Out of the 258 samples of various food items collected between January and May this year under the district-wide campaign against food adulteration in the district, 66 samples have failed.
The failed samples ranged from curd to milk, cheese to beverages, pulses to pickles, noodles to biscuits and bakery products and desi ghee to mustard oil.
District health officer Dr Surinder Singla said here on Thursday that failed samples included those which were 'substandard' or 'misbranded' or had 'misleading' information on wrappers/packaging.
Under the food safety Act, specific punishments have been prescribed for the defaulters in respect of each of these identified offences. For instance, Singla said, an offence under 'substandard' category means a fine up to Rs 5 lakh, in case of 'misbranded' products, a fine up to Rs 3 lakh and in case of 'misleading' information fine is up to Rs 10 lakh.
Singla said the Chandigarh-based food analyst has reported that 32 samples were found to be 'substandard', 17 were 'misbranded' and two had 'misleading' information about the product printed on the wrappers/ packaging. There were another two samples, where defaulters had committed all the three offences, i.e. their samples were substandard, misbranded and displayed misleading information about the contents. Some products were on sale even after the date of expiry.
Necessary legal papers are ready and soon 'challans' would be put up in the courts. So far, 23 cases have been filed in various courts.
On the other hand, Singla said 100 cases were pending with the additional deputy commissioner-cum-adjudication officer under the food safety Act. Fines to the tune of Rs 18 lakh have been imposed on defaulters.
Singla called upon the people to cooperate with the authorities and help ensure they got safe, unadulterated and hygienic food. The traders, he warned, should not play with the health and life of the people and must get their establishments registered and obtain requisite licences, as per the provisions of the food safety Act, he added.