safety & Stan­dards Au­thor­ity of In­dia (FSSAI) has re­jected scores of prod­uct ap­proval re­quests by Tata Star­bucks, Fer­rero, Field­Fresh Foods, Kel­logg and McCain, among oth­ers, on ac­count of as­sess­ment of risk or safety, ac­cord­ing to a state­ment on the reg­u­la­tor’s web­site.

Ap­pli­ca­tions by Tata Star­bucks that were dis­al­lowed in­clude over 30 vari­ants of pud­dings, sauces, mixes, syrups, tea and cof­fee. Other prod­ucts that were re­jected in­clude McCain’s bat­tered pep­per and cheese bites, Venky’s chicken Ara­bic-style kofta and crispy chicken burger patty. Also re­jected were Kel­logg’s Spe­cial K-red berries, Del Monte’s egg may­on­naise/salad dress­ing vari­ants, nat­u­ral vine­gar and a pro­pri­etary hot sauce, and Fer­rero Rocher’s pro­pri­etary milky and co­coa spreads with ce­re­als and milk cho­co­late.

FSSAI also pulled up the com­pa­nies for try­ing to seek un­fet­tered pas­sage for their mer­chan­dise us­ing the ‘Make in In­dia’ ini­tia­tive, which en­cour­ages lo­cal man­u­fac­tur­ing. There have been skir­mishes be­tween FSSAI and com­pa­nies over hold­ing back ap­provals for the im­port of some prod­ucts, in­clud­ing choco­lates and liquor.

“Most food busi­ness op­er­a­tors, es­pe­cially the ag­grieved ones, ap­pear to be swear­ing by the hon’ble PM’s ‘Make in In­dia’ ini­tia­tive, con­ve­niently for­get­ting that it is also ac­com­pa­nied by the words ‘zero de­fect and zero ef­fect’,” FSSAI Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer YS Ma­lik said in an open let­ter that was posted on the web­site.

The no­tice lists ap­pli­ca­tions re­ceived by the food reg­u­la­tor which have been re­jected “on as­sess­ment of risk and safety of the pro­posed prod­ucts by the prod­uct ap­proval and screen­ing com­mit­tee and the sci­en­tific panel”, ac­cord­ing to the FSSAI state­ment. The prod­ucts are a com­bi­na­tion of im­ported and lo­cally made ones.

The food reg­u­la­tor con­ducts tests of ran­dom sam­ples and in the case of im­ported prod­ucts, checks them at ports. The FSSAI of­fi­cial said in his let­ter that com­pa­nies of­ten found it con­ve­nient to draw par­al­lels with the US Food & Drug Ad­min­is­tra­tion or the EU reg­u­la­tory sys­tem, “lit­tle re­al­iz­ing that sel­f­reg­u­la­tion is rather com­pelling in those economies, thanks to a very con­scious and aware con­sumer base, cou­pled with an ef­fec­tive and re­spon­sive le­gal sys­tem.”

Public un­aware of global im­pact of un­healthy di­ets, says study

New re­search from Con­sumers In­ter­na­tional, the in­ter­na­tional fed­er­a­tion of con­sumer or­ga­ni­za­tions, sug­gests that huge num­bers of the public are un­aware of the ma­jor im­pact that un­healthy di­ets are hav­ing on global public health. Re­search across six coun­tries found that on av­er­age only 18 per cent of peo­ple cor­rectly iden­ti­fied that un­healthy di­ets con­trib­uted to more deaths than war, smok­ing, con­sump­tion of al­co­hol, HIV/AIDS or malaria.

The re­search also shows the de­mand for ac­tions to help con­sumers choose a health­ier diet. These ac­tions in­clude: re­duc­ing high lev­els of fat, sugar and salt in ev­ery­day foods, reg­u­lat­ing the mar­ket­ing of food high in fat, sugar and salt to chil­dren, and giv­ing con­sumers more in­for­ma­tion about the lev­els of fat, sugar and salt in food.

Amanda Long, di­rec­tor-gen­eral of Con­sumers In­ter­na­tional, com­mented: “Our sur­vey sug­gests that few peo­ple un­der­stand the scale of the health cri­sis we are fac­ing. Un­healthy di­ets con­trib­ute to 11 mil­lion deaths per year and rank above to­bacco as the world’s lead­ing cause of these pre­ventable non-com­mu­ni­ca­ble dis­eases such as heart dis­ease and can­cer. Obe­sity alone costs the world econ­omy $2 tril­lion a year.

“Since 1980, the preva­lence of obe­sity world­wide has nearly dou­bled and Type 2 di­a­betes in­ci­dence has soared with un­healthy di­ets the largest con­trib­u­tor to the global prob­lem. We need to ur­gently ad­dress this is­sue.”

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