Srinagar: The sale of low-quality chicken in Kashmir has sparked concerns about public health and food safety standards.
Reports of D-grade chicken being sold in the market are making rounds on social media platforms, raising alarm among the shopkeepers and residents alike, who fear the adverse effects of consuming poor-quality poultry.
Recently, the Food Safety Department seized 10 quintals of dressed chicken and meat being sold in violation of the Food Safety Standards Act at Eve Enterprises in the Parimpora area of Srinagar.
The entire quantity was destroyed on the spot and samples were collected for further legal proceedings.
Deputy Commissioner, J&K Drug and Food Control Organisation, Shagufta Jalal told Greater Kashmir that steps had been taken to address the issue.
“We have sealed shops selling low-quality chicken at discounted prices. Raids were conducted in Parimpora, Khayam, and other locations near the Bund side where chicken was found being sold at unusually low prices,” he said.
Jalal said that the samples had been collected from these locations and the results were awaited.
“The department has received numerous complaints regarding the availability of substandard chicken in the market. Only after the test reports are received can they determine whether the chicken is of D-grade quality, poses any health risks, or falls under low-quality standards,” he said.
Highlighting previous actions taken by the department, Jalal said that several quintals of dressed chicken were seized in Kashmir.
He said that the storage conditions for these dressed chickens were found to be unhygienic, posing a significant risk to public health.
Director, Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs, Kashmir, Riyaz Ahmad Sofi told Greater Kashmir that although they had not received any complaints regarding the availability of low-quality chicken in the market, appropriate action would be taken if found so.
“The presence of food products of such poor quality in Kashmir's markets is a matter of concern and raises public health issues. The department remains committed to addressing the complaints received and taking necessary measures to rectify the situation,” he said.
A resident of downtown, Afaq Ahmad, expressed his worries about the prevalence of substandard and adulterated food in the local markets, attributing health complications to the lack of quality control measures.
"We are unaware of what exactly we are consuming. The absence of quality checks in the market and the indifferent attitude of the authorities is taking a toll on our health. We are inadvertently ingesting poison," he said.
A shopkeeper, who sells good quality chicken, noted a decline in sales following the presence of low-quality chicken being sold at lower prices.
He said that the market offers different grades of chicken, ranging from A to D, with the currently sold chicken being of D-grade quality.
Expressing his concerns, the shopkeeper said, “These low-quality chickens are being sold for Rs 75 and Rs 99. People are purchasing them without being aware of their actual quality. This situation has significantly impacted our business.”