Pune: The Maharashtra unit of Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) is yet to confirm its participation in the union government’s mandatory National Milk Quality Survey, which was initiated in September this year.
This shocking revelation comes even as other states like Uttar Pradesh, New Delhi and Tamil Nadu have already completed their milk quality checks and sent the results to Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI). States like Goa and Haryana are currently collecting the milk samples prior to forwarding it to laboratories for further tests.
Ten cities in Maharashtra including Pune, Navi Mumbai, Jalgaon, Nagpur, etc, have been identified as hotspots. “We are yet to receive any communication neither official letter or calls from FSSAI to the office of commissioner of FDA, Maharashtra,” Monika Puniya, Assistant Director (Technical), FSSAI, informed Sakal Times.
According to sources at FSSAI, without confirmation, the national body will not be able to share the action plan with the State, which will then have to undertake the survey and complete it in stipulated time. Maharashtra could also be a culprit in causing an overall delay to the national survey, which was supposed to be completed by December this year.
FSSAI, on the basis of the past reports and incidents of adulteration, shared the survey plan to each of the states, which was inclusive of the number of milk samples to be collected, areas of interest for sampling, labs where the samples will be processed, etc. Food Safety Officer (FSO) from each division in the State was assigned to do the job in the stipulated period and share the results with FSSAI.
According to sources at FDA’s Pune division, there has not been any communication from the Mumbai-based headquarters about initiating any milk sampling as yet.
“We are not aware of any survey and have not been instructed about the same so far,” said a senior official from FDA, Pune.
What is National Milk Quality Survey?
– The survey, argued to be first of its kind, aims to test the quality of milk to understand the prevalence of milk adulteration in states and chalk out measures to curb the menace. During the survey, over 1,700 milk samples will be randomly picked and tested for fat, Solids not Fat (SNF), vegetable oil, detergent, hydrogen peroxide, formalin, sugar, glucose, urea, starch, boric acid, ammonium sulphate, nitrates, cellulose maltodextrin. Each state will have a state-level steering committee comprising members like commissioner of FDA, milk commissioner of the State, personnel from dairy industries and Food Safety Officers (FSO).
Food safety licence for college canteens mandatory, says UGC
KOLHAPUR: The University Grants Commission (UGC) has made it mandatory for the canteens running at institutions of higher learning to have licences under the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI).
In a circular issue recently, UGC secretary Jaspal Sandhu said the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 along with the rules and regulations, provide the statutory framework for regulating, the manufacture, storage, distribution and sale of food to ensure health and hygiene.
He said the act stipulates that no person shall commence any food business unless he/she possesses a valid license. However, it has been observed that canteens and other food establishments in various educational institutions have not been licensed under the act.
The UGC has asked the vice-chancellors of the universities to ensure the implementation of FSS Act, 2006 in food establishments on campuses of universities and colleges affiliated to them. “The FSSAI would also organise training for food handlers working in food establishments of educational institutions to provide safe and wholesome food to students.”
M S Kembalkar, assistant commissioner, FDA city unit, told TOI that it is mandatory for college and university canteens to get the license from the FSSAI. “The FDA unit has started conducting frequent inspections at universities and colleges to ensure that the canteens are complying with norms. If any food establishment is found without license, the owner is given 15 days to obtain the same. A criminal case can be filed for failing to apply for the licence within this period,” he said,