afaqs! news bureau

FSSAI to test samples of spice & infant nutrition brands over quality concerns

The move follows two reports of alleged food violations by Indian brands internationally.

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), a statutory body under the administration of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, will carry out sampling of major spice and infant nutrition brands in India, as reported by Mint. The decision comes in response to two distinct reports alleging food violations by brands in the spice and infant nutrition sectors.

According to the report, FSSAI has deployed state food commissioners and instructed them to collect samples of major spice brands from their manufacturing units across India. These samples will then be forwarded to accredited testing laboratories to identify the presence of pesticide ethylene oxide.

Recently, samples of Indian spices tested in Singapore and Hong Kong were discovered to contain levels of ethylene oxide exceeding the permissible limits. Singapore government issued a recall for Everest Fish Curry Masala, a well-known spice product from India and Hong Kong implemented a ban on renowned Indian spice brands MDH and Everest Food Products.

Samples will be taken from prominent spice producers in India, such as Everest and MDH, alongside regional participants, and forwarded for examination. Additionally, FSSAI has notified the Spice Board of India saying, "This is to ensure general awareness around the usage of pesticides in packaged spices."

The process of collecting and analysing samples may extend up to 20 days, according to the official cited in the Mint report.

FSSAI has also initiated the collection of samples from various infant nutrition brands available in the market to examine for added sugars. This action follows an inquiry conducted by Public Eye, a Swiss investigative organisation, and the International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN), which alleged that all Cerelac baby cereal products sold by Nestle in India contain added sugar, averaging nearly 3 grams per serving.

Nestle India has stated that its products manufactured in India are in 'full and strict compliance' with global food standards and local specifications pertaining to the requirements of all nutrients—including added sugars.

A spokesperson from Nestle commented, "Compliance is an essential characteristic of Nestlé India and we will never compromise on that. We also ensure that our products manufactured in India are in full and strict compliance with CODEX standards (a commission established by WHO and FAO) and local specifications (as required) pertaining to the requirements of all nutrients including added sugars."

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