Think twice before going for chowmein or your favourite burger bite!
Food adulterators are fast changing their course to dodge the authorities. From edible oil, ghee, khoya and other milk products, they are now targeting the fast food business - putting the lives of unsuspecting citizens at great risk.
Two recent raids in the city by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have established sauces and noodles as the latest baits.
FDA official RM Prem admits, "Yes there is a change in the modus operandi. The fake noodle and sauce business is a challenge but the objective is to check and stop all kinds of adulteration in the city." DM Anil Kumar Sagar has also taken the recent trend seriously. "We’re mulling slapping of Gangster Act against those found guilty."
On Saturday, the FDA busted a sauce factory at Shiv Vihar colony in Vikas Nagar. "The Nagar Nigam license for noodle manufacturing had expired. And in the garb of that expired license, adulterated chilli, tomato and soya sauces were being manufactured and sold," said Prem. The factory owner used various harmful chemicals, besides rotten tomato, carrot, potato, and cucumber pulps for manufacturing the sauces.
The officials, who seized the stock, ready for sale, sealed the unit and sent samples of the material being used for lab testing at PAL, said, "The sauces were being sold to various fast food outlets across the city for Rs 14 per kg. There was no food processing order (FPO). You can imagine the quality and its toll on people's health."
"The processing unit was misusing the license issued to it. If the samples test positive for adulteration, we're mulling slapping of Gangster Act against the culprits," said Prem.
On May 7, too, the FDA raided Akansha Food Products on Mohan Road, a unit allegedly involved in manufacturing of tomato and chilli sauces. The team collected five samples from the unit and sent to the Public Analyst Lab for testing
Prof Sunita Tiwari, head of physiology department at CSM Medical University, said, "Any toxic element going in to the body passes through the vital organs such as kidney and liver. Consumption of products like adulterated sauces has a direct and adverse impact on these organs."
The FDA has for long been raiding prominent food markets of the city and collecting samples of milk, ghee (clarified butter) and khoya (ricotta cheese), but no significant accused has so far been arrested. The new trend targeting the fast food business is now posing a new challenge. Now, the FDA is finding out the racket’s links across the city and beyond.