Food Safety and Standards Authority of India Current Affairs - 2019
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The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) recommended ‘complete’ ban on Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS), including e-cigarettes. The recommendation is based on currently available scientific evidence.
On occasion of World Tobacco Day which was observed on 31 May, ICMR released a white paper (an authoritative report or guide that informs readers about an issue) about harmful effects of ENDS and e-cigarettes.
Key Findings of ICMR’s White Paper
- Background: In 2018 Centre government issued an advisory recommending a ban on sale of e-cigarettes in India. Later a committee headed by K Srinath Reddy of Public Health Foundation of India (PHAI) was constituted which included experts from ICMR, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, AII India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) and Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) in Chandigarh. The committee was tasked to analyse more than 300 research articles from all over the world and prepared the white paper.
- Addictive: It noted that e-cigarettes and other such devices contained not only nicotine solution, that was highly addictive, but also harmful ingredients like flavoring agents and vaporisers.
- Marketing: It found that availability of flavour variants and attractive designs are adding to allure of devices, and globally there was an increasing trend of e-cigarettes consumption among youth and adolescents. There are more than 460 different e-cigarette brands with varied configuration of nicotine delivery that come in over 7,700 flavours.
- Worry: Use of ENDS or e-cigarettes can open a gateway for new tobacco addiction among the masses as on the balance, these have a negative impact on public health.
- Effect on Health: Prolonged use of ENDS or e-cigarettes has documented adverse impact on humans which includes DNA damage, respiratory/cardiovascular/ neurological Disorders, carcinogenic/cellular/molecular/immunological Toxicity and even have adverse effects on fetal development and pregnancy.
- It rejected argument that e-cigarettes could help smokers quit tobacco consumption. Although such benefits of e-cigarettes consumption have not been firmly established but these devices could encourage non-smokers to get addicted to tobacco.
- Youth: With large number of e-cigarette brands promoting thousands of flavors, the e-cigarette are fast becoming a trend among youngsters. Research has found that youths using e-cigarettes (or other such devices) are more likely to use regular cigarettes in later period. The exposure to ENDS increases the likelihood to experiment with regular products and increase intention to indulge in cigarette smoking.
These scientific and research data given in the white paper could help the government to formulate necessary policies on ENDS or e-cigarettes and other such devices.
Tags: E cigarettes • Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems • ENDs • Food Safety and Standards Authority of India • FSSAI • ICMR • ICMR’s White Paper • Indian Council of Medical Research • K Srinath Reddy • PHAI • Public Health Foundation of India • World Tobacco Day
The Punjab government has decided to make it mandatory for all online food aggregators to ensure that food supplied by them should compulsorily have hygiene rating as per Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) guidelines.
- Reason: The online food order and door to door delivery mechanism of food supply has created a physical disconnect between consumers and the food maker. Therefore, the onus of ensuring quality of food and that conditions under which food is prepared are hygienic has shifted to the intermediate food delivery mechanism.
- About: Keeping this in mind, Punjab government has issued a direction to all online aggregators that all the online order and supply companies should display hygiene rating of all food business operators registered or affiliated with them.
- Measures: Punjab’s Food and Drug Administration has sensitized companies operational in Punjab including Zomato, Swiggy, Uber Eats and Food Panda on the issue and also directed them to get the hygiene rating done of all the food business operators (FBO’s) registered with them.
- Condition: The terms put forward includes that only those FBO’s who are at higher level of hygiene rating (bearing 3 or more smilies), should be allowed to supply food under the online food orders-delivery mechanism.
About Food Safety and Standards Authority of India
- It is an autonomous body established in 2011 under the Union Ministry of Health & Family Welfare. It is responsible for protecting and promoting public health via regulations and supervisions of food safety.
- It is headed by a non-executive Chairperson who is appointed by Central Government.