DuPont System assay for detecting Salmonella is Official Method of Analysis

The DuPont Bax System assay for detecting Salmonella – the first method to undergo a new approval process by AOAC International utilising expert review panels – has been recognised as AOAC Official Method of Analysis (OMA) 2013.02. This molecular-based method uses polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technology and real-time detection to deliver fast and accurate testing results.

According to a press release issued by the company, building on previous certification of performance tested claims by the AOAC Research Institute, the OMA validation studies demonstrated consistent reliability and repeatability of the Bax System method when testing for Salmonella in a variety of food types such as meat and seafood, beef trim, poultry and eggs, dairy products, produce, cocoa, pepper and infant formula, along with pet food and environmental samples.

“With this latest approval, our entire portfolio of Bax System Salmonella assays is OMA-approved,” said Doris Engesser-Sudlow, global diagnostics leader, DuPont Nutrition & Health. “This means that food companies can choose among our certified methods for the best fit with their food protection needs, confident that each will provide consistently accurate results.”
FSSAI trains FBOs from Gujarat in preparing, serving food hygienically

A coordination committee appointed by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) – the country's apex food regulator – visited nine food markets in Ahmedabad recently, selected about 100 food joint owners and their employees and trained them at the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation's (AMC) new West Zone office over a period of four days to prepare and serve food to their customers in a hygienic manner.

H G Koshia, commissioner, Food and Drug Control Administration (FDCA) Gujarat, was a member of the team that imparted the training, as were Mahesh Soni, deputy secretary, investigation, FDCA Gujarat, and Atul Soni, public analyst, AMC. The trainees were vendors at the Vastrapur, Kankaria, Akhbarnagar, Khokhra, Manek Chowk and Law Garden markets, and non-vegetarian ones such as Jamalpur, Teen Darwaja and Juhapura.

“Our teams visited the markets, observed the way the vendors work and took their photographs before selecting the vendors for training. We chalked out a training programme and the trainees were given complementary kits comprising gloves, aprons and caps, which they were asked to wear while cooking food and serving it to the customers.

They were also asked to undergo regular health check-ups,” Koshia said.

He added that the vendors were given a period of two weeks to improve the manner in which they work, and strict action would be taken against them if they did not adhere to any of the instructions given to them during the training programme. Incidentally, some of the selected vendors operate from roadside stalls, where the safety of the food remains a cause for concern.

Koshia said the FSSAI officials were impressed by the efforts put in by the trainers for the last one year, adding that K Chandramouli, chairperson of the country's apex food regulator, visited Ahmedabad and urged other states to follow the Gujarat model. So far, study teams from Bihar and Haryana have visited the state and replicated the training programme in those states, and eight other states will follow suit shortly.

Artificial fruit ripening centre opened

New artificial fruit ripening centre in Anantapur on Saturday.- PHOTO: R.V.S. PRASAD
An artificial ripening centre, first of its kind in the district, which adheres to international standards of artificial ripening of mango and other fruits, was inaugurated at the Anantapur market yard on Saturday by the District Revenue Officer (DRO) Sudarshan Reddy.
The artificial ripening centre, constructed at a cost of over Rs. 60 lakh, is said to be a boon both for the mango farmers of the district as well as the consumers as mangoes can be ripened at around a rupee per fruit.
Farmers can easily afford this whereas the consumers get to consume fresh ripened fruits as against the usually available chemically contaminated ones.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Sudarshan Reddy said that mangoes ripened at the centre using ethylene gas would prove to be beneficial for all, while enhancing the reputation of the district as a key player in the horticulture market in the State and the country.
He reminded all that Anantapur district was the major producer of many fruits like that of sweet lime and musk melon besides sapota and others that are bought directly by traders from across the countryat the market yard in Anantapur.
“Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), in its order dated May 2010, permits the use of only ethylene gas for ripening of fruits,” said V.K. Pradeep Reddy, president of the Horticulturists’ Welfare Mutually Aided Co-operative Society (MACS) Limited.
The Government of India banned the use of calcium carbide as per the rules set out in the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954.
The use of calcium carbide attaches to the fruits, thus ripened by it, carcinogenic chemicals like arsenic hydride and phosphorous hydride, Mr. Pradeep said.
Notwithstanding all this, the biggest advantage from the centre stands to be derived by the farmers whose fruits can now be ripened cheaply while delivering an additional benefit of being able to sell the produce directly at the market yard, where the ripening centre has been set up.

Health officials inspect ice manufacturing units

Consuming sugarcane juice and fruit juice from roadside vendors may be dangerous as the industrial ice cubes mixed with these juices are said to be prepared in an unhygienic way.
This may cause diarrhea and other water-borne diseases.
Led by T. Anuradha, District Designated Officer, Tamil Nadu Food Safety and Drug Administration Department, Salem, the health team inspected six ice manufacturing units in the district on Friday and found contaminated water, unhygienic ice slabs and ammonium gas being used to prepare the bars.
The bars are broken and used for mixing with fruit juices, sugarcane and lassi that may cause viral fever and gastro-intestinal diseases.
Though the manufacturer said that the ice bars were used for refrigerating fish and other products, health officials found road side vendors buying in large numbers to mix with juices.
As mercury hovers around 40 degree Celsius in the district, consumers prefer to add more ice cubes to the juices for a chill.
But roadside shops and shops functioning without valid license use these ice cubs, said the health official. These cubes are the source of danger, the official said.
Ms. Anuradha told The Hindu that the manufacturers were warned against the use of such ice.
Samples have been taken to be sent to laboratory in Chennai.
After obtaining the results, notices would be served on such ice manufacturers under The Food Safety and Standards Regulations, 2011, she said.
Health risks in roadside chill pill

RANCHI: As the heat gets unbearable, Ranchiites put health concerns to rest and flock to roadside refreshment stalls to quench their thirst.

With mercury levels rising, several fruit juice and local ice-cream stalls have sprung up at several points in the city. From college students, office-goers to daily wage earners, people of all ages can be seen queuing up near roadside vendors, especially during the afternoon. Manisha Kumari, a college student, said, "When college is over and I am on my way back home, I always stop by the refreshment stalls either to drink fruit juice or have an ice cream. It reenergizes me and prevents heat stroke too."

These roadside vendors provide a variety of choices to their customers. Wood apple juice and sattu drink are popular. Arvind Goyel, a salesman ,said, "I live alone here and usually do not get time to prepare breakfast before I leave for work. In such a situation, drinking sattu is the best alternative."

However, popularity of these stalls does not rule out the fact that these fruit drinks are unhygienic. Flies can be seen swarming around these stalls as most of them are situated near drains for convenience of vendors to dispose waste. The vendors do not wash their utensils or machines properly which only aggravate possibilities water-bourne diseases.

On being questioned about the hygiene of the lemon juice he sells, Chhotu Kumar, a vendor, said, "There is a tap nearby from which all the local people drink water. I get water from the same place. It is hygienic."

Despite the claims of these vendors, there have been reports of people falling ill after drinking these roadside drinks. Mahesh Prasad, who is suffering from food poisoning said, "As fruits are good for health, I used to drink fruit juice from a roadside vendor near my office. But I fell ill recently and my doctor said I had developed infection from regularly drinking roadside fruit juices."

The food safety department is conducting raids and collecting samples from these roadside stalls. Additional chief medical officer, Dr N N Sengupta, who is heading the raids said, "We are collecting samples from various stalls and sending them for tests. Once the results are out, those selling unhygienic fruit drinks will be asked to shut down. We are conducting raids even when we are getting complaints from public."