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FSSAI demands increase in surveillance activities with major focus on packaged products

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

New Delhi: In a series of efforts to ensure alertness about the pressing problem of food adulteration, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), has asked all food safety commissioners to “increase surveillance activities” with a special focus on milk, packaged drinking water and edible oils, an official source said, “State food departments have been asked to be more vigilant and to increase surveillance activities, especially on milk, water and edible oil. Serious violations of labeling requirements have been observed,” an official said to a national daily.

Food commissioners all over the country have been directed to collect more samples of the aforementioned products, so that they could be sent for detailed testing.In addition to the order on the countrywide recall and withdrawal of all nine variants of Nestle’s Maggi instant noodles on finding added monosodium glutamate (MSG) and excess of lead than the prescribed limit, letters were also sent to companies like Kellogg’s and Heinz, asking them to explain labeling etc.

In its recent meeting, the FSSAI’s main concern was that companies are not following the standards and labeling requirements as per law, and consumers are being misled about these products through their packaging and endorsement, suggest sources. FSSAI has directed food inspectors to keep a close watch on products that are consumed in “large quantities” by large segments of the population, in an effort to encourage states to create  ‘consumer awareness.’

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Lack of Proper Sanitation Affects 620 Million Children Around The World: Report

Despite the improvements, more than a third of the girls in South Asia miss school for one to three days a month during their period.

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toilets, studentsac
A new toilet recently installed in a Rohingya refugee camp in Bangladesh. VOA

A lack of proper school toilets threatens the health, education and safety of at least 620 million children around the world, the charity WaterAid said in a new study published Friday.

Children at 1 in 3 schools lack access to proper toilets, putting them at risk of diarrhea and other infections and forcing some to miss lessons altogether, according to the study, based on data from 101 countries.

Guinea-Bissau in West Africa has the worst school toilets while Ethiopian children fare worst at home, with 93 percent of homes lacking a decent toilet according to the report, released ahead of World Toilet Day on Monday.

toilets, students
Students arrive for class at the Every Nation Academy private school in the city of Makeni in Sierra Leone, April 20, 2012. VOA

“The message here is that water and sanitation affect everything,” WaterAid spokeswoman Anna France-Williams told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. “If there’s no toilet in schools, children will miss lessons and it will have an impact on their growing up.”

Diarrhea, infection risk

A lack of proper sanitation puts millions of children around the world in danger of diarrhea, which kills 289,000 children younger than 5 a year, WaterAid said.

But some regions have started to clean up their act, notably South Asia, where access to toilets in schools has improved.

More than half the schools in Bangladesh now have access to decent toilets, while students in 73 percent of schools in India and 76 percent of those in Bhutan can access basic sanitation.

Akramul Islam, director of water, sanitation and hygiene at the Bangladeshi charity BRAC, said the country’s once-high levels of open defecation — using open ground rather than toilets — were now less than 1 percent.

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India’s plight in sanitation has not improved much since ages.
Pixabay

“Today, schools have separate toilets for girls and boys and the issue of menstrual hygiene is also being addressed,” he said. “This has happened because of initiatives taken by both the government, the NGOs and other stakeholders.”

Also Read: 3 HIV+ Students Banned From School in Indonesia

Improvement needed

Despite the improvements, more than a third of the girls in South Asia miss school for one to three days a month during their period, WaterAid said, urging greater investment in basic sanitation.

“If we are serious about all children and young people, wherever they are, whatever their gender, physical ability or community background, having their right to clean water and sanitation, we must take decisive and inclusive action now,” said Chief Executive Tim Wainwright. (VOA)