Safety First: Food adulteration in Pakistan and India, FSANZ alcohol pregnancy warning labels and more in our round-up

By Pearly Neo

- Last updated on GMT

Food adulteration in Pakistan and India, FSANZ alcohol pregnancy warning labels and more feature in this edition of Safety First. ©Getty Images
Food adulteration in Pakistan and India, FSANZ alcohol pregnancy warning labels and more feature in this edition of Safety First. ©Getty Images

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Food adulteration in Pakistan and India, FSANZ alcohol pregnancy warning labels and more feature in this edition of Safety First.

Health hazards: Food adulteration in Pakistan escalates into gunfire as tainted products detected by the tonne

Pakistan’s Punjab Food Authority (PFA) has detected and discarded thousands of kilogrammes of adulterated food and beverage items​ over the past month, with over 100 brands deemed to be ‘unsafe’, amidst its efforts to intensify inspections in the province.

In its most recent raid on October 6 alone, the agency discarded some 28,700 kg worth of food items, all of which failed standard laboratory tests, according to the PFA’s Facebook page.

“The PFA has confiscated and destroyed 17,300kg of spices from brands that failed the lab tests, along with 11,400kg worth of sauces that were found to be adulterated,”​ said PFA Director General Captain Muhammad Usman.

Adulterated oil has also been a major subject of focus in the past month: 103 ghee and cooking oil brands were declared ‘unfit for human health’​ by the PFA, with some 68,000kg of these being removed from the market and discarded.

‘Lifelong harm’? FSANZ debates impact of pregnancy warning labels for alcoholic beverages

Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) has issued a statement calling for public comment on the draft pregnancy warning label​, which is to be included as a mandatory requirement on packaged alcoholic drinks with 1.15% alcohol by volume or more.

The mandatory warning labels have been a work in progress by the agency since the Australia and New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation convened last October and issued a communiqué calling for FSANZ to develop this ‘as a priority’​.

According to FSANZ CEO Mark Booth, the current draft label will carry both pictorial and text warnings.

“[Both] a pictogram and a statement [will be included], to alert women to the risks of drinking alcohol during pregnancy as well as to raise awareness in the broader community,"​ he said.


Adulterated tea: India threatens legal action as tea consumption in the country remains low

Tea Board India has warned manufacturers and sellers of tea and related products that adulterating teas with any form of artificial colouring will see legal action being enforced​, stating that there is ‘no provision’ of any sort for using colour in tea.

The board is India’s national authority on tea, formed as a government statutory body under the country’s Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

According to an official notice by the board, tea is not listed as one of the food and beverage items for which added synthetic colouring is allowed, and this is also ‘strictly prohibited’​ for food safety and health reasons.

“The treatment of teas with various colouring matters comes under the head of adulterants,”​ said Tea Board India.

‘War for Pure’: India prosecutes 31 for adulteration after just 54% of samples found to be safe

The Indian state of Madhya Pradesh has prosecuted 31 food and beverage manufacturers for adulteration under the National Security Act (NSA)​, following test results that revealed just 54% of all food samples tested so far to be safe for consumption.

According to official documentation from the Madhya Pradesh Department of Public Relations, this was part of an ongoing ‘ War for Pure’ campaign to battle adulteration in the state.

“Action has been taken against 31 traders [under] the National Security Act so far in the war campaign [being] run against adulterated food manufacturers and sellers,”​ stated Mukesh Modi from the department, who published the statement.

“[This campaign has been ongoing] since July 19 in Madhya Pradesh, and under the campaign a total of 6,463 samples including milk, milk products, other food items and pan masala have been collected so far.”

Beef boost? Wagyu consumption ‘not detrimental’ to heart health: New Zealand study

A new study from New Zealand argues that the consumption of beef is ‘not detrimental’ to cardiovascular health​, amidst recent controversy surrounding red meat consumption guidelines.

The study was conducted by the Liggins Institute at the University of Auckland, and was centred around research to determine the best beef option with the lowest cardiovascular risk​, as well as too compare the nutritional benefits of plant-based options with that of meat.

It looked at 50 male participants with heightened cardiovascular disease risk between the ages of 35 to 55 with comparable weight and blood cholesterol profiles. These participants were randomly segregated into three test groups which would consume either pasture-raised New Zealand Wagyu-cross beef, grain-fed Angus beef or a soy protein alternative three times a week (500g in total).

According to study co-researcher Dr Amber Milan, the authors found no significant difference between the cardiovascular disease risk biomarkers for the three test groups after the study ran for eight weeks.

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