Mumbai : The flying squads of the food and drug administration (FDA) are empowered enough to curb milk adulteration and the State government is also working on forming more stringent rules and regulation in this regard, minister for food and civil supplies Girish Bapat informed the Legislative Assembly here on Monday.
Replying to questions regarding recent raids conducted at a milk collection centre at Pandharpur and the chemicals seized thereof, the minister made it clear that the State government has a clear stand over adulteration of milk and has even been fighting case in the supreme court to be able to act against accused in such cases under article 328 of Indian penal code i.e. to classify such an offence as ‘non bailable’.
Last year, the administration tested 1,253 specimens of milk for adulteration of which 833 passed the tests and in 93 cases reports are awaited.
In 48 raids conducted by the flying squad 55 persons were arrested and in all surprise checks were conducted on 539 milk tankers, the minister informed the house.
Former deputy chief minister and senior NCP leader Ajit Pawar said that the previous government in the state had brought in a new harsher legislation to curb adulterations which is pending with the President and urged the State government to follow the issue with the President’s office.
While, leader of opposition Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil said that the FDA is devoid of adequate staff and demanded that adequate human resources be made available to the department as early as possible to be able to effectively contain the problem.
Replying to the supplementary questions Bapat said that though the Union Government already has legislation in place to tackle the issue, the centre has asked the states to form their own rules and regulations that would suit the local conditions so that the legislation can be effectively implemented and the State government has formed a committee under FDA commissioner to form rules and regulations in this regard.
While elaborating on the issue of human resources, the minister said that the flying squads of the FDA have been adequately empowered and are doing good job in direction of curbing the adulterations. The squads are also getting good cooperation even from the police department, he added.
The minister also made it clear that the issue regarding inclusion of dairy development officials in the squad too is under consideration and would be upon soon.
In reply to another question, the minister said that the checks conducted on Jhonson and Jhonson’s products were part of precautionary measures.
FDA collected 14 specimens from Mumbai and Thane region at the end of March 2016 of which the reports have been received for 11 specimens. Johnson and Johnson’s Baby powder was found to comply to all the standards and hence no further action was taken in this regard, he said.