FDA to keep close watch on food items this festive season

Mumbai: Beginning Monday, Mumbai Food and Drug Administration has planned to launch a special drive against adulteration of food and prasad during the upcoming Ganpati festival.

A senior official said that they would also collect food samples from various sweet vendors and eateries near the Ganpati mandals for testing and will also educate Ganpati mandals on food hygiene and safety measures through a workshop.

“All the seven divisional commissioners — Mumbai, Thane, Amravati, Pune, Nagpur, Nashik and Aurangabad -- have been asked to reach out to the mandals. With the help of FDA's district officials, they will be connecting with the Ganpati mandals,” said an official.

According to FDA, during the Ganesh festival, followed by Navaratri and Diwali, there are possibilities of manufacturing, sale and distribution of adulterated edible items and oils.

“Strict action would be taken against those found involved in adulteration and also against the officers who are negligent during the drive,” he added.

Last year, FDA had conducted a workshop for the food vendors who sell sweets near Ganpati mandals and for the members of the mandals to make them aware of the safety and hygiene measures.

Sweets are purchased in huge quantities during the Ganesh festival every year which has prompted the FDA to collect samples from various shops to keep a check on the adulteration during the festival.

Raw food items like oil, ghee, mawa used in preparing sweets like barfi, ladoo and such items are inspected by the FDA in surprise visits. “During the festival season, we usually conduct surprise checks as part of regular adulteration drive.

The members of Ganpati mandals are roped in to create awareness and take precautionary measures. A regular check will also be conducted during the festival,” said Dr Pallavi Darade, FDA commissioner.

“All the members, sweet and fruit vendors in our area attend this workshop, which helps them understand various safety measures and how to maintain quality and hygiene while preparing sweets,” said Sagar Gupta, vice-president, Lalabaugh Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Mandal.

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