Food Safety Enforcement News – India this week – April 23

GENERAL

AP /  TELENGANA

CHANDIGARH

Food cooked at unhygienic site destroyed

Chandigarh: A team of food safety officials inspected a bakery making savouries in Shastri Nagar, Manimajra. The team was led by food safety officer Bhaljinder Singh.
The factory was found running in unsanitized and unhygienic conditions and was challaned for the same.
Five quintals of savouries were found unfit for consumption and were destroyed by the officials. In addition to this, sweets and confectionery items of approximately four quintals were found to have been prepared in unhygienic conditions.
Some food items stored at a residential premises were also destroyed during the drive.
The drive to check illegal and unhygienic food units in Manimajra was started by SDM (East) Dr Tapasya Raghav.
Raghav said the drive to check unhygienic conditions at food producing outlets will continue.
DELHI

FDA seizes 890kg mangoes artificially ripened with calcium carbide in Ulhasnagar

ULHASNAGAR: Officials of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in a joint operation with staff of Ulhasnagar Municipal Corporation on Friday raided five godown at the Ulhasnagar. Out of them, from two they seized 890 kg mangoes that were being artificially ripenedwith calcium carbide. The raid was carried out after FDAofficials received specific Information about five wholesalers engaged in fruits business selling artificially ripened mangoes.
Acting on information, FDA inspector Santosh Vajharkar with the help of UMC Deputy Municipal Commissioner Jameer Lengrekar and his team on Friday afternoon raided five godowns out of which from two godown, namely Meghraj Fruit Merchant at Ulhasnagar 1 and Vasudev Fruit Merchant near vegetable market, found 890 kg mangoes that were artificially ripped with calcium carbide.
The seized mangoes were later taken to dumping ground where it was disposed of by the staff of Ulhasnagar Municipal Corporation. The FDA official said that criminal action against the owner of these godowns is on. He said any person found guilty of using chemicals to ripen fruit can be slapped with a fine of up to Rs 5 lakh.
Talking to TOI, Jameer Lengrekar, deputy municipal commissioner, said, “Out of five godowns, we got ripe mangoes at two godows while at remaining godowns, there were no mangoes”. Lengrekar further said, “Such raids will continue to curb the sale of chemically ripened mangoes that may prove dangerous to health.
 

AAP govt ties up with private labs to improve food quality in Delhi restaurants

New Delhi: To ensure better and frequent monitoring of food served in restaurants and even on streets , Delhi’s food safety department tied up with 18 private labs in the city for picking up samples, testing them and providing a report.
Delhi has only one government lab that would test food samples, resulting in a huge backlog. The private labs that the Delhi government tied up with are NABL accredited, which assures quality.
“It is a force multiplier for the government. With the one lab and limited man-power, it was just not possible for us to cover entire Delhi. Now we will be able to do 20 times as many tests we were previously conducting,” said Dr Mrinalini Darswal, Delhi’s food safety commissioner.
This will also combat the perpetual shortage of staff in the department.
“There are not food safety officers to monitor every food vendor in Delhi. Currently there are 16 officers against 32 sanctioned posts and even that is not enough. Partnering with these labs we would be able to pick up more samples and it is as good as having 19 functioning food safety labs,” said Darswal.
The government tied up with these labs in February and a computerised system of giving the reports was set up.
“The labs get paid R 5,000 per sample for collection and testing, this is the rate fixed by the FSSAI (Food Safety and Standards Authority of India). We have tried this method for some time now, which is why we were able to conduct the emergency inspections of the mid-day meal kitchen efficiently,” said Dr Darswal.
The food safety department started a drive to check all the mid-day meal kitchens on February 20 after nine children fell ill at a Delhi government school after consuming food that had a dead rat in it.
These labs would, however, be authorised to pick up only surveillance samples. “After the reports of the surveillance samples come in, we will be able to pin point 2 or 3 vendors whose samples fail. Our food safety officers can then go to these shops and collect a legal sample, which is a tedious procedure and is time-consuming,” said Darswal.
A ‘legal sample’ is when a specified quantity of a food item, according to the food safety regulations, bearing the same batch number is picked up from a single shop after following due procedure.
GOA

400kg of artificially ripened mangoes seized in FDA raid

PANAJI: Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) officials, in a raid at the Panaji market, on Friday morning, seized 400kg of artificially ripened mangoes worth Rs 1.20 lakh. The officials inspected ten different consignments of the fruit that had reached the market early morning.

Two consignments had mangoes matured by way of using chemicals. Director FDA Salim Veljee said ethopon was used as the ripening agent.

One consignment had come from Vengurla, Maharashtra, Veljee said and added that Ravi Shastri, rickshaw driver, who transported the consignment, has been detained for questioning.

JAMMU & KASHMIR

Constituted over a year back, Food Safety Tribunals remain victims of Govt apathy

Delay in providing staff, other paraphernalia despite HC orders
*Objectives behind Act enacted 11 yrs back yet to be achieved
JAMMU, : In a testimony of non-serious approach towards various aspects of food safety, the Government has failed to provide staff and other paraphernalia to the Food Safety and Appellate Tribunals, which were created by it over a year back that too after being reprimanded by the Supreme Court as well as State High Court. In this way, the objectives behind Food Safety and Standard Act and Rules could not be achieved despite lapse of several years.
The Food Safety and Standards Act was enacted in 2006 but its rules were framed in 2011 after a lapse of five years, which was the testimony of non-serious approach towards the important piece of legislation right from the very beginning.
After being reprimanded by the Supreme Court and High Court of Jammu and Kashmir over tardy implementation of this Act, the Department of Health and Medical Education vide SRO No.42 of 2016 dated February 10, 2016 and as per Rule 3.2.2 of the Food Safety and Standard Rules, 2011 established two Food Safety Appellate Tribunals—one each for Jammu and Kashmir.
Thereafter, no attention was paid towards making these Tribunals functional and Government woke up from the deep slumber only when the State High Court issued directions about appointment of Presiding Officers in Public Interest Litigations (PILs) with the observation that purpose of establishment of Tribunals was getting defeated due to inaction on the part of Government in general and Health and Medical Education Department in particular.
Finally, vide SRO No.371 dated November 18, 2016, the Health and Medical Education Department in exercise of powers conferred under Sub-Section 3 of Section 70 of Food Safety and Standard Act, 2006 read with Rule 3.2.1 of Food Safety and Standard Rules, 2011 appointed Mohammad Yousuf Akhoon, former Principal Secretary to Chief Justice, J&K High Court and Maharaj Krishan Hanjura, Member Company Law Board Delhi as Presiding Officers of Food Safety Appellate Tribunals.
These Tribunals are required to hear appeals from the decisions of the Adjudicating Officers under Section 68 of the Food Safety and Standard Act, 2006. The Additional Deputy Commissioners of every district have been designated as Adjudicating Officer as per the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006.
The appointment of Presiding Officers of Food Safety Appellate Tribunals was welcomed in the wake of large number of pending cases related to unsafe, substandard and misbranded food products and items with the District Magistrates and in civil courts.
“However, Food Safety Appellate Tribunals have remained victims of Gover-nment apathy even more than one year after their establishment as now the Government is soft-paddling on providing requisite staff and other paraphernalia to these Tribunals, which otherwise is hampering their functioning”, sources said.
They further said, “the dilly-dallying approach is notwithstanding the fact that Division Bench of State High Court had last month viewed seriously the failure of the Government to provide all the facilities to the Tribunals required for ensuring their smooth functioning”, adding “though it was submitted before the Division Bench that posts have been created for both the Tribunals but where the process of making selection has struck is not known to anybody as Presiding Officers are still awaiting permanent staff”.
“Only few officials have been placed at the disposal of one Tribunal by making internal arrangement while as nobody is available with the second Tribunal”, sources said, adding “unless posts created for these Tribunals are filled-up none can expect full functioning of these important bodies”.
It is pertinent to mention here that Division Bench of High Court in its order dated March 14, 2017 had termed the compliance report filed by the Health and Medical Education Department as an eye-wash. It had even observed that budgetary allocation was not made to the Tribunals for the development of infrastructure.
“Due to the apathy of the Government, the objectives behind enactment of Food Safety and Standard Act could not be achieved despite lapse of 11 years”, sources remarked, adding “it is a matter of serious concern that Government is adopting dilly-dallying appr-oach in meeting the requirements of the Tribunals, which have an important role to play in food safety matters”.

Sweet manufacturing unit sealed at Barthana

A team of Food Safety Officers today conducted market inspection in various areas of the Srinagar city during which a sweets manufacturing unit was sealed and other food operators were recommended for prosecution.
The team headed by Assistant Commissioner Food Safety Srinagar today visited Maharaja Bazaar, Jawahar Nagar, Qamarwari, Barthana and its adjacent markets in the city and found some food establishments operating in total insanitary conditions. Accordingly, 14 such establishments were recommended for prosecution which included 7 meat selling shops.
“Moreover, one sweets manufacturing unit at Barthana was found operating in unhygienic conditions. It was said that the unit authorities were using rusted and damaged utensils in the preparation of sweets and within its premises harmful non-edible chemicals were also recovered. The unit was sealed for further investigation besides samples were lifted for analytical purpose,” a statement of the Food Safety Standard Department said.

Bali flags off 5 fully equipped Mobile Food Testing Labs

Out of these five mobile laboratories, two each will be deployed in Kashmir and Jammu Divisions and one will be deployed in Ladakh region.
In a significant move towards further strengthening the State Food & Drug Control Organization (F&DCO), the government has procured five fully equipped Mobile Food Testing Laboratories (Vans) with a cost of Rs. 31 lakh each. 
Out of these five mobile laboratories, two each will be deployed in Kashmir and Jammu Divisions and one will be deployed in Ladakh region.
Minister for Health & Medical Education, Bali Bhagat dedicated these mobile vans to the D&FCO, here today.
Speaking on the occasion, the minister said that it is endeavor of the government to ensure wholesome food articles to the people of Jammu and Kashmir for which the D&FCO, which is the regulatory authority for checking the menace of adulteration in the food articles, shall be strengthened and equipped with all modern gadgets. 
Congratulating the Controller D&FCO and her staff for having these facilities, the minister said that the mobile labs will help in reaching out to every corner of the state and undertaking spot testing of food articles. 
This will also help in generating greater awareness amongst the consumers about the safe food articles. He called for optimum use of the facilities to achieve the objective of providing quality food products to the consumers.
Maintaining that the D&FCO which has a very special and sensitive role to play, the minister said that the organization is not only representative of the government, but entire society is depending on it, therefore, every functionary must work with utmost responsiveness and honesty to maintain its credibility. 
He called for stepping up the awareness campaign through different mediums to educate the masses about the food safety standards.
Lotika Khajura briefed the minister about the features and benefits of the Mobile Food Testing Labs and said that the facility will help in ensuring stringent regulatory control across the state over food business operators dealing with processing and distribution of food articles in the market for mass consumption. 
She said the topography of Jammu and Kashmir badly required such facility to counter the challenges posed by the adulteration. This will help in restoring the public confidence, transparency and accountability among the empowered functionaries, she said.
Later, the minister also inspected the food and drug labs and interacted with the concerned functionaries.
 

KERALA

Stale food seized in hotel raids in Thrissur

Food Safety serves notices; raw meat, veggies under unhygienic state seized.
Stale food items seized from hotels in Thrissur on Friday during raids conducted by corporation health officials.
Thrissur: The Health inspectors of Thrissur Corporation on Friday conducted inspections for the second consecutive day to keep a check on food safety parameters in view of Thrissur Pooram. Like on the first day, they seized stale food from most of the hotels they raided. After officials found contaminated drinking water at Geetha Hotel at Divanjimoola, they issued a notice to shut down the hotel. Corporation health supervisor N Rajan said that action would be taken against the owner of Arabian Grills as workers of the hotel tried to turn off the lights of the hotel during inspection on Friday.
Notices were served for storing stale vegetarian and non-vegetarian food and also for preparing food items repeatedly with the same oil. The food inspectors also seized raw meat and vegetables which were kept under unhygienic conditions. The hotels which were served notices on Friday were Ladies Home and Hotel Kims at West Fort, Hotel Jaya, and Copper Spoon at MG Road. Hotel Melam, Hotel Abad Village, Hotel Makkani, Mist Vegetarian, Midhila Restaurant, Mint Malabar Restaurant, New Star Hotel, Hotel Spoon (Slex Mall), Park Hotel, Arunima Hotel, Noorjahan, Sansar Hotel, Hotel Rainbow and Thrissur Tower (Beer & Wine).
On Thursday, Hotel Radhakrishna, Casino, Pooram Hotel, Mahavir, Garuda, Revel Diet Hotel, KSRTC Canteen, Aramana Restaurant, Hotel Aliyans, Gusto Hotel, Uduppi Hotel, Paragon Tourist Home, Louciya Palace, Govind Bhavan , Jaya Palace and Sizzlers Hotel were served notices for not following Food Safety norms. “Fines starting from Rs 2,500 to 10,000 was imposed on hotels for violations and further action will be taken against them if they do not take corrective action in serving better food in the next five days,” Mr Rajan said.

 
The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) will soon start legal action against individuals and units who engage in the manufacturing and sale of food items without the mandatory food licence.
FSSAI assistant commissioner O. Sankaran Unni said they would be given time till May 15 to get the licence.
“If they fail to do so, they will be sentenced to six months in prison and fined Rs. 5 lakh,” he added.
ODISHA

Odisha Govt orders probe into sale of plastic eggs

Bhubaneswar :  Odisha government today asked Food Safety Commission officials to probe the alleged sale of plastic eggs in the markets of the state capital here.
“We have asked the Commissioner of Food Safety to collect samples of the alleged plastic eggs and get those tested in the laboratory,” Odisha Health and Family Welfare minister P K Amat told reporters here.
He said the government has taken note of media reports on the alleged sale of plastic eggs in the market. Food Safety Commissioner will check the truth behind such reports.
“Orders have been issued to immediately conduct a probe after collecting samples,” Amat said.
TAMILNADU

Artificial ripening of mangoes under lens

TRICHY: With the onset of summer, mangoes of all hues have started arriving in the market with most fruit and vegetable shops and even hawkers selling them. However, food safety department has warned of strict action against use of carbide stones for artificially ripening the fruit, a practice often resorted to.
Mangoes have been available in and around Trichy for the past two weeks. Since very few people manage to detect the use of artificial ripening agents, mangoes have been selling like hot cakes thanks to the scorching summer.
The food safety officials and health department of Trichy corporation had seized tonnes of artificially-ripened mangoes from godowns in previous years and destroyed them.
“Nobody can deny the prevalence of artificially ripened mangoes in the shops. Consumers can indeed differentiate between the naturally ripened mangoes and the artificial ones. But they are unable to identify them due to their ignorance. So, a huge responsibility lies on the food safety department to check the violation and save the people from health problems,” said president of Federation of Consumer and Service Organizations, Trichy, M Sekaran.
The district receives mango varieties from Natham in Dindigul district, Salem, Thiruthuraipoondi, Vedharanyam besides from Thurvarankurichi and Srirangam in the district. While the mangoes from farms in Srirangam are sold by a particular group of vendors in Mambalachalai, those from other places are available in other shops.
However, the vendors dismiss the allegations of using carbide stones. “Mangoes available in our shops are ripened in natural way with an intention to sell healthy fruit to the people,” said a vendor M Satheeshkumar. Food safety department has deputed three food safety officers (FSOs) to visit the godowns and shops to check the mangoes.
“We have started inspecting the g-downs and shops in our district. We have not found any trace of ripening through the carbide stones this year. If anyone has any health complaints due to the consumption of mangoes, he or she can report to the food safety department,” said designated officer, Trichy Dr C Sureshbabu on Thursday. Food safety department is planning to conduct a training programme for the vendors on alternate method of ripening through ethylene gas.
 

Whatsapp 9444042322 for all food safety grievances, said CEO, FSSAI in steering Committee Meeting

 
The steering Committee meeting of Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), an autonomous body established under the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India was convened at the District Collectorate, this morning. 
Pawan Kumar Agarwal, CEO of FSSAI presided the meeting in the presence of District Collector, TN Hariharan, Tamil Nadu FSSAI Commissioner Amudha, Corporation Commissioner DR. K. Vijayakarthikeyan, Dr.O.L.S.Vijay. Designated Officer,. Tamil Nadu Food Safety & Drug Administration Department and other concerned Officials. 
Addressing the officials, Pawan Kumar, CEO of FSSAI stated that, ‘The food safety and regulations is properly followed in Tamil Nadu as the state has the highest number of officials working under FSSAI. And, that Rs. 500 crores have been allotted for enhancing the standards of FSSAI across India. In Coimbatore, the Officials of FSSAI have created awareness programmes on food safety and sensitized people on their rights to consume clean food. Using 7 schools, 17 Colleges and 17 Private Food Outlets, close to 41 outreach programmes have been conducted. As proposed and suggested by few food private establishments, changes will be amended during the course of time’ 
People were asked to register their grievances on food safety and regulation at through Whatsapp. And also, those who would like to procure new licenses and renew existing FSSAI licence may visit the website http://www.fssai.gov.in. 

2 FSSAI testing labs in TN to be upgraded

Earlier, addressing the meeting, Agarwal said food safety regulations were strictly adhered to in Tamil Nadu, which has the highest number of officials in the department who maintain a high standard as far as food safety is concerned
The Centre has allocated Rs 500 crore to upgrade Food Testing Centres (Lab) across the country, CEO of food regulator FSSAI, Pawan Kumar Agarwal, said today.
Two labs in Tamil Nadu would be taken up for upgradation, he told reporters here on the sidelines of a steering committee meeting held at the District Collectorate.
The Centre had also decided to partner with 124 private testing labs, he said, adding that FSSAI would take efforts to incorporate some suggestions given by private players to the rule book.
Earlier, addressing the meeting, Agarwal said food safety regulations were strictly adhered to in Tamil Nadu, which has the highest number of officials in the department who maintain a high standard as far as food safety is concerned.
FSSAI was successful in sensitising the people in Tamil Nadu on their rights to good food, he said.
Collector T N Hariharan, Corporation Commissioner, Dr Vijayakarthikeyan, and FSSAI Tamil Nadu Commissioner, Amutha were among the officials participated in the meeting.

‘Water sold in bubble top containers has high chlorine level’

Bubble top water containers of 20 litres have once again come under the scanner of FSSAI as a few samples were found not conforming to standards. (Photo for illustrative purpose only).
The level in two samples was more than 300 ppm while permitted level is 2 ppm
Samples of 20 litre bubble top packaged water lifted from Coimbatore were tested ‘not conforming to standards’ in microbiological examinations conducted by Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) recently.
Food safety officials here said that the main deformity found in the samples was high presence of chlorine.
Of the ten samples collected and tested from Coimbatore, two have been found not conforming to standards even after two rounds of examination.
According to FSSAI officials, seven out of the ten samples collected were initially tested positive for inordinate presence of microbiological organisms and chlorine. The seven units were served closure notice. However, three units moved court and obtained permission to improve their standards.
FSSAI later allowed the remaining four units to open their plants and improve their quality.
“Samples were collected for a second time from the three units that approached court. However, two of them did not conform to standards,” said O.L.S. Vijay, designated officer, FSSAI, Coimbatore.
Mr. Vijay said that the chlorine level in the two samples tested in the second time was more than 300 ppm (parts per million) whereas the permitted level is 2 ppm.
According to food safety officials, the main reason for high presence of chlorine in the water was improper filtering during the bottling process. They said that the bottling units often compromised to change the membrane used for filtering raw water.
“The cost of the membrane ranges from Rs. 50,000 to Rs. 1 lakh. Hence bottling units use the membrane for a longer period which affects the filtering process. The membrane need to be changed at frequent intervals based on the volume of water filtered,” said a food safety official.
FSSAI is planning to conduct an education and awareness programme for bottling units selling drinking water in 20 litre bubble top containers.
“There are 74 units bottling and selling drinking water in 20 litre containers. They will be called for an awareness session covering all aspects of the filtration and bottling process,” said Mr. Vijay.

250 litres of oil seized

About 250 litres of edible oil that was not sold in sealed packets were seized by officials of the Tamil Nadu Food Safety and Drug Administration Department here on Thursday.
Based on complaints, a team led by T. Anuradha, District Designated Officer, and food safety officials inspected two oil shops and one grocery shops in Kalarampatti, Karungalpatti and Kondalampatti and found edible oil sold in containers. Officials said that as per the Food Safety and Standards (Prohibition and Restrictions on Sales) Regulations, 2011, edible oil has to be sold in sealed packets. Officials seized the oil and destroyed it. Shopkeepers were asked to sell the oil only in packets.
On Wednesday, the team inspected a godown on Longley Road and found 2,000 kg of green coloured fennel seeds kept in stock for sales. Officials said that non-permitted green colour is used for colouring the seeds which is banned as per the act. Sample was taken and sent to Food Laboratory in Guindy. The gunny bags were sealed in the godown.

UTTAR PRADESH

FSSAI to tighten vigil on meat shop owners bending rules

AGRA: In an attempt to easily obtain licences for selling meat, many meat shop owners across UP are now obtaining Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) registration from its common service centres without taking NOCs from civic bodies and police. FSSAI will now conduct an inspection and suspend such licences.
Vineet Yadav, assistant commissioner, Food Safety and Drug Administration(FSDA), Agra, said, “There is a provision for issuing licences to big slaughter houses and registration to small meat vendors.”
According to rules for registration, vendors can apply online and submit documents to departments concerned and obtain the certificate. Food safety officers are eligible to approve such registrations. Besides that, FSSAI has provided another facility of common service centres where applicants can obtain a registration certificate immediately.
The department recently came to know that many vendors were queuing up at the service centres and obtaining registration certificates without submitting requisite NOCs from the civic bodies and police. Hence, it has tightened vigil and is planning to conduct an inspection of the certificates.
“Now, rules for sale of meat are being strictly implemented and vendors cannot run their business without fulfilling the requisite norms,” he added. “We are reviewing all such registrations. Food safety officers will conduct inspections and check their documents. Registration will be suspended of those vendors who have got it without submitting the necessary documents,” he further added.

RTI: 1,707 abattoirs registered under FSSA; most in Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra

 
Uttar Pradesh, in news recently over closure of illegal slaughterhouses, has only 58 which are registered under the Act.
A query under the Right to Information has revealed that only 1,707 slaughterhouses in the country are registered under the Food Safety and Standards Act (FSSA), 2006.
There are no abattoirs registered under the 2006 Act in Arunachal Pradesh, Chandigarh, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim and Tripura. Further, these states/Union Territories do not have a single slaughterhouse which has a license issued by either the state or the Central authority.

Uttar Pradesh, where the BJP government is clamping down on illegal slaughterhouses, is not in the top three states where the highest number of slaughterhouses registered under FSSA are located.

These top three states are Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra.
Chandrashekhar Gaud, an RTI activist, obtained this information under RTI from the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI).
“These figures show that there are large number of illegal slaughterhouses in the country,” he said.
FSSAI data showed that Tamil Nadu has the highest number of slaughterhouses registered under the Act (425), followed by Madhya Pradesh (262) and Maharashtra (249).
In other words, 55 per cent of abattoirs registered under FSSA are located in these three states.
Uttar Pradesh, in news recently over closure of illegal slaughterhouses, has only 58 which are registered under the Act.
Meanwhile, People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) in a press release here has said that there are an estimated 30,000 unlicensed slaughterhouses in the country.
Leather industry has no system in place to ensure that the skins used as raw material are not sourced from illegal slaughterhouses, it said, and appealed for closure of all unlicensed slaughterhouses.

Meat shop prohibition around mosques too: FSDA

 
BAREILLY: One of the 17 points in the guideline issued by the Uttar Pradeshgovernment to meat sellers mentions that such shops are prohibited within a 50-metre radius of religious places and should be at least 100 metres from the main entrance of these places. Food Safety and Drugs Administration (FSDA) department officials have now clarified that a ‘religious place’ includes a mosque as well. The restriction is despite the fact that caretakers of mosques have not objected to meat shops in the vicinity.
The designated officer of FSDA for Bareilly, Mamta Kumari, said that as a mosque was also a religious place, following the directions issued by the government no one would be given licence to run a meat shop near any mosque. This rule, she said, would be enforced even if mosque caretakers had given permission to the shops to be run in the area.
“Approximately 1,340 persons have submitted the licence fee at government treasury so far to run meat shops while several hundred are still in queue. Among them around 250 applicants have shops near mosques. All of them have brought no-objection letters from the respective caretakers of the mosques. However, unless the government decides otherwise, these people can’t be issued licences,” Kumari said.
Members of a social service organisation, Aman Committee, have met FSDA officials seeking relaxation of this rule. They have also said that there were several examples from the city of meat shops running in rooms given on rent by mosques.
Responding to them, FSDA officials clarified that any change in the rule could come only from the government and they were authorized only to execute instructions, not make changes in them.

Qadir Ahmed, member of Aman Committee, said, “It is quite unfair to prohibit one from running a meat shop close to a mosque. Like someone running a dairy shop near a temple, it is not considered objectionable to run a meat shop near a mosque. Moreover, if the locals as well as the caretaker of the mosque don’t have any objection to the meat shop, there should be no hurdle to issuing licence to the applicant.”

Meanwhile, the FSDA officials also clarified that there was no restriction to transporting meat in bulk for weddings. One can purchase as much meat as required from a slaughterhouse after taking prior permission from the department, officials said.
 
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