If you thought buying sweets from renowned shops or branded food items from malls in the city are safe for consumption, here is a warning.
More than 50% of the food samples recently collected from reputed shops have failed the laboratory test.
Noida chief food inspector Ajay Kumar Jaiswal told Hindustan Times on Sunday, “We have launched a special drive to check food adulteration. Today, we collected samples from five reputed shops in the city.” He said, “We had sent 75 food samples for testing. All the 39 reports we have received till now say the samples were adulterated and sub- standard.”
“Twelve FIRs have been lodged. Legal action against others has also been initiated,” the chief food inspector added.
Adulteration of food means cheating the consumer and poses a serious health risk. It is a punishable offence under the provisions of Prevention of Food Adulteration Act.
“Recently, khoya from a reputed sweet shop in Sector 18 was found to be made of adulterated milk. An FIR was lodged as per the rules,” said Jaiswal.
“The gram flour (besan) used in snacks and other food products is often found to be of poor quality. A sample taken from a mall’s shop too failed the test,” he said.
“The sample report stated that pea flour was mixed with gram flour which is prohibited as per the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act,” said Jaiswal.
Some flour samples had insoluble ash too, the officer further said. Manufacturers, however, claim they buy raw material from standard shops.
“All owners should have a testing kit at their manufacturing unit to check samples of milk products, spices and other ingredients used by them,” Jaiswal said. A sweet shopowner said, “We are illiterate and do not know the procedure of testing. We get milk from nearby villagers and khoya items from small traders.”
Meanwhile, consumers are already wary. “Several factories and offices have stopped buying sweets for their employees during festivals. Chances of adulteration are more these days as the supply of milk products is less than half of the demand. Factories now prefer to give dry fruits or other gift items,” said PP Sharma, general secretary, Association of Greater Noida Industries.
“Apart from regular raids and testing of samples by the food department, consumer awareness can go a long way in stopping this menace,” said Jaiswal.