Food Standards In India

Food Standards In India: Some food standards have been formulated and some rules laid down to be followed by the act the most of which are the:

(a) PFA standards

These lay down the minimum standards for all types of foods and are revised periodically to meet the requirements of the manufacturer and the consumer from time to time. The PFA standard was formulated in 1955 were subsequently revised in 1968, 1973 & 1981. Any food not conforming to these standards is said to be adulterated.

(b) Fruit Product Order FPO Standards

The FPO passed in 1946. under the defense of Indian rules, was revised under the essential commodities act, 1955. The FPO standards are mainly concerned with the standards required for maintaining the quality of fruits & vegetables & products manufactured from them. The FPO also specifies the conditions of hygiene & sanitation required to be maintained by the manufacturer of F&V products. The specification for the labeling & packaging of these products has been laid down.

(c) AGMARK Standards

These standards are formulated on the physical & chemical characteristics of food, both the natural as well as those acquired during processing. Products graded under AGMARK include vegetable oils, ghee, cream, butter, rice, gur, eggs, groundnuts, potatoes, fruits, pulses & spices. These standards ensure accurate weights & correct selling practices

(d) Indian Standards

These standards cover vegetable and food products, spices, meat products, condiments & processed food like biscuits, sweets, flour, texturized soy products, tea, coffee & other beverages, and so on. The standards are set up by 151, whose certification mark is 151, seen on all products indicating conformity to lay down standards the ISI (now BIS) is the national organization for standardization and lays down criteria for standardization of products, materials, practices & processes. It is also involved with the standardization of items like building materials, safety standards for equipment, etc. which the caterer must be aware of when a decision regarding premises and equipment is required to be taken.

Vegetable oil control order (VOCO): This specifies the standards desired for edible oil and hydrogenated fat to be marketed.

The meat product order (MPO): This relates to the quality of meat products manufactured for sale. Quality refers to the health of the animal being slaughtered hygienic conditions of slaughterhouses and microbial quality of meat.

Milk and milk product order (MMPO): This was passed by the government in 1992 the MMPO provides for the setting up of an advisory board to advise the government on the production, sale, purchase, and distribution of milk.

Eco mark: This system launched by the BIS was introduced to preserve the environment from pollutants. The mark ensures the consumer that products do not produce hazardous waste materials, are biodegradable, and can be recycled. Food item covered includes edible oil, tea, coffee, beverages, infant food, and processed foods along with food additives, preservatives and.. packaging materials as well.

PFA Act and Rules:

PFA stands for Prevention of Food Adulteration. The PFA Act was passed in 1954 and PFA Rules were framed in 1955 to protect the consumers against the supply of inferior quality or adulterated food. In recent years the Govt. of India has enacted another Act known as “The Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006”, abbreviated as FSS Act 2006. The regulations under this act have come into force from Aug 2011.

The main objectives of the PFA Act are:

  • To protect the public from harmful and poisonous foods.
  • To prevent the sale of substandard food containing harmful substances, and
  • To protect society against unscrupulous and anti-social dealers by eliminating fraudulent practices.

PFA standards are formulated and revised by an expert body called the Central Committee for Food Standards (CCFS) under the Directorate General of Health Services, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. It is the CCFS that advises the Central Govt. and the State Govt. on matters arising out of the administration of the PFA Act. It is a very heavy committee People from all the States and the Union Territories (UTS) and all the major Ministries and departments are representative of this committee.

Procedure for Collection and Analysis of PFA Samples

PFA samples are collected by Food Inspectors. After collecting the samples, he divides the sample then and there into 3 parts. One part is sent for analysis to Public Analyst (under the control of the local health authority, usually the chief medical officer (CMO). Two parts are given to the local health authority (LHA) for custody.

The public analyst has to send the report of analysis within 40 days of receipt of the sample. In case of an adverse report of a public analyst, the 2nd part of the sample is produced in the court within 7 days and the copy of the report is given to party Le. accused by the local health authority (CMO). Within a period of 10days of the report, LHA or party concerned or both of them may make an application to the court for getting the 2nd part of the sample analyzed at Central Food Laboratory (CFL).

On receipt of such report, the court sends the 2nd part of the sample for analysis to the Director, CFL., who has to send a certificate on the result of the analysis within one month from the receipt of the 2nd part of the sample.

The 3rd part of the sample is kept to meet such exigencies like damage /destruction/breakage on the way when the first part of the sample is sent to the Public Analyst for analysis.

The report of public analysts on 1st part of the sample stands superseded by the certificate issued by the Director, CFL on analysis of the 2nd part of the sample.

There are several Public Health Laboratories (also called Public Food Laboratories) in the country where the first part of the sample is analyzed. Almost every district has such a lab under the control of the Chief Medical Officer (called Local Health Authority).

But there are only four CFL (central food laboratories) in the country. These are located in Kolkata, Mysore, Pune, and Ghaziabad. All these 4 CFLs take care of the requirements of the whole country, Zone wise. The whole country is divided into 4 zones and each zone is then connected to one of these CFL Samples of a particular area/zone are sent to the concerned CFL

Preservative permitted to be added to samples

When a food inspector takes the sample of any food for analysis, he has to add a preservative, as may be prescribed from time to time, to keep the sample in a condition suitable for analysis. The preservative used in the case of samples of any milk (including toned, separated, and skimmed milk, standardized milk channa, skimmed milk channa, cream, ice-candy, Dahi, khoa or khoa based or paneer based sweets, such as kalakand and burfi, chutney and prepared foods, gur, coffee and tea in liquid and semi-liquid form, shall be the liquid commonly known as “formalin”, a liquid containing about 40 percent of formaldehyde in aqueous solution in the proportion of 0.1 ml (two drops) for 25ml or 25grams (ie.@ 0.4%). Provided that in the case of ice cream and mixed ice cream, the preservative used shall be in the proportion of 0.6 ml for 100 ml or 100 gm (ie.@ 0.6%).

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