The state high court on Monday asked three top food brands of the Valley to deposit Rs 10 crore each before a hospital after the state authorities found their food items unsafe and hazardous for human consumption recently.
A division bench, which heard a public interest litigation filed by Sheikh Ayub on the implementation of the Food Safety Act, 2006, asked the three brands - including Valley's two big brands- Kanwal and Khyber- to deposit Rs 10 crore before the Sher-i-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS).
The court's direction has come after a public outcry triggered by the recent revelations that these companies were using banned and hazardous agents in their products.
The SMC authorities, who had picked a sample of fennel powder of Kanwal brand in November, claimed that the fennel batch contained banned colouring agents Carmoisine, Tartrazine and Sunset Yellow, which can cause cancer. The presence of hazardous agents was confirmed by the central lab in Kolkata.
Similarly, the food and drug department found traces of detergents in milk products of the Valley's top brand Khyber.
Another Delhi-based spice unit, Avon Agro Greenz, New Delhi, which manufactures turmeric power, was found to use banned tartrazine as colouring agent.
The directive has come as a major embarrassment to corporate sector of the state. Both the Valley-based corporate houses have denied using any hazardous agents in their products, and have threatened to move the court against the authorities for damaging their brand image.