Within the next month, the state will decide whether to make ISO 14000 certification mandatory for all packaged food products sold in the state.
The move, said Maharashtra Minister for Food and Drugs Mohammed Arif Khan, is to curb increasing adulteration of packaged food by making producing and processing units adopt safety and quality assurance measures.
The decision would apply to products that are produced or packaged outside Maharashtra too.
Khan has directed officials of the Food and Drug Authority to work out the modalities for making the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) certification compulsory.
“No packaged food without ISO certification will be allowed to be put up for sale,” he said. “We find so many adulterated products on sale. Manufacturers use banned ingredients to make the product attractive.”
Banned ingredients include toxic colourants like Metanil yellow, used in sweetmeats, and ultramarine blue dye, used to make puffed rice look whiter.
Khan has directed zonal deputy commissioners of the Food and Drugs Department to conduct raids on retailers and manufacturers and penalise those guilty of adulteration.
To make these raids transparent, officials have been instructed to destroy adulterated products in the presence of the media and non-governmental organisations, but not before sending adulterated samples for chemical analysis.