The Tiruchirapalli City Corporation will soon organise training on food safety and hygiene for members of the community groups formed in the city, said Corporation Commissioner V.P. Thandapani here on Thursday.
Although the Food Safety and Standards Act was enacted a few years ago, the law’s impact had not been felt much owing to opposition from some sections and lack of awareness on safety of food products. The World Heath Organisation too laid much emphasis on food safety.
It was essential that people were sensitised on the need for prevention of adulteration in food products and ensuring hygiene. The corporation has formed community groups to take up maintenance of public toilets and other assets. Training programmes on food safety will be organised for members of these groups in association with the CONCERT Trust, a voluntary organisation, he said speaking at the valediction of State-level training programme on Detection of Adulteration in Food, jointly organised by the CONCERT Trust and Union Ministry of Consumer Affairs. R. Santhanam, former Secretary, Consumer Protection, said in a developing country such as India with low per capita income, people looked at only the price and not the quality. Even the affluent were done in by attractive packaging and pricing and consider it below their dignity to enquire about the quality of products. There were several ways to check adulteration of food but people were not aware of them.
Although the country had several good laws to prevent adulteration in food, the latest being the Food Safety and Standards Act, enforcement was not effective. However, laws alone would not be enough to check adulteration and it was imperative to raise awareness among the people. Absence of information, rather than technology, was a constraint to check adulteration. The CONCERT Trust had conducted the training in three phases and in 2011-12 the training was held in 39 places in 13 districts. Over 1,192 women benefitted by the programme. They were exposed to various aspects of checking food adulteration. Participants detected adulteration in 151 food products during the training and identified 152 labels which were defective as per rules. The matter was taken up by the Food Safety Commissioner and Controller of Legal Metrology who had initiated action. Best trainees were honoured during the valediction. A photo exhibition on food safety was held. Consumers were informed that they could use the trust helpline by dialling 044-66334346 to lodge complaints. R. Desikan, chairman, CONCERT Trust, and G. Santhanarajan, Director, Foods, CONCERT Trust, spoke.