2,807 samples of food fail quality test since 2016
About 2,807 food samples tested in Jammu and Kashmir from 2016 to June this year have failed the quality parameters, raising questions over the standard of food supplied to consumers and leading to the conviction of 311 persons for indulging in adulteration and selling substandard products.
The tests had been carried out as per the rules set by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI). Both branded and unbranded products were tested. According to government data, of the 10,195 samples lifted randomly by the civic authorities, especially the Drugs and Food Control Organisation (DFCO), J&K, 2,807 samples were found adulterated or not conforming to acceptable standards. The data reveals that during 2016-17, 2,952 samples were collected and analysed. Of them, 1,114 were found adulterated, misbranded or substandard. In 2017-18, 3,643 items were collected and of them, 992 were unsuitable for consumption. From 2018 till June 2019, 3,600 samples were collected. Of them, 701 were found substandard.The FSSAI has also revealed that cases of food poisoning have come to their notice across the country.
“There are prescribed standards to ensure safe and wholesome food to the consumers through various regulations notified under the Food Safety and Standards Act but these are being violated in J&K,” said a senior administrative official. As per the consumer protection laws, states have to undertake regular monitoring, inspection and sampling of food items to check compliance of the prescribed standards and take penal action when the products are found adulterated, misbranded or are of an inferior quality.
Commissioner, Food Safety, Vinod Sharma said the DFCO regularly monitored and conducted inspections to curb the adulteration of food items. He said more active measures were planned to curb the menace. “As per the procedure, the field staff lift samples and laboratories inspect them. If they are found not conforming to the standards, individuals are challaned. It is up to the courts to decide the quantum of punishment and fine,” said Sharma.