Fresh amendments to Food Safety Act

The Union Cabinet, headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has set aside changes proposed by the previous government to the Food Safety and Standards Act. It said fresh amendments would be made by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare after further consultations.

The UPA government had proposed expansion of the composition of the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) and dispensing with some conditions in public interest while making regulations on food.

ASCI to partner with consumer affairs dept.

The Department of Consumer Affairs (DoCA), part of the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution, has officially partnered with the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) to check misleading advertisements. They will now jointly evaluate and pass strictures against violators.

The six priority sectors to be covered are agriculture and food, health, education, housing, financial services and e-commerce. With this, ASCI will be more like a quasi-judicial body rather than an advisory body.

Toxic chemical found in feeding bottles

Feeding bottles could be causing serious harm to the health of babies. A study by Toxics Link, an environmental NGO, has found high bisphenol A levels even in ‘BPA-free’ feeding bottles.

Persistent exposure to BPA, a chemical used to harden plastics, has been linked to disruption of normal hormone levels, behavioural problems, increased risk of cancer and many other health issues. Several scientific studies have confirmed that BPA often leaches out from the bottles during boiling, brushing, or vigorous washing.

Soon, quality standards for key services

The government plans to set minimum standards for services like healthcare and transport, and lay down quality measures for piped drinking water and food products in a major move to expand the ambit of certification in the country.

The consumer affairs department plans to amend the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) Act empowering it bring any article or service under mandatory certification.

`Airlines’ special sales are a scam’

The Air Passengers Association of India (APAI), the apex air travellers’ body, has shot off a complaint to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) claiming the hefty airline discount schemes that are advertised are fraudulent.

Alleging the schemes — wherein a single journey ticket is available for as less as Rs 899 — don’t even exist, the association has asked the DGCA to ban such schemes altogether. After receiving several complaints from consumers that they can’t access the airlines’ websites or get a ‘sold out’ response, APAI monitored the schemes offered by three leading domestic carriers — Indigo, SpiceJet, and Jet Connect and found this to be true.

Here come ultra-fast charging batteries

Are you frustrated by the slow charging of your battery and the fact that you need to replace your battery very often? Here’s some good news to cheer you up. Latest research and advances in lithium-ion battery technology is making it possible to charge your battery in a few minutes. And not just fast charging, the battery is expected to last for 20 years!

Scientists at Nanyang Technology University (NTU), Singapore, have developed ultra-fast charging batteries that can be recharged up to 70% in only two minutes and can last more than 10 times compared to existing lithium-ion batteries.

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