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City does not have lab to test seized samples

Collecting sweet samples for checking food adulteration by the health department seems be an eyewash as the residents fear that the damage would be done by the time the adulteration is detected.

india Updated: Oct 07, 2011 00:55 IST
Divya Sethi

Collecting sweet samples for checking food adulteration by the health department seems be an eyewash as the residents fear that the damage would be done by the time the adulteration is detected.

In the absence of any laboratory in the city, the samples are to be tested in Chandigarh. By the time the test results come, the festival season would be over.

Even as the health department officials are yet to collect a sample from the market, the residents worry that the strategy to keep a tab on adulterated sweets during festivals will not serve any purpose. Moreover, the only food inspector deployed to carry out the drive is on leave.

Every year, demand for sweets and other milk products increase manifold during this period and many shopkeepers sell adulterated food items in the market.

But residents say that the health department is least bothered about it.

“If now they would start collecting samples then what purpose would it serve? Shopkeepers would be able to sell it and consumers would consume it and after that who would be interested in knowing that whether sweets were adulterated,” said Pranjal Jain, a resident of Sector 14.

Manisha Narula, a resident of Jalvayu Towers, said that the department should have started conducting surprise raids from last month.

“Now it would be only a formality just to prove that we did something,” he said. The health department expressed its inability in becoming proactive, saying, “We cannot change the system. Our duty is to collect the samples and send the same for testing. But we cannot do anything about how many days a lab takes to test the sample.”

“We at our level cannot change the system," chief medical officer Praveen Garg said, adding, "as soon as our food inspector resumes duty we would start collecting samples."