Raid conducted in several areas based on residents’ complaints; rotten meat also found
Expired food products of more than 60 brands were seized on Thursday, by the Chennai Corporation and the Food Safety Department.
Samples of the products have been sent to a laboratory for testing, and notices will be issued to the food-business operators based on the reports.
The seized products were on sale in shops that were raided in areas such as Purasawalkam and Chintadripet.
Some of the spoilt food products include branded biscuits, sweets, dates, oats, packed wheat flour, semolina, health mixes, baking powder, herbal mixes, chola masala, pepper sauce, garam masala, chilli sauce, asafoetida, packed natural fruit juice, appam powder, rasam powder and sambar powder.
“The raids were conducted based on complaints from people who had gone shopping. Many of the products were mislabelled. We have also warned several shop owners,” said S. Lakshmi Narayan, Chennai’s district food safety officer.
Over two tonnes of meat sourced from rotting carcasses were also seized in Chintadripet.
The Corporation has registered a complaint with the police against the shop owners who are continuing to sell rotten meat despite a city-wide crackdown. The civic body also sealed the shops.
According to officials who conducted the raids, more than half of the food products in a departmental store in Purasawalkam did not even have a batch number.
Also, the shop owner had not registered under the provisions of the Food Safety and Standards Act 2006 that came into force on August 5, 2011.
Licenses issued to traders under the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act of 1954 expired in March last year, but many businesses are still not aware that they need to acquire fresh licenses under the new Act.
The Corporation issues trade licences to such food-business operators, while their registration is carried out by the food safety department.
All food-business operators have been asked to get a licence from the food safety department by February 4, 2013, an extension from the earlier deadline of August 4, 2012.
However, many of the 12,500 operators in the city are yet to obtain licences.
Similarly, a chunk of the 7,500 small food-business operators do not have registration certificates.
Complaints pertaining to unhygienic food products can be made to the Food Safety Department through the Corporation’s toll-free helpline, 1913.