Has it happened that you opened a food packet and found an insect or a hair strand in it? Have you then wondered what actions you might take to report the same? Consumers play an important role in ensuring food safety. Suppose a food product complaint is registered by a consumer, depending on the type of problem, a batch of the concerned food product may be called back from the market. As a result of which a public health hazard is avoided. A consumer becomes the eyes of the nation; ensure food hygiene. Once can simply complain on the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) Application ( App) named Food Safety Connect.
What Kind of Food Complaints Can One File?
Consumers can report a variety of complaints including the following:
• Sale of packaged food items beyond their expiry/best before date
• Presence of dust particles, insects or fungus
• Issues related to adulteration
• Improper packing
• Incomplete information about food item or insufficient information on label
• Misleading advertisement
• Absence of detailed address of manufacturer/marketer
• Absence of declaration of ingredients such as MSG (monosodium glutamate) if it is present in the food item
Absence of warnings - such as 'Not for phenylketonuria patients' on the label of food that has artificial sweetener.
It is important to understand that what a label should contain in order to make a viable complaint.
It is mandatory that every package of food intended for sale carries a label that bears all the information required under FSS (Packaging and Labelling) Regulations, 2011. Thus, every food packet must carry a label with the following information:
• The common name of the product
• Name and address of the product's manufacturer
• Date of manufacture
• Ingredient list with additives
• Nutrition facts
• Best before/expires on
• Net contents in terms of weight, measure or count
• Packing codes/Batch number
• Declaration regarding vegetarian or non-vegetarian status
• Country of origin for imported food
New Development on Food Safety standards on the printing Ink:
A new development where packaged food companies in India, may soon have to change their printing and packaging norms. Due to safety issues with certain chemicals currently being used to print labels and packages.
The Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) is working to update the current standard (IS 15495) for printing ink for food packaging and several harmful chemicals, including toluene, may be banned with the new standards coming into effect. Toluene, a chemical used in paint thinners, has been known to cause liver and kidney damage in humans. It has been banned in the food industry in several countries.
This is yet to be put into effect, over all packed food companies will have to comply.
Where do we do report a food problem?
Consumers can report a food product-related complaint directly to the shop from where the product was bought or to the manufacturer or to any local health authority, or directly at the consumer forum or at the online FSSAI portal or the FSSAI app Food Safety Connect.
Food Safety Connect is an online portal where consumers can file their food-related complaints. Consumers can report complaints related to packed food items or food premises serving food items with some safety issues. As mentioned, consumers can also file their complaint by using the mobile application Food Safety Connect.
Step 1: Open the Food Safety Connect online portal or download the Food Safety Connect app from Google Play store/application store and open the app.
Link to the FSSAI portal to file a complaint related to any food item: https://foodlicensing.fssai.gov.in/cmsweb/
Step 2: Identify the food complaint category and click on it. Your complaint can be related to either packaged
food or food premises.
Step 3: Identify the outlet or the product brand name and provide address of the seller/outlet of the product,
and submit the complaint with a picture of the food item.
Next time, you see something wrong in your food packet, go ahead and report the problem. This is easy to do
online on the FSSAI portal or download the FSSAI app Food Safety Connect on you mobiles.
Comparative Product Testing of Food Products done by Consumer VOICE
Consumer VOICE regularly tests food products to check the authenticity of purity claims of various brands. Tests are done at NABL accredited labs as per the specifications and parameters defined by FSS Regulations and India Standards. Comparative Product Testing reports give you the actual values of energy, protein, calcium, iodine, vitamins, fatty acids, moisture and much more. Presence of insoluble impurities, foreign matter and adulteration is also reported. You will also find the safer limits of each parameter. Basis the tests, Consumer VOICE experts suggest the Best brands along with Value for Money. For detailed Comparative Product Testing methodology, click here.
Test Reports of:
- Milk and Milk Products: Toned Milk | Fresh Paneer | Curd | Dairy Whitener
- Cooking Oil: Ground Nut Oil | Sunflower Oil | Rice Bran Oil | Loose Edible Oil
- Ghee: Desi Ghee | Cow Ghee
- Grains: Basmati Rice | Whole Wheat Flour
- Packaged Water: 20 Lt. Can| 1 Lt. Bottle
- Bread | Rusk | Muesli
- Sugar | Glucose Powder
- Black Tea
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