Officials keen on ensuring purity of packaged water


Amid unmet demand for packaged drinking water due to the supply mismatch during the COVID -19 lockdown, Food Safety Department is on its toes to curb malpractices by manufacturers and distributors.

Designated Officers for Food Safety have been personally monitoring the random tests conducted by Food Safety Officers.

At one such test conducted in Pudukottai district on Saturday, some retailers of packaged drinking water in Ganesh Nagar limits were found to have indulged in malpractices, emboldened by the ignorance of the customers about checking the sealing of the containers.

R. Ramesh Babu, Designated Officer for Food Safety, Pudukkottai district, said some distributors were found to have filled the 20-litre containers with untreated water using funnels. Samples were taken for lab test, and a case under Section 58 in The Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006, was registered, Dr. Ramesh Babu said. Under the Section, the offender will be liable to a penalty which may extend to two lakh rupees.

According to officials, the onus was on the retail sellers who are the contact point for the consumers ought to be aware enough to detect malpractices. At the manufacturing end also, checks are being conducted to determine compliance with microbial requirements.

During such checks, officials determine the purity of the source water used for packaging after tests for colour, odour, taste, turbidity, pH, total dissolved solids, microbiological and chemical requirements including toxic elements and pesticides residues and radioactive residues.

The quality of packaged drinking water has to be regularly assessed, at least once in three months through in-house testing.

The main challenge of the Food Safety Department is in prevention of microbiological contamination of water, according to field-level officials. Infectious microorganisms such as shigella, E. coli, vibrio, salmonella, and coliform can cause contamination and result in nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea and stomach cramps, they explained.

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Printable version | Jul 7, 2020 12:49:41 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Tiruchirapalli/officials-keen-on-ensuring-purity-of-packaged-water/article31780493.ece

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