Booker withdraws Chef's Larder Madras Curry Powder

Booker has withdrawn Chef's Larder Madras Curry Powder with a 'best before' end date of March 2017 and batch code LEP 048771 as a precautionary measure. This is because salmonella was found during routine testing. Salmonella is a bacterium that can cause food poisoning. The FSA has issued a Product Withdrawal Information Notice.

Audits of 2 Sisters plants

The FSA conducted detailed audits at two 2 Sisters Food Group plants, Scunthorpe and Llangefni, on Friday 25 July. Initial results from these two detailed and rigorous audits showed the plant at Scunthorpe as 'Good' and the plant at Llangefni as 'Generally Satisfactory'.

KHRA files petition in HC against raids and fines by health department

Following the continuous levying of raids and fines by the state health department, the Kerala Hotel and Restaurant Association (KHRA) filed a petition in the High Court against it.

Hoteliers and food establishments claim that the food business in the southern state is in crisis mode due to the illegal actions of the health department and conflicting health laws.

The health department had a strong wave of inspections, which led to closing down many hotels in the state after infectious, diseases, such as cholera and hepatitis, spread across the state.

KHRA already has 48 cases pending in the High Court. These were filed against various corporations and municipalities across the state.

However, the association’s allegations was denied by the health department, which informed to continue with the food safety drive.

P K Jameela, director, Health Department, Kerala, said, “The health department is conducting inspections all over the state to discourage the unhygienic and unsanitary conditions of hotels and restaurants.”

“We have already taken stringent action against a number of food business operators which were found to be violating the rules,” she added.

“Anybody has the right to file a petition in the High Court, but we are more concerned about the health and well-being of the people in the state,” stated Jameela.

“If hotels are found causing infectious diseases like cholera or hepatitis, we have the right to shut it down immediately,” she added.

“The department is following all procedures to set up by law. But for severely unhygienic conditions, we have to take strong actions,” Jameela stated.

Jose Mohan, general secretary, KHRA, said, “Food business in Kerala is in crisis mode. Hotels, restaurants and food business is constantly raided and punished by food inspectors, health departments of both the state and local bodies.”

“The officers, under the commissioner of food safety, the state health department, corporations, municipalities and the district medical officers (DMO) all visit our hotels to check hygiene separately. Most of them impose fines and produce closure notices without following any legal procedures,” he added.

The Travancore-Cochin Public Health Act, 1955, and the Madras Public Health Act, 1939 are laws that enable the state authorities to take action against food firms.

But many provisions of these Acts are contradictory to the Food Safety and Standards Act (FSSA), 2006, which controls the food safety of the whole country.

While the Madras Public Health Act, 1939, prevents many items from being refrigerated, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) permits many of them.

No hotel in the state is spreading diseases, as claimed by health department. The association wants to ensure the credibility and hygiene of hotels and public safety.

“We are working with the sense of social responsibility. We are not supporting any unhygienic conditions in hotels or restaurants,” Mohan stated.

“But we want food inspectors and other authorities to follow legal procedures in taking actions. Food inspectors come to hotels with the media and declare it as unhygienic for simple reasons and impose fines or closure notices,” he added.

“Food safety officers (FSO) have to first produce a notice for improvement, and then allow 14 days to improve the conditions. They also have to collect food samples and get it tested in food labs before imposing any fines,” Mohan stated.

Elderly Russians consume dairy out of habit and not for health reasons

Dairy products are a part of traditional food in Russia, and have deep roots in consumption patterns. “Products such as milk, kefir, sour cream and cottage cheese being a regular part of the diet,” stated a new report from Canadean.
While one of the main reasons driving the Russian dairy market is indulgence, dairy products can boast such age-aligned attributes as calcium for bone strength, protein for muscle mass and maintaining gut health, which match age-aligned needs, not just for youngsters, but older consumers as well.

Currently, the Russian dairy market offers many products targeted at younger generation. At the same time, there is lack of products specifically targeting those aged over 55, who consume dairy out of habit rather than health and age-aligned reasons.
Emphasis on healthy attributes of dairy
According to the International Osteoporosis Foundation, only half of those in Russia with the condition knew that dairy is the main source of calcium, while 36 per cent believe that dairy causes damage for older people.

As a result, manufacturers should consider using packaging, advertising and campaigns to educate consumers about the osteoporosis and dairy’s role in averting it.

According to Veronika Zhupanova, analyst at Canadean, “With careful marketing, manufacturers should encourage older consumers to increase the frequency of dairy consumption as a part of healthy and active life-style.”

Moreover, age-imposed needs motivate 15.6 per cent of the country’s total dairy consumption (the market is estimated to be worth $15.4 billion).

However, if the manufacturers can communicate the importance of dairy in old consumers’ diets, the influence could increase.
Importance of Vitamin D
However, consuming rich in calcium dairy may not be enough as calcium requires vitamin D to facilitate its absorption.

A significant proportion of Russia’s territory, especially in the north, has low insolation in winter, which puts its population at risk of lack of vitamin D.

To prevent this, manufacturers should launch dairy products rich both in calcium and vitamin D.

Russian manufacturer Valio launched the ProFeel range of yoghurt shakes, which contain vitamin D and less sugar, and are targeted at consumers who lead a healthy lifestyle.

According to Zhupanova, “Producers would benefit from launching seasonal editions, provided they educate consumers about the necessity of a diet change in winter.”

Sami Direct introduces Calci D Max, supplement to support bone health

Sami Direct launched Calci D Max, a proprietary food supplement to support bone health.

It is known to reduce the risk of bone fractures, which increase due to low bone mineral density.

It increases bone mineral density; facilitates calcium retention; maintains bone mass, stimulates bone protein synthesis, and enhances nutrient bio-availability.

Calci D Max is derived from calcium citrate malate, a water-soluble supplement, which facilitates calcium retention and maintains bone mass, and is the most bioavailable calcium form.

It contains Vitamin D3, which is derived from the fermentation process, and promotes the mineralisation of the bones.

Zinc monomethionine stimulates bone protein synthesis, and BioPerine (Sabinsa’s patented and standardised extract of black pepper) provides a nutrient bio-availability enhancer, which ensures the improved absorption of the nutrients through the digestive process.

The key issues which lead to the poor health of the bones include poor physical activity, smoking, alcohol consumption, a poor diet and genetic and hormonal factors.

Calcium is mostly available in the market as calcium carbonate, a very poorly bio-available ingredient.

However, calcium citrate malate and the other ingredients in Calci D Max have proven to be bio-available and to maintain good bone health.

Dr Muhammed Majeed, founder and chairman, Sami Group, said, “Calcium is a vital mineral which helps in building of new bone and is not produced by your body, but from your dietary intake.”

“The function of dietary calcium is largely defined in terms of bone mineralisation and the resultant density and strength of the skeleton,” he added.

“Clinical studies have verified that daily intake of health supplements, such as those rich in calcium citrate malate and other suitable ingredients have proven to maintain good bone health,” Dr Majeed stated.

“Daily intake of Calci D Max, a combination of calcium citrate malate, Vitamin D3, zinc monomethionine and BioPerine, provides adequate bone mineral density and further reduces the risk of bone fractures,” he added.

FSA investigation into poultry plants

The FSA has been following up the evidence highlighted by The Guardian’s investigations at 2 Sisters plants in Anglesey and Scunthorpe.
This has included reviewing the video footage and photographs of three specific incidents at the plants and checking these against our own records. We are satisfied that the specific problems at the plants were addressed in an appropriate manner by the business at the time and did not present a food safety risk.
However, The Guardian investigation highlighted broader concerns about practices at the plants, including chickens that have fallen onto the floor being put back on production lines. Given these allegations we are conducting audits and investigations at the plants. These are underway today (Friday) and the findings will be published in due course.
We have been reiterating our advice to consumers that campylobacter can occur on chickens even when the highest standards of farming and processing are followed. Consumers should follow good hygiene practice at home, including not washing raw chicken, to minimise the risk. We continue to work with the industry to ensure that steps are taken to reduce the levels of campylobacter on chicken sold or served in the UK.
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FSA Board decision on raw milk

The FSA Board has today asked for the FSA to maintain the current regulations controlling the sale of raw milk, while further evidence is gathered to allow board members to make a final decision on whether to revise the rules.
Following a review of the current raw milk regulations, the FSA had proposed exploring the scope for wider access to raw milk, including limited sales from vending machines in shops.
The proposals were discussed today by the Board. They concluded that additional evidence was required on risks from specific pathogens. More detail was also requested on the proposed testing regime that would be necessary to allow extended sales while maintaining consumer protection. The Board said a final decision should not be made until the European Food Safety Authority has delivered the findings of its own review of the risks from raw milk which is expected in December 2014.
The FSA will now consider the conclusions in more detail and agree a timeframe for delivering the additional work the Board has requested.

FSA Board to consider proposals for the sale of raw or unpasteurised milk

The FSA Board is being asked to consider new proposals for the sale of raw, or unpasteurised, milk. These would include exploring the scope for wider access to raw milk, including limited sales from vending machines in shops, and changes to hygiene controls.
The proposals are set out in a board paper published today. They follow an extensive review of the current raw milk controls and a public consultation launched in January.
The review found that the current controls are managing the potential risks associated with drinking raw milk. There was also strong support from existing consumers and producers for continued, wider and controlled access to raw milk.
Selling raw milk from vending machines placed in shops is currently not allowed, although they can be placed on farm premises. Subject to the FSA Board's agreement, the FSA would begin discussing with raw milk producers the practicalities of vending machine sales in shops, and any additional controls that might be required to ensure that the risks are being managed.
Steve Wearne, Head of Policy at the Food Standards Agency, said:
'Throughout this review process we have sought to balance consumer protection with consumer choice. It is clear that the current raw milk regulations have worked well to control the risks from raw milk. We are not advising that these controls should be removed completely as they are necessary for continued consumer protection. However, we believe there is the opportunity for us to make changes which balance modest liberalisation of sales with controls on production that ensure continued consumer protection.'
The proposals cover England, Wales, and Northern Ireland. Sale of raw milk is banned in Scotland.
The FSA launched a four-month consultation on the raw milk regulations in January. This included a raw milk stakeholder event held in Central London on 31st March. More than 140 people gathered to take part in the discussion and hear speakers including representatives of the FSA, raw milk producers and consumers, Dairy UK and scientists.