KOCHI: The food safety department inErnakulam, which was struggling with 14 vacant posts, finally heaved a sigh of relief as the government has approved the posting of 10 officials.
Sources in the department said that the 10 officials will be posted soon, without giving an exact joining date. At present the department has only two squads, comprising five members each, to conduct raids and rein in the sale of adulterated food items.
Assistant food safety commissioner, Ernakulam, Shibu K V said: “We can increase the number of raids and address the list of complaints with the arrival of more officials. As we don’t have more officials we have only two squads, one concentrating in Muvattupuzha andKothamangalam areas. The other squad is busy in western and central regions of the district.”
Plans are afoot to reorganize the existing squads and form five squads with a team of three members.
The two squads conduct 70-75 raids and address around 100 public complaints each month.
Besides, they also collect samples for test.
Acting on a tip-off, theAurangabad Food and Drug Administration seized 870 kgs of unlabelled ghee worth Rs 2.60 lakhs, which was being sold at a dairy shop in N-3 Cidco area on Wednesday. The FDAofficials had kept a vigil on the sweet shops in the city during the Ganesh festival celebrations and also carried out surprise checks at four sweet shops, inspecting the quality of raw material used for preparing sweets and also examining the hygiene standards maintained by them.
During the raid we found that the shop-owner was found to be violating the Food Safety and Standards Act-2006 and selling unlabelled ghee which raises suspicion of adulteration. “We seized 58 tins of ghee containing 15 kgs each, which weighed altogether 870kg of ghee, worth Rs 2.60 lakhs,” said Ram Munde, the food safety officer.
“In a bid to ensure safety of citizens, the FDA officials were directed to keep a close vigil and inspect all concerned food establishments and ensure that high standards of quality are maintained in order to help prevent any cases of food poisoning. This issue becomes particularly important during the festivals where sweets are consumed in large quantities,” said Anant Pardhi, FDA deputy joint commissioner (food), Aurangabad division.
“The officials raided four places, of which one shop was selling ghee in adulterated form. Samples of the confiscated ghee have been sent to laboratory for further testing, the reports of which will be procured in 10 days,” said Munde.
FDA Aurangabad division had also apprised the sweet and other food product dealers in the city of the norms and the criteria. They had also appealed all the Ganesh Mandals to register with them in case they are organizing bhandara during the 10-day festival.