Tamil Nadu

Spoilt jaggery gifted despite specific alert

A sizeable quantity of the jaggery distributed to the people as part of the Pongal gift hampers by the Tamil Nadu government was spoilt, forcing the authorities to return it to the suppliers.

Enquiries made by The Hindu revealed that the Collectors were forewarned of adulterated jaggery being made in the market. Instructions were given to advise jaggery manufacturers to install Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) cameras, with adequate storage capacity, on their premises to prevent adulteration by addition of unapproved or harmful colouring agents or chemicals that could pose a health hazard.

In an advisory to all the Collectors on November 29, 2021, P. Senthil Kumar, Commissioner, Food Safety & Drug Administration, said several complaints were received on the sale of adulterated jaggery in the market. Referring to the specifications prescribed in the Food Safety and Standards (Food Products Standards and Food Additives) Regulation, 2011, for the making of jaggery, he said there were reports of jaggery being adulterated with sugar and other chemicals.

The cane jaggery or cane ‘gur’ was adulterated with maida, sugar, superphosphate, sodium bi-carbonate, calcium carbonate, artificial colouring agents and sodium hydro-sulphate.

“The unadulterated jaggery is normally dark brown in colour, but the adulterated jaggery is light brown or deep yellow or pale yellow or orange in colour... Members of the public, due to lack of awareness, think yellow/orange-coloured jaggery is better than the brown-coloured one. These have been prepared with harmful colouring agents,” he said.

Since the manufacturers claimed they were producing attractively coloured jaggery based on market demand, there was a need to sensitise people to the dangers of adulterated jaggery. To curtail such adulterants, a State-level monitoring committee, comprising senior officials, was formed in February 2021. The committee convened a meeting of stakeholders four months later to prevent adulteration in jaggery. The Collectors were told to educate the people on identifying adulterated jaggery and to share a WhatsApp number for filing complaints in case they came across adulterated jaggery.

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Printable version | May 24, 2022 4:47:12 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/spoilt-jaggery-gifted-despite-specific-alert/article38305319.ece