The Food Safety and Drug Administration Department with support from non-governmental organisations, has intensified its efforts to ensure that residents have access to healthy food.

On Saturday, master chefs from hotel kitchens and workers of food business operators participated in a training session that focussed on the preparation and sale of hygienic, healthy food. Data collected through legal sampling has revealed the urgent need to focus on hygiene, when it comes to making food in the city.

As a number of complaints have been received about the quality of packaged drinking water in the city, the department has also collected samples from over 45 drinking water bottling plants in the district. The results will be ready in a few days. Most of the bottling plants are in Kancheepuram and Tiruvallur districts, officials said.

Complaints about unhygienic food and drinking water in a number of hotels have also been bothering the food safety department. However, since most consumers fail to register their complaints to the authorities concerned, the department has decided to intensify its education and awareness drive.

The education and awareness programme by the food safety department will continue for one more year. Over 22,000 food business operators are in the district, and a chunk of them are yet to get their licences from the department and complete registration procedures.

Licenses issued to traders under the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act of 1954 have already expired, but the deadline to get new ones has now been extended.

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India was established under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 to lay down scientific standards for food products and to regulate their manufacture, sale and import.

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