The following questions pertaining to the Food Sampling Procedures were replied by Experts at Food Safety Helpline:
Question: What is the time period that a sample should be kept from sampling to analysis?
Answer: After the date of the receipt of the sample by the food analyst he/she has to submit the analysis report within 14 days. So, the analyst has the time not more than 14 days to analyze and submit the analysis report.
Question: How one can ensure that the food sample which was picked by the food authority was sent for the analysis on time?
Answer: It is the duty of the food safety officer to send the sample for analysis latest by next working day.
Question: Adding Formalin alone; is it sufficient for preserving the sample?
Answer: Yes, but the quantity & strength should be as prescribed. Also, it should be stored at the desired temperature.
Question: The gum which will be used to seal the food samples, doesn’t it impact the quality of the products?
Answer: The gum will not get in contact of the food sample as that is used to seal the sample from outside. At the same time, it should be ensured that the gum should not get in contact with the composition of the food product.
Question: In the case of Food Authority re-send sample for testing, in such case who will bear the cost of testing?
Answer: We understand that you are referring for the reanalysis by the referral food laboratory. If the food business operator makes an appeal before the designated officer against the report of the food analyst for sending the sample for reanalysis to the referral food authority, then the FBO has to bear the cost of analysis which is Rs. 1000 at present.
Question: What is the need of the addition of formalin?
Answer: It is being used as a preservative in the food sample to keep it fit for analysis.
Question: What is the difference between misbranding and mislabeling?
Answer: As per the Food Safety & Standards Act, Rules & Regulations, there is no definition given for mislabeling. If there is anything wrong with the label declaration that is called misbranding.
Question: How can we say the sample is Misbranded?
Answer: If the batch no., list of ingredients, best before/expiry date etc are not given on the label of a food product then these come under misbranding. Another example; if the best before date is not given in the Capital Letters on the label a food product, then also it will be treated as misbranded food.
Question: What kind of periodical testing needs to done from an accredited lab?
Answer: As per one of the conditions of the license in compliance with the FSS Act, Rules & Regulations:
FBOs are required to maintain all the records of their sale, purchase of raw material. Another important Licensing condition is that the FBOs have to get food articles tested on chemical and microbiological parameters from the NABL accredited lab, at least once in every 6 months. Another essential licensing condition is that FBOs shall buy & sell the food materials only within the licensed/registered people, so this means that no company/person who is not registered under FSS Act, is allowed to run a food business activity.