Violation of Food Safety Act goes unabated

SMC mute on sale of expired, substandard products

CONCERN

MUKEET AKMALI

Srinagar, Dec 16: In blatant violation of the Food Safety Act, sale of expired, substandard products and adulteration of milk is going on unabated in the summer capital in absence of regular monitoring by the Srinagar Municipal Corporation
 Expired and adulterated products are being sold openly in various markets of the City while the SMC’s Food Monitoring wing entrusted to check adulteration and sale of substandard goods is acting as mute spectator.
 The Food Safety Act 2006 makes it mandatory for even small manufacturers or shopkeepers to follow the basic hygiene and safety requirements. 
 “It is mandatory for SMC department to collect samples of milk products on weekly basis from the markets and check its standards. But very rarely market checks are being conducted thereby putting the lives of common people at risk,” sources said 
 It has been learnt that expired products particularly dates, candies and noodles are being used in packaged small baskets. “These products are mainly consumed during marriage functions and festive occasions,” they said. 
 Pertinently, death of a five year old girl by allegedly by consuming expired noodles at Kulgam in south Kashmir has sent alarm bell ringing with civil society castigating the monitoring agencies including SMC for failing to maintain the set food quality standards. 
 “If any small vendor sells any article of food which is not in compliance with the provisions of the act or regulations made there under shall he liable to a penalty not less then three lakhs rupees with imprisonment,” reads a clause of the Food Safety Act. 
 According to the Food Safety Act it is not permissible for any mutton dealer to slaughter animals at his workplace or home.  They have to bring animals to assigned abattoir to slaughter them. But in Srinagar, animals are slaughtered near drains and at unhygienic places. 
 “There is no quality check of mutton. Besides the concerned SMC officials overlook unhygienic condition in mutton shops. In violation of norms they stamp the slaughtered animals in shops in lieu of money,” a group of concerned citizens said.  
  They said most of mutton dealers also sell low grade meat at higher rates. “Meat sold in City is of low-grade. Most of the dealers purchase C or D-grade sheep from other states. Ironically the SMC authorities are acting as mute spectators,” they said.
 Deputy Director, Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution, Shafqat Iqbal passed the buck on the SMC. “Our department looks after the rates of essential commodities and food quality checks are to be conducted by the SMC,” he said.
 When contacted Health Officer SMC, Dr Rubeena claimed that SMC conducts market checking regularly. 
 “Our teams are regularly monitoring the markets and taking food samples” she said.
 Dr Rubeena however said that there is a need to create awareness among consumers. “People should verify expiry date of the food items before consuming them,” she added.

Lastupdate on : Sun, 16 Dec 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sun, 16 Dec 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Mon, 17 Dec 2012 00:00:00 IST




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