Safety First: India milk scandal, new Singapore food safety standards and more in our food safety round-up

By Pearly Neo contact

- Last updated on GMT

Indian food regulator Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has ordered all states to conduct a ‘special drive’ to ensure the safety and quality of milk and milk products ahead of Deepavali, amid plunging public confidence in products. ©Getty Images
Indian food regulator Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has ordered all states to conduct a ‘special drive’ to ensure the safety and quality of milk and milk products ahead of Deepavali, amid plunging public confidence in products. ©Getty Images

Related tags: Food safety, Fssai, India, Singapore

Insight into India's ongoing milk crisis, new updates to Singapore food safety standards and bottled water safety feature in our food safety compilation.

India milk crisis: FSSAI orders special surveillance during Deepavali as public confidence plunges

The Indian food regulator Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has ordered all states to conduct a ‘special drive’ to ensure the safety and quality of milk and milk products​ ahead of Deepavali, amid plunging public confidence in products.

“Public confidence in the safety and quality of milk and milk products is low,” ​said Daya Shankar, Joint Director, Regulatory Compliance Division, FSSAI in a letter addressed to all Food Safety Commissioners and designated FSSAI officers in all states and union territories (UTs).

“There are instances of few (sic) unscrupulous elements/dairy businesses indulging in acts of adulteration, [which] often increase during festival season when the demand for milk and milk products outstrips supply.

“[All] States/UTs are […] to take up special drive on surveillance of milk and milk products (specifically products like khoa, paneer, dahi, ghee etc.) w.r.t their microbiological quality and presence of adulterants.”

“[Such surveillance activities are to be complemented] with adequate enforcement drive (sic) particularly during the festive season ahead.”

Food safety for bosses: Strong managerial commitment now compulsory for new Singapore standards

Increased involvement and commitment of food companies’ upper management in food safety processes is now a required factor under the latest 2018 versions of Singapore food safety standards SS444 and SS ISO 22000.

Food safety experts stressed the importance of management playing a more prominent role and in food safety control and processes​ at the official launch of the updated standards, organised by the Singapore Manufacturing Federation – Standards Development Organisation (SMF-SDO).

According to Linda Quek, Technical Consultant and Auditor at LQ Consult: “There is now a requirement for management to be more involved in food safety [in order to qualify for the SS ISO 22000:2018].”

Drinking bottled water does not cause health problems: Abu Dhabi authority

The Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority has addressed public fear related to consumption of bottled water​.

A video circulated on social media recently claimed that drinking bottled water will lead to a host of health problems, including fatigue, headaches, and compromising the immune system.

In response to public concerns, the authority confirmed that all brands of bottled water on sale in the market were safe for human consumption, local media Gulf News​ reported.  

The authority said that the manufacturers have declared all ingredients used and have complied with the UAE’s labelling regulations.

From 845 to 200 data fields: Food company licensing to become ‘simpler’ in Singapore

New food and beverage (F&B) companies will ‘only’ have to fill in 200 data fields, versus the previous 845 from next year​, revealed Singapore Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry (MTI) Chee Hong Tat.

This means a reduction of 645 fields, or over 75%. MTI is looking at going below 100 fields for more straightforward cases.

Chee also announced that fees will be slashed by over SG$500 (US$363) by removing some stages of the application process.

According to Chee: “Previously, a company which wants to set up a food shop would need to fill up to 845 data fields across multiple forms administered by different government agencies, [many of which] are duplicative, as different agencies are asking for the same information.”

‘It’s political and not scientific’: Taiwan confirms ‘nuclear food referendum’ to proceed as Japan voices disappointment

Taiwan will hold a referendum on ‘nuclear food’ imports from Japan​ alongside its local elections next month.

This was after strong ‘anti-nuclear food’ campaigning by the opposition Kuomintang (KMT) party resulted in some 470,000 signatures calling for the referendum. Only 280,000 signatures are required to legally hold a referendum.

The referendum will be held on November 24 alongside local elections for municipalities, counties and townships, as announced by the Taiwan Central Election Commission.

“The decision whether or not to lift the ban should be made based on scientific evidence and from a professional point of view, instead of being used as a political tool and pulling all the Taiwanese people into it,” ​said apanese de facto ambassador to Taiwan, head of the Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association Mikio Numata.

Related topics: Regulation & Safety, Fresh Milk

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