Despite directions against it, serving food in newspapers continues in Kashmir
Srinagar: The vendors, butchers and other roadside food out lets continue to use newspapers for wrapping and packing food items despite directions from authorities not to use it given the harmful effects.
Recently, the statement was issued by the Assistant Commissioner Food safety and standards, Srinagar Hilal Ahmad in which it was said that strict action will be taken against those violating the directions.
The statement further said that as per the relevant provisions of food safety and standards act, the guilty will be punished.
In contrast, nothing has changed on the ground, the violations are taking place at random and still newspapers continue to be the preferred choice of vendors and butchers to wrap the food articles.
At Maharaja Bazar, which is in the heart of the Srinagar city, the butchers were seen selling meat wrapped with the newspaper to the customers.
The road side vendors, selling snacks were also seen selling them to the customers wrapped with the newspapers at many places in and around the Srinagar city.
Even fried fishes were sold to the customers wrapped with the newspapers at Munawarabad, Baghat and Hyderpora.
When this reporter talked to some of the vendors and butchers about the directions issued by the food and safety standards department, Srinagar, they said that they are not aware of the directions.
“We have not heard that government has banned the use of newspaper. We are as usual selling the meat wrapped with the newspapers. If at all the directions would have reached to us. We would have at once started obeying them,” said Ali Mohammad a butcher from Nowpora.
Pertinently, the food contaminated by newspaper ink raise serious health concerns with known negative health effects.
Besides chemical contaminations, presence of pathogenic microorganisms in used newspapers also possesses risk to human life.
The Food, Safety and Standard Authority of India (FSSAI) has already warned that such unhealthy practice can be injurious to health even if the food is prepared in a safe and hygienic manner.
Since the ink used in newspapers has multiple bioactive materials with known negative health effects can easily leached into foods wrapped or served in them, it poses a potential risk to human health when consumed. Also, the solvent used to dissolve ink on the paper can be potentially carcinogenic.
“Wrapping food in newspapers is an unhealthy practice and the consumption of such food is injurious to health, even if the food has been cooked hygienically,” the Food, Safety and Standard Authority of India (FSSAI) said in an advisory.
“Printing inks may also contain harmful colours, pigments, binders, additives, and preservatives. Besides chemical contaminants, presence of pathogenic microorganisms in used newspapers also poses potential risk to human health,” the advisory said.
Assistant Commissioner of food safety and standards, Srinagar Hilal Ahmad said that “we are on the job”.
He further said that “we have destroyed the newspaper stock of vendors at many places in the Srinagar city”.
“Where ever the violation is still taking place, that will be looked in, guilty will be taken to task in accordance with the law,” he said.
Food Safety dept. launches ‘Operation Sagar Rani’
The objective is to ensure safety and hygiene at markets
KOCHI: To ensure safety and hygiene at fish handling and distribution centres, Food Safety officials in the district have launched an initiative named ‘Operation Sagar Rani’.
The inspections conducted under programme followed complaints about lack of food safety measures at fish handling centres, said a statement issued by Food Safety Department, Ernakulam Circle.
The team led by Assistant Commissioner of Food Safety (Intelligence) Reji C. George, following the inspections, decided to organise awareness sessions on food safety during handling and distribution at various harbours and markets.
Inspections were conducted at Aluva, Paravur, Kalady, Muvattupuzha, Varappuzha, Chambakkara, and Ernakulam markets as well as Thoppumpady and Munambam harbours, and instructions were issued to workers to abide by food safety norms. The sessions will be organised at Munambam (February 10, Friday), Thoppumpady (February 14) and Champakkara market (February 16).
The team of officials from Food Safety and Fisheries departments comprised Food Safety Officers P.B. Dileep, Jose Lawrence, Zakeer Husain, Fisheries sub-inspectors Devi Chandran, and Leena.
Food Safety Department to examine fish brought from other States
According to the Food Safety Department, fish samples collected from the Central fish market in the city contained sodium benzoate.
Concern over wide use of sodium benzoate to preserve stock
After Operation Sagar Rani that mainly targeted the local fish vendors who sprinkled harmful chemical preservatives on fish, the enforcement wing of the Food Safety Department is all set to routinely examine the fish stock that arrives in Kerala from other States.
The are reports that sodium benzoate is widely used in fish coming from Karnataka, Goa, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh. The drive will zero in on non-Kerala suppliers as the samples collected from local fishermen contained only minimal preservatives.
Food Safety Department officials say intensive vehicle checking with the support of the police and other related departments will be planned to check the stock and collect samples on the spot.
“We had collected fish items and ice samples from 47 locations in the district, but only samples collected from the Central fish market in the city contained sodium benzoate. The main issue in Kozhikode is that vendors do not use required quantity of ice for preserving fish,” said O. Sankaranunni, Assistant Commissioner, Food Safety Department. The improper use of ice by local vendors was mainly noticed along the wayside.
The department will go ahead with field-level awareness programmes for fishers on the impact of cancerous preservatives on human body. One such awareness programme will take place in the city on February 13. A separate session for the fish vendors in Central market, where the misuse of sodium benzoate was confirmed, will be organised on February 15.
Local fish vendors say they never opt for unlawful preservation of their stock. “No fisherman will do it deliberately because they will lose their regular clients and it will affect their business,” says Faijaz, a local fish merchant at Nadakkavu. He also adds that fishers are very receptive towards the ongoing quality-checking mechanism to address safety concerns.
Food safety officials also clarify that there has been no confirmed incidents in the district in which fishers used formalin, a toxic and carcinogenic chemical commonly used to preserve dead bodies, to keep fish items. The main issue in the district is the poor quantity of ice used to preserve the stock that naturally leads to bacterial infection and further health complications, they add
Artificial fruit ripening: Two fruit vendors arrested
RAIPUR: Two fruit vendors were arrested for selling artificially ripened fruits after the adulteration was confirmed by police based on laboratory report of Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the capital on Friday. Ashok Kumar Baghel and Vijay Shankar Choubey were arrested by Golebazar police and a case is registered under section 269, 273 of IPC.
This is first time that action has been taken based on FDA reports against fruit sellers. According to FDA’s assistant commissioner Dr Ashwini Dewangan the lab report confirms the sample fruits were ripened with liquid chemicals and carbide stone, which are prohibited under food safety and standard regulation.”
The raids on fruit markets at Lalpur and Jawahar were carried out by Revenue Department, police and FDA on January 18 during which 8 tonne of fruits were seized and destroyed. Samples of fruits were sent to FDA’s lab and based on which the fruits sellers have been arrested and their go-down have been sealed.