In a bizarre move, the district health department has suspended taking samples of food products under its anti-adulteration campaign two days ahead of Diwali.
The department said that the decision has been taken in view of the peak business time of sweets and dairy product shops.
The department had seized around 7 quintal adulterated and spurious sweets, cheese, milk and other eatables during the campaign. It has also collected 55 samples, that have been sent for testing.
According to sources, last year, 50 samples of sweets and other food products were found spurious. Cases against the accused are in courts. In 2014, around 319 samples of milk products and sweets were collected and about 10 quintals of sweets and milk products were destroyed by the department.
The decision of the department to suspend the campaign may give free hand to unscrupulous shopkeepers to sell spurious products to customers.
District health officer Harbhajan Lal said their teams would keep a tab on the sweet shops, but no sampling will be done till Diwali.
“The eatery joints and sweets shops usually have a lucrative business during the festival season, especially around Diwali. The decision has been taken in public interest so that their business should not be affected,” he said.
The department and the police failed to deploy teams around the bus stand and the railway station to check the smuggling of milk products from outside the state.
Spurious food items can have a devastating effect, immediate and long term, on health depending upon the material used for adulteration. Liver and gastrointestinal diseases are caused due to consumption of adulterated foodstuff.
A fine of Rs 1 lakh to Rs 5 lakh can be slapped on those found selling substandard and adulterated food items.