Seize ‘imported' and ‘export category' products; probe on to find ‘supply route'

Acting on a tip-off, a team of Food Safety officers raided a confectionary shop here on Tuesday and seized sub-standard chocolates and other products which were procured locally but sold as ‘export quality items.'

It was alleged that the shop on Munichalai Main Road has been selling ‘duplicate products' such as chocolates, dates, almonds and pistachios. Expiry date labels were also found to be printed locally. Officials have swung into action to trace all those who are involved in cheating the public.

J. Suguna, the Designated Officer for Food Safety and Standards, Madurai district, told The Hindu that chocolates worth about Rs.50,000 were seized and samples sent to the Food Laboratory near the Collectorate.

The food safety team had found that people had been duped by selling local products as ‘imported' and ‘export category' items. “We have conducted the raid after a complaint was lodged at the Collector's office. It was forwarded to us and we acted immediately,” Dr. Suguna said.

The investigation will continue till the ‘supply route' was traced. Particulars of suspects were being gathered. Strict vigilance was being ensured under the Food Safety and Standards Act. The places where packing was done for chocolates would be checked. “It was shocking to know that this particular shop was making local purchases but packing them attractively to sell them as imported items or export quality items. We will not allow such things to recur,” the officer said.

Officials said that the different expiry date label on chocolate packets was indicating that they were duplicate. “Usually, it will be mentioned as “best before six months or one year.” But, here it was mentioned with different dates.

Five Food Safety Officers conducted the raid at the Munichalai shop where the shop's name was also not displayed on board.