Mumbai: As per data provided by the Union Health and Family Welfare Ministry, in the last three years, cases of food adulterations and spurious chemicals products have increased drastically across Maharashtra.
A senior official said that food adulteration cases have doubled from 1162 in 2015 to 2529 in 2017 and Maharashtra currently ranked second after Uttar Pradesh in registering food adulteration cases in 2016-17, but none of the accused in the 1,256 cases were convicted,
In 2016-17, the state collected 10,716 food samples and analysed 10,030 of them. Of these 2,529 were found to be adulterated. Maharashtra was second only to UP, which collected and analysed, 19,755 and 13,567 samples, respectively, of which 5,663 were found to be adulterated.
The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has guidelines prescribing maximum limit of chemicals such as preservatives, additives, including permitted colours, that can be present in the food. These guidelines are set as per the Food Safety and Standards (Food Products Standards and Food Additives) Regulations, 2011.
A senior official said maximum cases of adulteration was found to be of packaged food products, milk, and other consumables meant for human consumption.
“It is strange as no one was convicted in 2016-17 compared to 75 and 24 who were convicted in 2014-15 and 2015-16 respectively. They all had to face legal action for selling and marketing adulterated food items,” said RPY Rao, president, Society for Awareness of Civil Rights.
He added there is a fault in the adjudication process of Foods and Drug Administration (FDA) Maharashtra due to which such cases are pending and no one is convicted. “But against the norms, in Maharashtra, the adjudication process is headed by four joint commissioners who are not fit to hold legal proceedings. Although the state has collected more than Rs 1 crore in fines, the total cost of efforts and time invested by employees is much more than that,” said Rao.
Health experts said adulterated food products or milk harm children’s metabolism owing to the chemical agents added to it as preservatives.
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