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Last updated: 16 Jun, 2015  

food-safety-indiaTHMB.jpg Maggi controversy: More than a two-minute concern

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Bikky Khosla | 16 Jun, 2015
Maggi is in the soup. The Bombay High Court has declined Nestle's plea for stay on orders of the food regulators banning nine variants of the noodles brand. Such an act by the Company - if it is really found to be failing standards - is plainly unacceptable, and although I am not much enthusiastic about the government's knee jerk reaction, there is not an iota of doubt that the controversy has brought to the fore an issue that is long overdue - India's extremely poor food safety mechanism and the culture of governmental indifference to matters of food safety. How has such a popular brand aimed mainly at children been selling for so many years without being caught till now?

Very often we come across newspaper articles and television reports on violation of even minimum food safety standards - pesticides in vegetables, antibiotics in poultry, MSG in 'Chinese' food, and so on. Instances of sub-standard products, misbranding and food adulteration are reported in dime a dozen. But the authorities hardly pay heed to them. We, the common people, on the other hand, remain unaware of most of these evil practices or find no other way out but to silently digest everything from simple stones in rice to sophisticated hard-to-detect food adulterants.

We are lagging far behind. The new food safety act seems to be hastily made; people even from the food industry, particularly the small, informal-sector players in the industry, are unaware of the norms to be followed; there is no common implementation - each state decides in its own way what people can eat; there is even no coordination between the FSSAI and the food and drug administration agencies of the states; states are reeling under severe lack of technical staff and testing labs; with no steady supply of electricity or due to low voltage in small towns, facilities there cannot even run the sophisticated equipment. Meanwhile, the challenge of food adulteration is getting tougher with every passing day.

While we all will agree that access to safe food should be the right of every citizen, further inaction will prove fatal not only for consumers, but also for the economy, particularly by jeopardizing the future of India's processed food industry. This is a sunrise sector, showing a robust growth over the recent years - nearly 8.4 percent during the five year period between 2008-09 and 2012-13. In this scenario, it is high time for the country to set new food safety standards. Instead of knee-jerk reactions, the policy makers should give serious thought to framing comprehensive, transparent policies and strengthening the required infrastructure. This will ensure food safety for consumers and at the same time ease of doing business for the industry.

Do you think the Maggi controversy will herald a new era in food safety in India?
 
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advance instant lab analysis
Archie Rae | Fri Jun 19 04:41:17 2015
With today's advanced nearly instant food ingredient analysis equipment manufactures have no excuse for compromising the health and well fare of any consumer world wide. The reducing of food waste, and health related issue in labor and well as the consumer will save million in cost of health care.


Food safety
Archie Rae McFarland IFT/SCORE USA | Fri Jun 19 04:34:34 2015
with the use of cell phone camera any one can subscribe to a web site for $150 per year and scan your food with the softwear and cell phone and receive instant analysis of the food they are eating or purchasing or manufacturing. So why not governments hold companies to some standard even if verification and bias is required including at least 8out of 10 scans to be repetitive and verifiable


Maggi
Doroty B Mehta | Thu Jun 18 10:36:23 2015
No, I do not think that the Maggi controversy will herald a new era of food handling and storage in India. I understand that a law was passed sometime ago that food was not to be cooked on the street, yet everywhere we see food cooked and fruit cut on the street that is subject to contamination by the vendors filthy hands and use of contaminated water. In deference to Maggi and all foreign importers and investors into the India arena, all have serious issues with the way that food is stored and transported . Government bodies such as Food Corporation of India and other such bodies have losses of tonnes of food amounting to crores of rupees.,due to poor storage facilities. Food that could be given to the genuine poor and needy in the country of which there are many. Or, if we do not wish to feed our own people, then exported to other third world countries where people are starving, which would bring in revenue. Street venders are still on the street, because they are paying for the illegal privilege to block the pavement so people cannot walk, and spread a multitude of infections, from which many people fall desperately ill and many must die. The vendors presence creates garbage and mosquitos, again a problem for the public at large. Having said that, where do people eat, one cannot afford to buy from a restaurant with all the taxes and high prices that are attached.


MAGGI NOODLES
V.Kanagasabai | Thu Jun 18 10:26:23 2015
Yes, multinational companies operating in the developing nations take for granted their Logo will sell on its own and make a fortune out it at the cost of health of population.If they market same product in the developed nations they would have paid price long before. Large income generated by them in developing nations. High respective countries put a firm foot to follow suit what India has initiated. Well done . These companies operate close doors with staff play to their fiddle.At end the day what they aim at better perk and status of working a Multinational companies . Even dairy related industry is primitive do not open and willing to change for better. End of the Multbillion dollar capacity deminate. Everyone works from high command.There in no in-votive or creativity .


FSSAI REGISTRATION
NAVEEN GUPTA | Thu Jun 18 07:20:45 2015
Thanks to NUTRILITE from AMWAY which is giving us, a common man , an oppurtunity to eat organic products which is a combination of BEST OF NATURE BEST OF SCIENCE. If AMWAY can get it's ABO registered for FSSAI then why not Hotels, restaurants, dhabas ,fast food joints,reliance fresh,bakeries ETC. Defaulters should be dealt in a proper manner. Our PM MODI JI is doing every thing for SWACH BHARAT SWASTH BHARAT. It's our duty to support him in this noble cause for our betterment and his mission to make INDIA healthy....financially, socially, physically, spirutally and morally JAI HIND PROUD TO BE AN INDIAN AND PART OF MODI JI'S MISSION


MAGGI CONTROVERSY
CA RAJ KUMAR GOEL | Thu Jun 18 06:24:17 2015
IT IS A CONSPIRACY TOWARDS MNC. THE MINDSET OF JANATA PARTY WHICH DROVE OUT COKE HAS NOT CHANGED. IF YOUR NATION'S CHILDREN SIFT THROUGH GARBAGE TO FIND FOOD, THEN HOW CAN YOU ALLOW TO DESTROY FOOD WORTH 350 CRORES. EVERY INDIAN FOOD PRODUCT DEALER PAYS 500 TO 5000 TO HEALTH DEPARTMENT OFFICIALS TO MAKE THEM AGREE NOT TO LIFT SAMPLES. THE HIDDEN AGENDA IS TO PROMOTE RAMDEV AND IF THE PROPAGANDA STARTS FROM UP IT IS MORE SUSPECT. MAGGI SAMPLES SHOULD HAVE SENT TO SOME INDEPENDENT COUNTRY FOR TESTING. ALSO TEST EVERY PRODUCT OF DABUR ETC. YOU WILL KNOW THE TRUTH.


Effect of delay in detection, effect on Food Processing industry..
Ashok Patil | Thu Jun 18 06:15:51 2015
Has Maggi episode proved negligance of giants like Nestle? Fast food is anyway dangeruos to health. Extra food adulterants have definitely hazardous effect on health. Why there is so much of delay in detection? Who is responsible? Is it possible to asses damage done to heath due to this. Maggi is out. Ok. What about other food items? I must know what is safe to eat. Does these things are taken for granted by companies & govt also? Tooth paste are having hard particals which can be felt when paste is rubbed for 5 minutes on good plastic bag. Will those paticals harm teeth & gums. If you wipe paste after rubbing,it removes colour on plastic bag? We should get answer for this. Floor tiles cleaner Phinyle is supposed to be carsogenus. It is told that it banned in some countries. What is fact? If it is dangeruos, why not banned in India? Cloth detergants turn termeric solution red. Why? Is it safe for cloth & hands which wash cloths? It is good that Maggi episode has brought awareness in normal public. But responsibility on FSSAI & govt has been increased drastically. This should be start of new era. Why not restrict pesticides which are very dangerous to health. Food processing industry should be made aware of standards. standards also should be revived. The RDA's(recommonded daily allowance) in food suppliments were designed long back. Why relevance in todays conditions checked? At least now resposibilty of checking should be fixed & we should be saved


What else ? Maggi of course.
Gadepalli Subrahmanyam | Thu Jun 18 05:06:42 2015
While food standards and laws are OK, what about the analytical facilities ? How many food laboratories are there and how far they are reliable ? Like any other Government department, food inspectors are easy prey for corrupt practices and that fact is very well known. Even Bureau of Indian Standards is being twisted by our manufacturers. What about the news we regularly hear about people taking ill after a marriage feast, where branded items are seldom used, but home made. Any way, it appears that some forces are at work to besmirch Nestle, which has virtually changed the eating patterns of Indian children, by their high power advertisement and perhaps also the convenience factor as far as Maggi is concerned. I know quite a few households, where due to paucity of time, the mother prefers Maggi to other breakfast dishes for the children. Perhaps Nestle is passing through a bad planetary phase, as Indian astrologers would say, and I wish that better days are ahead for Nestle and Maggi.


Food - REg
Nagendran | Thu Jun 18 02:38:07 2015
There is no chance of improving any food safety in India, simple word CORRUPTION by giving the money all owners will escape and putting a case in court.


Food safety
Graham | Wed Jun 17 19:10:39 2015
No citizen in the country is not aware of stones in rice, dhal [all pulses] and even in salt. Tell me that the regulators have not been aware of this or that they buy specially sorted grains which are devoid of stones. There are factories that produce stones specially for the food industry. Since independence corruption at all levels and in every facet, beginning at the top, has spun a web over the nation.


Stupidity at its finest
Pradeep | Wed Jun 17 11:47:14 2015
With no calibrated equipment, no qualified personnel and no budget and proper guidelines the inspectors found the goldmine. Even in the best of the facilities contamination do occur. However, these contaminated batches (lots) are identified and removed from the market. The govt. in its most intelligent move decides to ban the entire production just to show who is the boss. Indian food safety is a joke. Mustard oil is labeled "NOT FIT FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION" in the US. Yet we have promoted this oil over a millennia. A large number of food products processed or unprocessed are banned overseas but have a great market here. Go to any kirana store and bags of atta, dal and chawal are open to the dust and shit of the streets and other surroundings. So a naturally occurring component MSG is deemed unsafe yet we merrily allow all the contaminated food to be sold. This Nestle fracas is nothing but a big show. Any wonder India is a 4th world country in spite of all the advances it has made.


Maggi Controvrsy
Bharati Hadawale | Wed Jun 17 11:35:48 2015
I am unanimous with the opinion of Prashant Trivedi.Unfortunately, Indian Citizens have short term memory. Besides they are not much concerned about such issues.


Food safety?
P. Shrirang | Wed Jun 17 08:57:09 2015
Generally, there is no enforcement of food safety standards in India,if at all such standards exist.Any body can produce any eatable and put on the market without fear of any action. This is because the Food dept does nothing other than taking salaries. if this was not the case, such failures on part of a multinational company would not have happened. Obviously, no company would add Lead in their products, which is coming from the raw materials like spices and other ingredients procured by them and every household from market. Hence, even if Maggi is banned, Indians will continue to eat spices, wheat and cereals containing harmful levels of Lead. How about the water that every citizen drinks every day? Why the corporations are not publishing the levels of pesticides and other harmful materials in our drinking water that everybody has to consume? Is Maggi a real problem or a result of somebody not getting a bribe? What are safety standards for products available in market from small scale industries and cottage industries and Hotels which have no testing facilities or even basic hygiene in the manufacturing areas? Hence real food safety in India is only a dream. Maggi episode is good for only discussions and no long term solution will come from this.


Maggi controversy: More than a two-minute concern
Prashant Trivedi | Wed Jun 17 04:33:24 2015
I have a doubt. this is short term reaction and will be seized by biased stake holders. Our citizens also have short memory and will forget after some time soon when media stops talking about it. Its irony of our system as correctly said the food laws are not made stringent and implemented and this loosens the string and the manufacturers takes liberty of the same and plays with the help of user especially in case of Children foods. Every packed/processed food should be passed through food test and certified as well as guided through the food laws on a periodical time line and they should be also disclosing the content as well as hazards if any on the packaging as well as on the public domain and any divulge from this a heavy penalty to an extent of banning the product life time should be implemented. There should be citizen forum also to be involved.


Food Safety Standards
Maheshwarlal | Wed Jun 17 04:08:19 2015
Yes, the Food Safety Standards in India is much behind as compared to even the gulf countries leave alone the Western countries. The departments taking care of food safety must be given more power and must be devoid of any political pressure. MSG in Maggi is one side. What about Pepsi & Coals which raised storms before sometime, medias informing that they are used as pesticides and cleaning liquids ? Also, many Food outlets pack and serve eatables with bare hands without using Hand Gloves. Much attention must be given in Indian Food Safety Standards.


Maggi
KP | Wed Jun 17 03:53:04 2015
The packaged food industry should follow strict norms on safety, especially on items that are largely consumed by children. That said, can we really justify the ban on Maggi and other instant noodles when a large percentage of our population does not have access to safe drinking water? Is Maggi more poisonous than the air in Delhi? I am no sympathiser of the multinational Nestle, but as you rightly said, this is a knee-jerk reaction. Are the millions of street-side vendors supplying safe and healthy food? We must ask these questions ourselves before venturing into banning everything!


maggi Contoversy - More than a 2 minutes concen
Tripuri Sundar | Wed Jun 17 03:48:48 2015
Nestle has violated the food safety norms and taken the Indians for granted. It is not that they were not aware of high lead content in their product. if so how does one explain the fact that the Maggi noodles made at export unit catering to Singapore Market has no such quality issues ?? It is high time that we Indians wake up from slumber & understand the importance of food safety. To comply a super food safety norms , the Government should make it mandatory for all food manufacturer's to invest in good laboratory facility to test all raw material & finished products so that a suspect material can never get into market. Children should never ingest heavy metals (lead included) since they are in rapid growth phase , it can severely impair their growth & development. I salute our Government for taking a tough stand against Maggi In fact Nestle should be subjected to a thorough quality systems audit and asked to submit a report to public explaining & admitting what went wrong and how will they prevent recurrence


MAGGI 2 MINUTE ONLY
K K SHARMA | Tue Jun 16 23:03:42 2015
IT IS NEEDED TO BE OPEN DEBATE IN PARLIAMENT ALSO OUR PARLIAMENTARIANTS ARE SHORT OF INFORMATION AND INTEREST IN HOW MUCH AND HOW MANY FOLD THE EARN OUT FOR DROP OF GDP OF THE ECONOMY OF OUR COUNTRY.SORRY SIR


 
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