Food safety authorities in Delhi are putting many more popular packaged snacks — including various brands of chips and Kurkure — under the microscope while Maggi will stay off shelves till June 30 at least with the Bombay high court giving no direction to lift the ban on the instant noodles.
The capital’s department of food safety outlined a detailed plan to test food items over the next eight weeks. “In the past three days itself we have collected 32 samples of popular brands of chips, Kurkure and baby food for testing… We will pick up more in the days to come,” said KK Jindal, city food safety commissioner. The report for this batch is expected in a week’s time.
Other brands of instant noodles, pasta and macaroni have already been picked up for testing under a June 8 directive of the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI). Health supplements, energy drinks and imported packaged foods are also being tested.
“We are most concerned about what children are eating as even traces of toxins in food and drink can poison their bodies over time. Heavy metals may not have an immediate effect but can cause damage to vital organs in the long run,” said Jindal.
Over the last few days, the average number of food safety-related complaints made daily has doubled, with 50% of them being ‘bogus’. Complaints about adulterated milk are the most common. “People call and say the milkman mixes urea or detergent in milk but when we test it, we don’t find these adulterants. In most cases, the milk quality is found to be sub-standard, with most loose milk samples found to be diluted with water,” said Jindal.
In Mumbai, there was some relief for Nestle India with the high court ordering central and state food safety authorities not to take any further action against the company or its officials without giving 72 hours’ notice. It also asked FSSAI to defer proceedings undertaken for the withdrawal of product approval for nine variants of Maggi, posting the matter for further hearing on June 30.
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