The Srinagar municipal corporation (SMC) on Wednesday upped its ante against unsafe and substandard food items after two samples belonging to some of the big brands of the valley failed quality tests.
Sleuths of the SMC inspected several shops to lift a particular batch of Kanwal Saunf (fennel) powder from the market. The move has come in the wake of the Central Food Laboratory, Kolkata, confirming traces of colouring agents like Carmoisine and Tartrazine.
“Carmoisine and Tartrazine cause serious health hazards including cancer. The general public is cautioned to immediately refrain from their use,” said SMC health officer Dr Shafqat Khan.
Kanwal Saunf powder is manufactured by Kanwal Agro Food Industries, Anantnag- the Valley’s leading brand that exports to more than 20 countries. The chemicals found in Kanwal’s food item are banned in almost all the developed countries. The SMC has decided to remove the entire batch from the market.
However, Kanwal said the claims of the SMC officials were “hollow” and “an attempt to malign the image and credibility of the company”.
“We have initiated a legal action against the health officer concerned as neither any standard operating procedure, nor the rules and regulations laid down in the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006, were followed,” said a company statement.
In another sensational disclosure, the SMC found traces of detergents in Khyber milk, manufactured by Khyber Agro Farms.
“The milk sample lifted is completely unsafe and unfit for human consumption,” said an SMC official.
Kashmir is flooded with spurious and sub-standard food items. This year only, the SMC lifted 58 samples of turmeric from the market, of which six samples failed the quality test, four were sub-standard, and one was reported unsafe.
Six samples, including a sample from Shan Chappali Kabab Masala, manufactured by Shan Food Products Pvt Ltd in Karachi’s Korangi industrial area, were found sub-standard in October.
The state High Court, which is hearing a petition on poor quality food products being sold in the open market, has directed SMC to increase the number of samples put through quality test every month. An action report is also to be submitted to the court in this regard.