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Food Standards and Safety in a Globalised World : The Impact of WTO and Codex
By Sri Ram Khanna , Madhu Saxena

First Published : 2003
ISBN : 8177080377
Pages : 532
Binding : Hardbound
Size : 7 x 9
Price : US$ 95

“Access to nutritionally adequate and safe food is a right of each individual.” The work on this book was triggered by deployment of a Food Safety Team at VOICE in late 1990s. Our resolve to intensify work on food standards and safety issues was strengthened when over 66 consumers died in the National Capital Region as a result of consuming mustard oil adulterated with argemone in 1998. These deaths could be attributed to systemic failure. The system could not prevent these deaths due to failure of the Indian food safety law, its administration and food safety policy. We saw the need for some voluntary action to inform, educate and influence state policy to reform the food safety system and law. This effort continues because the food safety system in 2002 had not changed since the deaths in 1998 and there is an urgent need to change as new risks and greater dangers loom ahead in a globalised Indian market.

      An increasing number of consumers, and most governments, world-wide are becoming extremely aware of food quality, safety and security issues. It is now common for consumers to demand that their governments take legislative action to ensure that only safe food is acceptable and the risks related with food-borne health hazards are minimized. Food-borne diseases can be fatal, damage trade and tourism and can lead to loss of earnings, unemployment and litigation. The Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) have increased the awareness of consumers regarding food safety and related issues. The international food standards body Codex Alimentarius Commission has done pioneering work for the development of food standards. In the light of such safety standards for food, each country is safeguarding the interest of their citizens. Although it is a good sign, yet the emphasis is to demand and maintain safe food standards in each country. The process to reform the Codex System in a globalising world is highlighted in Chapter 1 of this book.

       An attempt has been made in this book to address diverse perspectives of food safety issues for consumer education and awareness. Although food laws and regulations vary in each country, yet their mere existence does not protect us from unsafe foods. What are the differences between our food laws as, for example, Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1955 and Codex Food Standards for various categories of food is presented in Chapter 3. Readers are introduced to food security problems in the Indian context in Chapter 2 with relevance of indigenous foods. How the indigenous foods offer a better nutritional and sustainable alternative is analysed in Chapter 7.

       Presently, biotechnological revolution is knocking every aspect of human life, and therefore an attempt has been made in this work to analyse the safety of genetically modified foods. Since they have entered the markets world over, we need to know the implications of such foods. The health and environmental issues connected with them have been analysed in great detail. The precautionary measures like labeling of genetically modified foods must be made mandatory for consumers to have informed choices. Regulatory procedures and risk analysis methods required to assess health and environmental risks associated with such foods have also been examined along with the testing procedures in Chapters 4 and 5. Once released the GMOs multiply and may cause hazards, which have no recall.

     Vegetarian preferences of food are based on religious, cultural and moral values in India. To address their needs, labels must be put to inform the consumers about the product to be completely vegetarian having ingredients of plant origin or ingredients of animal origin. How VOICE as an organisation with the strong support of Mrs. Maneka Gandhi (Central Minister at that time) fought for the rights of Indian and South Asian Vegetarian consumers and persuaded the Government of India to ensure mandatory vegetarian labeling of food, has been discussed in Chapter 6. This chapter also includes a discussion on changes required in the Indian Prevention of  Food Adulteration Act.

     Infant Food Safety Issues, Codex Standards and WTO have also been dealt with in great detail in Chapter 8 to inform readers about the problems world markets face. The dangers arising out of aggressive marketing has led to infant mortality, malnutrition and various kinds of disabilities in children.

     The book has been compiled by us on behalf of as a reference book for consumers, students, food technologists, scientists, consultants, food safety officials, research workers and law makers working in this field to understand how food safety may not be sacrificed for commerce. The book presents an exhaustive and critical account of the impact caused by unsafe food and to advocate our view that commerce in food should be guided by scientific truth and public health rather than profits.

1. Codex Standards: New Challenges for Developing Countries: An Urgent Need to Reform the Codex System
Sri Ram Khanna and VOICE Team
1.1 Introduction
1.1.1 Context: A Changed Environment
1.2 The Challenge of Relevance and Adequacy of Codex and Other Food Standards as a Basis for Consumer Health Protection, Trade and Economic Development in Developing Countries
1.2.1 Relevance
1.2.2 Significance of Codex under WTO System
1.2.3 Impact of Codex
1.2.4 The Challenge of Harmonisation of Codex and National Standards in Developing Countries National Food Control Systems The Indian Case: National Standards vs. Codex Standards Areas Areas: Where to Look for Codex Standards
1.2.5 Convergence of PFA Standards with Codex Standards
1.2.6 Provisions of S.P.S and T.B.T Agreement and Their Influence on Food Standards in India
1.2.7 Significant Barriers to Harmonisation of National and Codex Standards
1.3 Challenges of Labeling of Food Products in a Developing Country Like India with Special Reference to Adoption of Codex Labeling Guidelines
1.3.1 Codex Labeling Guidelines
1.3.2 Existing Provisions for Labeling of Food under Indian Laws for Different Type of Products
1.3.3 Identification of Key Labeling Issues to be Presented to the CCFS for Considering Changes in Indian Labeling Regulations
1.3.4 Issues Related to the Labeling of Vegetarian and Non-vegetarian Food in India Source of Food Informed Choice
1.4 The Challenge of Reversing Marginalisation of Developing Countries in the Governance Structures and Decision-making Processes in Codex and Other Food Standard Work
1.5 Efficiency and Transparency of the Codex Process, Including the Independence of Codex Bodies and of Scientific Advice Given to Codex and Avoidance of Conflict of Interest
1.5.1 Transparency and Accessibility
1.5.2 Risk Communication
1.6 The Challenge of Enhancing Developing Country and Consumer Participation in the Codex Process
1.6.1 Consumer Participation in Codex
1.6.2 Developing Country Participation
1.7 Implications for Future International Systems of Food Safety and Food Standards Developments Relative to Public Health, Food Trade and Economic Development in a Broad Sense
1.8 Conclusion
Annexure I
Commodities for which PFA Standard is Available without Corresponding Codex Standard
Annexure II
Commodities for which Codex Standard is Available without Corresponding PFA Standard

2. Policy Framework for Food Security for India
Roopa Vajpeyi and VOICE Team
2.1 Food Security: An Overview
2.1.1 The Global Reality
2.1.2 The South Asian Scenario
2.2 Meaning of Food Security
2.3 Women and Food Security
2.4 Need for a Food Security Policy: The Indian Perspective
2.5 General Overview of the Indian Food Security Framework
2.5.1 The Public Distribution System as a Food Security Tool
2.5.2 Recent Developments in the PDS
2.5.3 Chinks in the PDS Armour
2.5.4 The National Nutrition Policy (NNP) and National Plan of Action on Nutrition (NPAN)
2.5.5 India’s Fish-food Scene
2.5.6 Production of Pulses in India
2.5.7 Food Security and Indian Agriculture
2.6 The Changing Face of Food Production and Food Security in the Developing World
2.7 The Big Question of Consumer Security
2.8 A Comprehensive Food Security Policy for India
Annexure I
Food Utilisation Model
Annexure II
Average Annual Per Capita Cereal Availability in South Asia, 1996-98
3. Comparative Study of Food Standards under PFA and Codex Alimentarius and Issues Relating to Their Convergence
P.K. Dhingra and VOICE Team
3.1 Introduction
3.1.1 National Food Control Systems
3.1.2 International Food Trade
Commodities for which PFA Standard is Available without Corresponding Codex Standard
Annexure II
Commodities for which Codex Standard is Available without
Corresponding PFA Standard.
4. Food Safety: Genetically Modified Food and Labeling Issues
Madhu Saxena and VOICE Team

4.1 Introduction
4.1.1 What is Genetically Modified Food?
4.1.2 Methods Adopted for Genetic Engineering
4.1.3 Potential Benefits of Genetic Engineering
4.1.4 Potential Risks of Genetic Engineering
4.1.5 Acceptability of GM Foods
4.1.6 Food Safety and Substantial Equivalence
4.1.7 Necessity of Labeling
4.1.8 Agenda of VOICE
4.1.9 India’s Position on the Entry of GM Food
4.1.10 A Startling Fact
4.1.11 Facts That Bring Fallacy
4.2 Labeling of Food Products in a Developing Country (India) with Special Reference to Adoption of Codex Labeling Guidelines
4.2.1 Codex Labeling Guidelines
4.2.2 Existing Provisions for Labeling of Food under PFA and Other Laws for Different Type of Products
4.2.3 Codex Guidelines on Labeling of Food of Different Types
4.2.4 Comparison of Codex Guidelines and Existing Labeling Requirements in India and Identification of Areas in which India Should Adopt such Guidelines to Enhance Food Safety and Nutritional Information.
4.2.5 Identification of Key Labeling Issues to be Presented to the CCFS for Considering Changes in Indian Labeling Regulations
4.2.6 Issues Related to the Labeling of Vegetarian and Non-vegetarian Food in India
4.2.7 Issues in Development of Codex Standard on Vegetarian and Non-vegetarian Labeling of Food at CCFL
4.3 Issues Relating to GM Food Products Relevant to a Developing Country
4.3.1 International Trading of GM Food
4.3.2 Issues in GM Food Safety
4.3.3 Labeling of GM Food Products
4.3.4 GMOs Current Trends and Future Prospects Key Consumer Protection Issues that can be Considered by the Inter Governmental Task Force on Food Derived from Biotechnology under the Following Terms of Reference Standards, Guidelines and other Principles, as Appropriate, for Foods Derived from Biotechnology Work carried out by the national authorities, FAO, WHO, International Organizations and other relevant international fora on the Evaluation of the Safety and Nutrition Aspects of Foods derived from Biotechnology Key Concepts and Definitions, Core Principles for Risk Assessment, Risk Management, and Risk Communication. The Scientific works done in relation to food safety of GMOs and address concerns of consumers on food safety. Labeling Provisions Developed/Being Developed in Foreign Countries Focus on what type of labeling provisions is Relevant for Indian consumers What Action Government Should Take?
Annexure A
The Codex Alimentarius Commission and the FAO/WHO Food Standards Programme
Annexure B
Comparison of Codex Guidelines on Labeling and Existing Labeling Requirements in India on Different Types of Foods
Annexure C
Specific Recommendations for the Government of India as Prepared by the Department of Biotechnology

5. Regulatory Aspects, Risk Analysis and Testing Procedures for Genetically Modified Foods
Madhu Saxena and VOICE Team

5.1 Introduction
5.2 Regulatory Aspects of Genetically Modified Foods
5.2.1 Risk Analysis of Genetically Modified Foods Toxicological Aspects of Genetically Modified Foods Issues Related to Cooking and Cultural Practices Biosafety and Risk Assessment of Genetically Modified Foods
5. 2.1.4 GM Foods: Mechanisms by Which Hazards Arise
5. 2.1.5 Current Experiences with Environmental Risk Assessment (ERA) Food Safety Issues with Reference to Cartagena Protocol on Bio-Safety ISO 14000 and Risk Assessment Evaluation of Ratio of Risk Vs. Benefits of Genetically Modified Organisms in Indian Context Evaluation of Various Risk Factors Related to Genetically Modified Foods
5.3 Key Issues Related to Methods for Detection and Identification of Biotechnology Derived Foods/Ingredients
5.3.1 Indian Scenario
5.3.2 Criteria for Safety Assessment and Accreditation of Indian Labs Suitable for Testing
5.3.3 Need of Maintaining Databases
5.4 Review of Positions Outside India
5.4.1 Review of the Work by International Organizations on the Evaluation of the Safety and Nutrition Aspects of Foods Derived from Biotechnology
5.4.2 Current Positions in Different Countries on the Matter
of Biosafety on GM Foods
5.5 Recommendations
5.5.1 General Recommendations
5.5.2 Recommendations as suggested in Report of a Joint FAO/WHO Expert Consultation on Foods Derived from Biotechnology, World Health Organization, Headquarters, Geneva, Switzerland (2000 – 2001)
5.5.3 Recommendations to the Indian Government for Assessment of Safety and Testing
Annexure I
Specific Recommendations for Government of India as Prepared by the Department of Biotechnology

6. A Cross Country Study of Vegetarian Dietary Practices, Vegetarian Food Labeling and Need for Reform in India’s Prevention of Food Adulteration Act
Sri Ram Khanna and VOICE Team
6.1 Asia and Pacific Region
6.1.1 South Asia
6.1.2 Rest of Asia and Pacific
6.2 Europe
6.3 North America
6.4 Latin America
6.5 Results of the Survey
7. Indigenous Food Culture and Knowledge Systems: A Case Study of India
Roopa Vajpeyi and VOICE Team
7.1 Introduction: Indigenous Food Culture
7.1.1 Traditional Knowledge Systems and Food Security
7.2 Agricultural Practices
7.2.1 Organic Agriculture and Food Security
7.2.2 Crop Rotation and Mixed Cropping
7.2.3 Natural Pest Management
7.2.4 Green Manure
7.2.5 Storage
7.2.6 Biodiversity Conservation
7.3 Food Grains and Pulses
7.3.1 Rice: From the Fields to Annals of Culture
7.3.2 Wheat
7.3.3 Millets
7.3.4 Pulses/ Legumes/ Lentils
7.4 Modernisation of Agriculture: An Antithesis of Sustainability
7.5 Cattle and Food Sustainability
7.5.1 Cattle and Women
7.5.2 Cow Wealth
7.6 India’s Edible Oils
7.6.1 Mustard - The Multi-Purpose Oil
7.7 Vegetarianism: Food and Nutrition
7.8 Indigenous Drinks
7.9 Food Safety and Medicinal Systems
7.9.1 Ayurveda: India’s Traditional Knowledge System
7.9.2 The Role of Food in Ayurveda
7.9.3 Sources of Different Rasas
7.9.4 Nutrition: An Ayurvedic Perspective
7.10 Cooking Practices
7.10.1 The Indian Kitchen
7.11 Herbs and Spices
7.11.1 Spice Box
7.12 Fasts, Feasts and Festivals
7.13 Fast Food in India
7.13.1 Indianisation of Fast Food
7.14 Patenting and the Global Market
7.15 Food Culture and Food Lore
7.16 Cattle and Folklore
7.17 The Indian Paan: Betel
8. Infant Food Standards, Codex and WTO
Vijay Sardana, Priyanka Sardana, Debi Mukherjee and VOICE Team
8.1 Codex Alimentarius Commission, WTO and Infant Foods
8.1.1 Introduction
8.1.2 Principles of the Trading System under WTO Why is it Called "Most-favoured"? Most-favoured-nation (MFN) National Treatment: Treating Foreigners and Locals Equally Freer Trade: Gradually, Through Negotiation Predictability: Through Binding The Uruguay Round Increased Bindings Promoting Fair Competition Encouraging Development and Economic Reforms
8.1.3 Significance of Codex under WTO System
8.1.4 Origins of the Codex Alimentarius Ancient Times A Scientific Base International Developments
8.1.5 Trade Concerns
8.1.6 Consumers' Concerns The Problem of Food Additives
8.1.7 Desire for Leadership
8.1.8 Integrating Non-governmental Activities
8.1.9 International Consultation and Co-operation
8.1.10 The Codex System: FAO, WHO and the Codex Alimentarius Commission
8.1.11 Statutes of the Codex Alimentarius Commission
8.1.12 Structure of the Codex Alimentarius
8.1.13 Member Countries' Acceptance of Codex Standards
8.1.14 FAO, WHO and the Codex Relationship
8.1.15 Achievements of Codex A Single International Reference Point Greater Global and National Awareness Increased Consumer Protection Fostering Consumer Protection World-wide Broad Community Involvement A Code of Scientifically Sound Standards Codex and the International Food Trade The Uruguay Round and World Food Trade
8.1.16 Codex and the Ethics of International Trade
8.1.17 Codex and Regional Trade Agreements and Arrangements
8.1.18 Codex and the Consumers Commitment in the Interest of Consumers What Codex Has Produced to Protect Consumers? Extract from the Codex Guidelines on Nutrition Labeling
8.1.19 Codex and Science
8.1.20 Codex and the Future
8.1.21 Dispute Settlement under WTO
8.2 Infant Nutrition, Breast Feeding and Infant Formula
8.2.1 Macro-nutrients
8.2.2 Duration of Gestation
8.2.3 Micronutrients
8.2.4 Immunobiology
8.2.5 Psychosocial
8.2.6 Conclusions
8.2.7 Global Strategy for Infant and Young Child Feeding
8.2.8 Infant Feeding Requirements in the Child and Adult Care Food Programme Meal Pattern
8.2.9 Breastfeeding Advantages of Breastfeeding Composition of Mature Breastmilk Steps to Ensure Adequacy of Breastmilk Common Problems During Breast Feeding
8.2.10 Beginning Solid Foods
8.2.11 Promoting Good Food Habits
8.2.12 Legislation on Infant Milk Substitutes and Infant Food in India
8.3 Action Points for NGOs on Infant Feeding
Annexure I
WHO Resolution and Recommendations
Annexure II
Proposed Codex Standards for Infant Formula
Proposed Draft Revised Standard for Infant Formula
Annexure III
Existing Codex Standard for Infant Formula
Annexure IV
Code of Marketing of the Government of India
The Infant Milk Substitutes, Feeding Bottles And Infant Foods (Regulation of Production, Supply And Distribution) Bill, 1992
Annexure V
Joint FAO/WHO Food Standards Programme
Codex Committee on Nutrition and Foods for Special Dietary Uses
9. Consumer Awareness Through Comparative Product Testing
9.1 Active Involvement of VOICE in the Area of Food Safety
9.2 Comparative Product Testing by VOICE
9.2.1 Why Comparative Testing?
9.2.2 Objectives of Comparative Testing
9.2.3 Role of Ombudsman Committee in Comparative Testing
9.2.4 How Comparative Testing is Done?
9.2.5 How Comparative Testing Protects the Consumers?
9.2.6 Prevention is Better Than Cure: CT Results Empower the Consumer


Professor Sri Ram Khanna received his M.Com from Shri Ram College of Commerce in 1975 and Ph.D degree from the Department of Commerce, Delhi School of Economics, University of Delhi in 1980. He also holds a degree in Law. Currently, the Head of Department of Commerce, Delhi School of Economics, University of Delhi, Prof. Khanna took up the teaching career and alongside took active interest in the consumer movement and its varied facets including consumer and competition law and redressal system. He has served on the Central Committee for Food Standards (CCFS) and The Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) of the Government of India as a consumer representative for a number of terms since 1984. As Managing Trustee of VOICE, which was set up at the Delhi School of Economics Campus in 1983, he has been working on food safety issues. He is currently the Managing Editor of Consumer Voice magazine, which publishes comparative product testing results, and a member of the Council of Consumers International (CI), London which consists of over 250 consumer organisations in 110 countries. He has participated and presented papers at various seminars, conferences and workshops at the national and international levels in different countries of the world. He is a member of the National Codex Committee and has participated as member of the official Indian delegation at important Codex meetings like CCFL and CCNFDSU held in Ottawa and Berlin respectively. He has also participated in CCGP (Paris) as member and Codex Coordinating Committee for Asia meetings, as head of the Consumers International (CI) delegation. As an academic expert, he specialises in Marketing and International Business. His understanding of the complex field of WTO, international law, consumer affairs and food safety provides a unique multidisciplinary framework. He is a highly acclaimed consumer activist of India and was awarded the Indian Merchants Chamber Award for Consumer Protection in 2001. He has published three books and a number of papers in national and international journals.

 Dr. Madhu Saxena is currently working as a scientist with, New Delhi. She completed her B.Sc., M.Sc. and Ph.D from the Department of Botany, University of Allahabad. Dr. Saxena was awarded her Ph.D. in Microbiology and plant pathology in the year 1979. She has 21 years of research experience and was awarded various research scholarships by ICAR, CSIR and UGC. She has worked as a Post-doctoral fellow, Research Associate and Senior Research Associate for 14 years and  carried out extensive research work. For IIT (Delhi), she developed a bioprocess for the removal of hexavalent chromium from effluent waters successfully.

     She has multidisciplinary experience of work in the areas of biology, soil microbiology, plant pathology, agriculture, environmental biotechnology, food safety, genetically modified organisms, and health. She has published a number of papers, articles, and reports in national and international journals in her areas of specialisation. She is also a regular contributor to Consumer VOICE magazine.

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