Sunday November 19, 2017

Food adulteration in India, the reason you need to be careful with what you eat

There is a good probability that a lot of what you eat is adulterated. Therefore, it becomes essential to cross check the purity of the things you consume

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Food adulteration in India and its consequences
Food adulteration in India has been highly rampant. Pixabay
  • Food adulteration has been highly rampant in India 
  • “Some of the most common adulterated foods are milk and milk products, atta, edible oils, cereals, condiments”
  • The case of food adulteration that took the country by storm was the case of Maggi Noodles, India’s most popular snack

New Delhi, August 1, 2017: The definition of food adulteration according to the Food and Safety Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is, “The addition or subtraction of any substance to or from food so that the natural composition and quality of food substance is affected.”

Food adulteration has been highly rampant in India. India, on a usual basis, witnesses a number of cases of people getting affected by consuming adulterated food products.

According to FSSAI, “Some of the most common adulterated foods are milk and milk products, atta, edible oils, cereals, condiments, pulses, coffee, tea, confectionery, baking powder, vinegar, besan and curry powder.”

The case of food adulteration that took the country by storm was the case of the very loved, Maggi Noodles. Maggi Noodles was found to contain a higher than the permissible level of lead and MSG. The entire nation was shocked to know that India’s most popular snack is not safe for consumption. Nutritionists suggest that consumption of lead for a long period of time can have hazardous consequences on the body.

Also read: To eat or not to eat? Think before you eat food items from these brands.

“The Annual Public Laboratory Testing Report for 2014-15 brought out by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) says that of the 49,290 samples of food items it tested, 8,469, nearly one-fifth, were found adulterated or misbranded,” suggests a report in The Hindu.

The worst part is, despite the potential of disastrous consequences of adulteration, the government is very lenient in providing punishment for the crime. Even if the culprit is caught, the system isn’t strict enough and one can easily get away.

“The reason behind the increasing trend in food adulteration practices is the poor ethical framework and lack of values. Government laws have their limits, it is the values in people that automatically resist them to do unethical practices,” says Rahul Gupta who works for the Food Corporation of India.

“In regard to milk, the demand and supply gap, and the ease with which it can be handled is what makes it the softest target of adulteration,” he mentioned.

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Sections 272 and 273 of the Indian Penal Code deal with the offense of Adulteration of Food and Drink Intended for Sale entailing a punishment of six months imprisonment or payment of Rs. 1000 fine in case of a person adulterating some food or drink, as an attempt to make the food or drink noxious, intending to sell it, or knowing the likeliness of the same being sold as a food or drink.

There is a good probability that a lot of what you eat is adulterated. Therefore, it becomes essential to cross check the purity of the things you consume. The situation is, indeed grave and one needs to be watchful!

-by Samiksha Goel of Newsgram. Twitter @goel_samiksha

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Science cannot be at the expense of Culture: Here is Why!

Presently, the direct scientific solutions that are proposed to battle the ever evolving health epidemics and new age food-crisis, pose against the weight of thousand years of our cultural identity

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food and health, human traditions and culture, science
Food and human health. Pixabay
  • New solutions must be developed to face the yet-to-arrive challenges regarding food and health
  • The human traditions and human culture need to reconsider the methods of incorporating the scientific solutions into our daily living

June 16, 2017: Science and the society have to join hands and come forward together in order to resolve the issues that are related to health and food, scientist and health expert have stated. New solutions must be developed to face the yet-to-arrive challenges regarding food and health.

ALSO READ: Biofortification: Combat World Hunger Crisis by breeding nutrient-packed Crops that will fill Stomachs and lessen Effects of Malnutrition

About the culture

The omnivorous requirements and the culinary traditions are two things which form the foundation of the human culture that is developed and designed with the help of food-culture. In light of scientific progress; we, humans, change habits very rarely- history says. Presently, the direct scientific solutions that are proposed to battle the ever-evolving health epidemics and new age food-crisis, pose against the weight of thousand years of our cultural identity.

Scientific queries-  

Three questions regarding the health and food issues include-

  • What policies, new information, and new techniques can be proposed to address our problems that arise from food?
  • What exactly is the scenario of human diets, and human health that is related to the diets?
  • How effective will be the future food solutions to the next progeny or long after today’s generation ceases to exist?

In a nutshell-

The human traditions and human culture need to reconsider the methods of incorporating the scientific solutions into our daily living, in order to feed a hungry future-generation. Failing to do that, greater faith must be placed on science and technology to provide the human world with better solutions and evidence regarding the future of food.

– by Antara Kumar of NewsGram. Twitter: @ElaanaC

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Coca-Cola, Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) to train 50,000 Vendors in serving Safe and Hygienic Street Food

The move was also touted as a step in the direction of the central government’s flagship Skill India programme

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Street Food in India, Wikimedia

New Delhi, March 27, 2017: The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) and Coca-Cola joined hands on Monday to train over 50,000 small-time street food vendors in hygiene and health-related aspects of food selling, starting from April.

The Coca-Cola India (CCI) and the FSSAI will, under the latter’s “Safe and Nutritious Food – A Shared Responsibility” theme, will provide training to the street food vendors, starting with Ludhiana in Punjab before moving on to other states.

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The move was also touted as a step in the direction of the central government’s flagship Skill India programme.

Speaking on the occasion, Venkatesh Kini, President, Coca-Cola India and South West Asia, said: “Coca-Cola India is enthusiastic about partnering with FSSAI to make a significant contribution to improving the lives of the vendors and also enhancing the eating out experience for consumers. Coca-Cola India has already taken several steps towards skill enhancement, both in social as well as sporting arenas under Skill India.”

This is not the first time that the American soft drink-maker would be launching such a training drive. “Parivartan”, its flagship initiative, is in its 10th year and was launched well before the company came up with any Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) scheme.

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“Coca-Cola India has been training ‘kirana’ (provisions) retailers for the past ten years under their flagship retailer training initiative – Parivartan. This collaboration with FSSAI provides an opportunity and broadens the horizons of Coca-Cola’s Parivartan initiative,” Kini said.

The training would be completely bona fide and there would be no compulsion to stock or sell their products, he added.

The FSSAI, which has also been training street vendors for years, has run such initiatives in Delhi and other states with help of the National Association of Street Vendors of India. During its previous campaigns, it was able to train 20,000 such vendors.

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“The idea this time is to touch the lives of every Indian, wherever he may be living, and help him get the cleanest possible food,” FSSAI CEO Pawan Aggarwal said at the event.

The training will include screening of audio-visual material and acquainting vendors on managing inventory, stock, and how to keep the water from getting contaminated further, keeping in view the role of infected water as the cause of most diseases. (IANS)

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Syrian Government accused of committing slow-motion ‘Slaughter’ of People Trapped by War

Physicians for Human Rights said many others suffered avoidable deaths because military forces stripped medical supplies from aid convoys that did manage to enter besieged and hard-to-reach areas

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ADVANCE TO GO WITH STORY UNITED NATIONS-SYRIA-HUMANITARIAN AID BY EDITH M. LEDERER, FILE -- This Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2015 file photo, hundreds of Syrians mingle amid rubble before going out of town to buy food and other essential materials as they wait in line at a military checkpoint in the town of Beit Sahm, south of the capital, Damascus, Syria. A new report by Physicians for Human Rights accuses the Syrian government of "slow-motion slaughter" of unknown numbers of Syrians trapped in besieged and hard-to-reach areas by willfully denying them food and health care, which it calls a war crime. (AP Photo, File)

The Syrian government committed “slow-motion slaughter” of unknown numbers of Syrians trapped in besieged and hard-to-reach areas by willfully denying them food and health care, according to a new report Tuesday from a civil rights group.

Physicians for Human Rights says in the report that the Syrian government consistently exploited a new U.N. aid delivery system, depriving millions of Syrians unable to leave their towns and cities of critically needed food and medicine. The group called that a war crime.

Officials in Damascus declined to comment.

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The New York-based advocacy group said a new two-step approval process for aid convoys that Syrian and U.N. officials agreed to in April 2016 “fell abysmally short” of its aim of ensuring access to all Syrians in need because the government in Damascus retained “unilateral authority” over who received assistance.

Besides the unknown numbers of Syrians that have starved to death, Physicians for Human Rights said many others suffered avoidable deaths because military forces stripped medical supplies from aid convoys that did manage to enter besieged and hard-to-reach areas.

“Still others bleed to death from war-related injuries – or die in childbirth, or from other preventable causes – because their besiegers refuse to allow the sick and injured to be evacuated to medical care,” the rights group said.

The report called on the United Nations to carry out deliveries to the most difficult areas without prior government approval, and to document and quickly report attempts to restrict or block convoys. And it called on the Syrian government not to block, restrict or delay aid convoys.

PHP cited data from the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs saying that by early December 2016, 4.9 million Syrians lived in besieged and hard-to-reach areas, “including about 975,000 under active siege, most of them – about 850,000 – by Syrian government forces.”

In 2015, U.N. agencies completed 32 convoy deliveries to just 620,500 people in besieged and hard-to-reach areas.

Physicians for Human Rights analyzed the U.N. data from OCHA for 2016 and reported that the number of aid convoys to those areas increased significantly to 131 – but it said “the increased deliveries were vastly insufficient to meeting rapidly growing needs across the country.”

Only 24 percent of the people living in besieged and hard-to-reach areas received aid between May and December, after the two-step process took effect, it said.

One factor, the report said, was the Syrian government’s rejection from May through December of access to one-third of the people in besieged and hard-to-reach areas that the U.N. sought to help, which left, on average, nearly 340,000 people without aid every month, “many for months on end.”

While the government approved aid to two-thirds of the areas requested from May through December, Physicians for Human Rights said U.N. convoys only reach 38 percent of the approved population.

“On average, U.N. agencies were unable to deliver aid to more than 500,000 people for whom Syrian authorities had approved access each month during this time period,” the report said.

The data analysis showed that on average the U.N. actually reached a decreasing number of people each month in 2016.

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“Thus, the increased approval rates throughout 2016 were meaningless at best, as they failed to produce increased aid deliveries,” the report said. “At worst, this pattern reflects an effort by Syrian authorities to appear cooperative while still ensuring that access to besieged areas remained blocked.” (VOA)