As the apex food regulator, The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), had recently tested food samples from a number of restaurants, food chains, fast food outlets in the country and found that many licensed and registered eateries in the country were serving adulterated or of sub-standard quality of food products. Clearly almost 20% of the food samples tested in the government laboratories were found to be inferior and not in compliance the rules and regulations of the Food Authority.
In the wake of the large number of adulteration cases the Health Minister, Dr. Harsh Vardhan has announced that a Bill would soon be drafted in order to curb the growing menace of adulteration and misbranding of food products in India. He added that despite regular checks on food products, adulteration and substandard quality had become widespread causing grave concerns about the health of consumers.
State food safety officers collected random samples of food items and sent them for testing to the various laboratories in the country, recognised by the FSSAI for analysis. In those cases where samples failed to meet the provisions of the Act, action has been taken against offenders and cases registered against them. Uttar Pradesh has recorded the maximum number of offenders in food adulteration followed by Maharashtra, Haryana, Uttarakhand, Jharkhand, Bihar and Delhi. The State Food authorities have collected a sum of over Rs.12 crores from these states as fine and a number of food business operators have been convicted.
Dr. Harsh Vardhan hopes to formulate a Bill that will assist in taking stringent action against the offenders and stated that the Bill is likely to be drafted in consultation with the Food Ministry, Commerce Ministry and the FSSAI. It is very important that other ministries like food processing industry, agriculture, consumer affairs, public distribution and health play a role in drafting the Bill as it would then be sent to the Cabinet for approval and enacted in the Parliament.
The FSSAI will also be further equipped with resources and finances so that it continues to uphold public health on priority. There is also likely to be an advisory committee headed by the Food Minister and would include health, food processing and agricultural ministries and which would help in the implementation of the new Bill and monitor the activities of the food traders. The FSSAI has already been consulted on the formulation of the advisory committee.
Though there are already a number of good laws in place but the adulteration of food continues to plague our nation because there is no strict adherence to the law. Let us hope that all these efforts bear fruit and food adulteration cases are reduced drastically and that the law is implemented in a strict manner so that the consumer is safe.
FSSAI had published information to analyze adulteration in Milk & Milk Products. You can read through the following links:
Click here to read on Offences & Penalties under Food Safety & Standards Act