India is one of the largest producers and consumers of organic products in the world. However, the country’s organic lab testing infrastructure is struggling to keep up with the growing demand and quality standards. According to a report by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), India has only 35 accredited organic testing labs, which are unevenly distributed across the country. Moreover, these labs face issues such as lack of trained staff, high costs, and long turnaround times.
The CSE report also found that some of the organic products sold in India contained residues of pesticides, heavy metals, and antibiotics. This raises concerns about the credibility and safety of organic certification in India. The report recommended that the government should strengthen the organic lab testing system by increasing the number of labs, improving their capacity and quality, and ensuring transparency and accountability.
South Korea issues safety warnings for imported food products
South Korea’s Ministry of Food and Drug Safety (MFDS) has issued several safety warnings for imported food products in recent months. The MFDS has detected violations such as undeclared allergens, microbial contamination, and excessive additives in some of the imported products. For instance, in March 2023, the MFDS found that a batch of frozen dumplings from China contained undeclared egg and wheat, which could cause allergic reactions in some consumers. The MFDS also found that a batch of cheese from France contained Listeria monocytogenes, a bacteria that can cause serious infections.
The MFDS has taken measures such as recalling the affected products, suspending their importation, and notifying the relevant authorities in the exporting countries. The MFDS has also advised consumers to check the labels and expiry dates of imported food products before purchasing them. The MFDS has also urged consumers to report any adverse reactions or complaints related to imported food products to its hotline or website.
FSANZ defines added sugar for nutrition labelling purposes
Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) has released a definition of added sugar for nutrition labelling purposes. The definition is based on the Codex Alimentarius Commission’s guidelines and aims to provide clarity and consistency for food manufacturers and consumers. According to the definition, added sugar refers to sugars that are added to foods during processing or preparation, as well as sugars that are naturally present in honey, syrups, fruit juices, and fruit juice concentrates.
The definition of added sugar will be used to calculate the amount of sugar that is added to foods and beverages, which will be displayed on the nutrition information panel. This will help consumers to make informed choices about their sugar intake and health. The definition will also be used to support the development of health claims and dietary guidelines related to sugar consumption.
Other Country’s Food Safety in brief
- Japan’s Consumer Affairs Agency (CAA) has announced that it will revise its guidelines for health food labelling by April 2023. The revision will include clarifying the criteria for health claims, strengthening the verification system, and enhancing consumer education.
- China’s National Health Commission (NHC) has issued a notice on strengthening the supervision and management of health food advertisements. The notice prohibits health food advertisements from making false or exaggerated claims, using medical terms or endorsements, or misleading consumers.
- New Zealand’s Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has launched a consultation on proposed changes to the Animal Products Notice: Specifications for Products Intended for Human Consumption. The changes aim to improve the clarity and consistency of the notice and align it with international standards.