Food Safety Current Affairs - 2020

CAC adopts Codex standards for three spices

The Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC) has adopted three Codex standards for black, white and green pepper, cumin and thyme. It is for first time pepper, cumin and thyme, spices will have such universal standards.

These standards were adopted at 40th session of CAC held in Geneva. The adoption of Codex standards paves the way for universal agreement on identifying quality spices in various countries. It also set reference points and benchmarks for member-nations to align their national standards for spices with Codex.

Background

With the approval of the Central government, the Spices Board India (SBI) had submitted a proposal to CAC for harmonizing the standards for spices and culinary herbs. SBI is the flagship organization of the Commerce Ministry for export and promotion of spices from the country.

Significance

The adoption of Codex standards for the three spices will help evolve a common standardisation process for their global trade and availability. It will bring harmony to the global spice trade and ensure availability of high quality, clean and safe spices to the world. It is also considered as major recognition of India’s efforts to benchmark global spices trade.

About Codex Alimentarius

The Codex Alimentarius (Food Code) is a collection of standards, guidelines and codes of practice adopted by the CAC. The Commission is the central part of the joint FAO (Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations)/WHO (World Health Organisation) Food Standards Programme. Its mandate is to prepare an international codex alimentations, based on principles outlined by itself.

Purpose of the Codex Alimentarius

The Codex alimentarius is a collection of internationally adopted food standards presented in a uniform manner. These food standards aim at protecting consumer’s health and ensuring fair practices in the food trade. It includes standards for all the principal foods, whether processed, semi-processed or raw for distribution to the consumer. It is also include standardised provisions in respect of food additives, contaminants, pesticides residues, labelling and presentation, methods of analysis and sampling.

FSSAI bans stapler pins in tea bags from January 2018

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has banned the use of stapler pins in tea bags from January 2018. FSSAI ban order issued under Section (15) FSS Act, 2006 has deemed that any loose staple pin consumed inadvertently with tea may cause a serious health hazard.

Key Facts

Currently, tea bags are either stapled or knotted. According to industry estimates, the tea bag segment contributes 3-4% by value of total tea sales but it is one of the fastest growing segments at 50-60% year-on-year.

The FSSAI order directs the concerned food business operators to discontinue the manufacture, storage, distribution, sale and import of stapled tea bags by 1 January 2018. It also directs all food safety commissioners to take action to prevent the use of unsafe packaging materials by companies and take up measures for enforcement of its order.

About FSSAI

FSSAI is a nodal statutory agency responsible for protecting and promoting public health in India through the regulation and supervision of food safety. FSSAI was established under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 and operates under aegis of Union Ministry of Health & Family Welfare.