Food safety dept. begins crackdown on unhygienic products sold in commercial outlets
A team of officials from the food safety and drug administration department seized 200 bottles of misbranded soft drinks and 1,875 unhygienic water and buttermilk sachets on Wednesday.
The raid was part of the department’s attempt to crackdown on all kinds of spurious beverages, which generally surface in large numbers in the summer.
The items were seized from various shops in areas such as T. Nagar and Teynampet.
According to officials, the raids will be held in other areas of the city on Thursday, as several complaints have been received by the food safety department regarding spurious drinks.
“Many of the retail outlets in the city have been found selling spurious soft drinks. More raids will follow to identify the source of such beverages,” said an official.
“During the raids we observed that even the 20-litre drinking water cans are unfit for consumption. Such water is being supplied at affordable rates of Rs. 10 in some commercial areas and is used by many food business operators such as fruit juice outlets. We will organise another raid to prevent the sale of such cans soon,” the official added.
Officials said the spurt in water-borne diseases, seen during the summer months, is usually caused by consumption of such unhygienic water and beverages.
Earlier, the Chennai Corporation was tasked with seizing unhygienic drinking water, fruit juice and buttermilk sachets from the city’s retail outlets.
Under the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954, the civic body had to take action against all retail sellers and manufacturers if the results of their analyses reveal any contamination in any of the food or beverage samples seized.
After the Food Safety and Standards Act 2006 came into force on August 5, 2011, licenses issued to traders under the 1954 act expired. Action against traders selling spurious soft drinks will now be taken as per the provisions of the Food Safety Act.
However, many food businesses are still not aware that they need to acquire fresh licenses under the new Act. The task of issuing licenses is yet to be completed on account of resistance from most traders.
Food safety officers, whose responsibility it is to inspect outlets and look into complaints, are now focussing on information, education and communication campaigns.