Bitter Diwali? Spurious mawa threat hangs over festival of lights

Mumbai: On the occasion of Diwali, citizens have to beware of buying cheap mawa from markets this week. City-based activists have written a letter to the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA), Mumbai, stating that over 15 tons of spurious mawa, has been distributed in the sweets market across the state including Mumbai.

The activists said that before Diwali, since the last two years, around 40 trucks of mawa has been transported from Gujarat to Maharashtra. “The mawa is made using vegetable oil, milk powder and sugar while the normal mawa is made from milk fats,” said RPY Rao, President of Society for Social Awareness of Civil Rights, an NGO that works in the field of public health.

The letter claimed that since the last two years, the illegal racket of spurious mawa has been running without any hurdle between Maharashtra and Gujarat. “We have sent this letter to Girish Bapat, FDA and Devendra Fadnavis, Chief Minister,” added Rao.

Rao added that the mawa is distributed at Thane, Ghatkopar, Kurla and Mumbai Central from where it is put in molds and shaped into barfis or pedhas. “After being packaged in unknown brand names, the 5kg and 10kg packets of the mawa, barfi and pedha are sold at almost half the market rate. I have urged the minister and chief minister to carry out an inquiry with the help of vigilance commissioner of FDA to bust the racket,” Rao said.

“Both the states are aware of the issue but no action has been taken since two years. The officials should not wait for a tragedy like mass food poisoning to take action,” Rai added. Pallavi Darade, FDA commissioner of Maharashtra said that she has not received any such notification till date. “I will definitely find out the issue but I have not received any such letter,” said Darade.

However, a letter by Food Safety Standards Authority  of India (FSSAI), addressed to Dr H G Koshia, Food Safety Commissioner Gujarat and Dr H S Kamble, Commissioner of Food Safety Maharashtra has already directed both the states to initiate necessary action on a complaint filed by Rao on spurious burfi (10 kg pack) being sold as mawa.

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