The state Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has sent a Rs.800 crore proposal to the state government for the upgradation of food and drug testing laboratories, said state FDA commissioner, Mahesh Zagade on Friday.
The FDA wants to test food and drug samples collected from various sites within 14 days, which is in accordance with the law.
“We have submitted a proposal to strengthen our laboratories and start 37 mobile vans in the state to test food samples. This will be a great challenge for us,” said Zagade.
Last year, the FDA had collected 4,751 food samples from eateries, food manufacturers and distributors from across the state during 9,644 inspections. Of these, the FDA has filed criminal complaints in 677 cases with 11 cases of imprisonment and fine.
In August last year, the Food Safety and Standards Act (FSSA) was implemented in the country following which FDAs across all states were given a year to convert the local civic body food licenses into those issued under the FSSA.
“We have issued more than 16,000 food licenses in the state and collected Rs36 crores in the process. This is more than the number of licenses put together all over the country. Only 37,000 odd licenses have been issued outside Maharashtra,” said Zagade.
Zagade said consumers should insist on eating or buying only from licensed establishments outlets. “Customers barely come forward to complain to the FDA. We want them to report wrongdoings,” said Zagade.
The FDA is also cracking down on people selling “herbal tea” that is supposed to help lose weight and has sent notices to television channels that air the advertisements. They have also seized nutrition supplements that are provided at gymnasiums and found steroids in them.