Sale of adulterated foodstuff goes on unchecked

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Srinagar—The sale of substandard and highly adulterated foodstuff is allegedly going on unnoticed in markets of the rural areas in the valley.

The consumers are complaining that the concerned authorities have not planned a comprehensive crackdown against those involved in the devilry.

The people from Kupwara, Barmaullah, Sopore, Anantnag and other towns said that the sale of substandard and highly adulterated foodstuff including cooked and uncooked items is going on unnoticed.

People alleged that majority of local restaurants, shopkeepers, bakers, fast food centres and vendors have been selling unhygienic foodstuff in extremely unhygienic conditions mainly because none of the concerned government authorities is giving due attention to provision of hygienic and clean foodstuff to consumers.

The concerned authorities have been doing almost nothing to safeguard poor public from food and water-borne diseases including viral hepatitis (A&E), gastroenteritis, diarrhoea and dysentery, said one of the social activist.

Pleading anonymity, one of the officials said that it is strange that the high-ups in the government have been elaborating a lot to improve healthcare services for public but doing almost nothing to eliminate causes behind ailments. It is ironical to take action on effects instead of removing causes, he said.

It is important that the authorities has not planned any crackdown against local hotels, shopkeepers and vendors selling unhygienic foodstuff while there is also no regular check on sale of food adulteration.

However the officials of the divisional administration say that they are working hard to check sale of substandard and adulterated foodstuff in the markets.

They added that the concerned staff is collecting samples of food items regularly in routine from markets and send those to laboratory for quality checking.

FCS&CA Minister Chowdary Zulfikar said that the government is committed to curb the food adulteration in the state. “I have directed the field officials to regularly collect samples of various items and get these checked. We have intensified surveillance across the state and initiated a cross-verification of surveillance work by sending food safety officials outside their jurisdictions for inspection,” the minister maintained.

It is to also pertinent to mention here that the State High Court has recently directed Government to make food testing laboratories at Srinagar and Jammu functional by providing required manpower under Food Safety and Standard Act of 2006. “Respondent State has to forthwith initiate action in setting up testing laboratories, as directed by the Court, one at Srinagar and one at Jammu. We hope and trust that, two laboratories would be made functional,” a division bench of the court comparing Justice M H Attar and Justice A M Magrey had said while hearing a suo-moto PIL. (KNS)

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