As many as 130 samples out of the total 289 collected by the Food Safety and Drugs Administration (FSDA) over the past nine months have failed tests at a laboratory in Lucknow. The samples were collected from April to December last year.
The results imply that as many as 44.9% samples had failed tests in the past nine months. However, the FSDA authorities got richer as they collected Rs 13.90 lakh as fine from 33 defaulters.
JP Singh, chief food safety officer, said, “The FSDA maintains a record of samples of every financial year. From April to December last year, we conducted as many as 1,019 inspections during which our team collected 289 samples. Once the samples are found to be substandard or unfit for consumption, a period of one month is given to the defaulters – in case anyone asks for a re-analysis. After a period of one month, the file is sent to Lucknow to seek permission to file a case. We found that 130 samples had failed the test.”
Of the total 130 defaulters from whom samples were collected, cases have been registered against 118 and one has been punished.
“Out of the 130 failed edible items, 91 were found to be substandard, 13 were unsafe and 26 violated the norms of preparation of food items,” said Singh.
While the maximum samples that failed the test were that of milk – with collected samples being 69 and failed samples being 18, the least number of samples that failed the test were that of sweets (other than milk-made sweets) – with collected samples being 13 and only one failed sample.
When Singh was asked whether the huge number of failed samples pointed out at the incompetency of bringing wrong-doers under the scanner, he added, “The huge number of failed samples is an indication that the defaulters concerned will now think twice before selling adulterated food. This does not mark incompetency; rather it points out the fact that we have been able to bring these defaulters to public notice.”
The FSDA department conducts anti-adulteration drives on a monthly basis and on festive occasions to ensure that edible items being sold by shops are for consumption and not substandard.