The Madras High Court has slammed the Food Safety Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) for seeking 18 months to spell out the tests that needs to be held to ascertain the addition of acid and other harmful chemicals to sago products.
The first bench comprising Chief Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice R Mahadevan while directing FSSAI to place before it the test that has to be followed in the interregnum period, said “We fail to appreciate the stand which is now taken before us that FSSAI needs 18 months’ time to determine the tests, since the scientific panel has been re-constituted. We do believe that such a request for a long period shows an amount of callousness towards the affected people at large.”
The issue relates to a plea moved by various farmers’ association from Namakkal district that the Tamil Nadu Tapioca Natural Sago Manufacturers Association of Salem, which remains a major suppliers of sago, added acid and other chemicals to make it white. Noting that this had resulted in consumers in Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan, UP and Gujarat stopping consumption the product owing to the high presence of chemicals, they submitted this had indirectly affected the interests of tapioca farmers.
However, based on the submission of TN Food Safety and Drug Administration Department that various petitions were pending on the action taken, the bench held that it is appropriate to post these matters before a single court. The case has been posted to January 24.