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HindustanTimes Tue,30 Sep 2014

Tepid response to Food Safety Act

Jatinder Kohli, Hindustan Times  Jalandhar, February 02, 2014
First Published: 23:50 IST(2/2/2014) | Last Updated: 23:51 IST(2/2/2014)

With only two days left to the deadline for food business operators and others dealing with food products to either register or get a licence from the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), none of the 60 slaughter houses-cum-shops in the Bhoor Mandi area have submitted an application to the authorities.

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Civil Surgeon Dr RL Bassan said that he was aware of the issue. "I will ask the district health officer Dr Balwinder Singh to hold a camp in the mandi on Monday and ensure that the owners of these businesses apply under the act and the law is followed."

He added that if the Central government did not extend the deadline under the Act, then a drive will be started for penal action. Non-registration/licencing is liable to be punished with a fine of up to Rs. 5 lakh and/or imprisonment of up to six months. The district health officer Singh was unavailable for comments.
Apart from slaughter houses-cum-shops, chemists, which also sell processed food, and number about 1,500-1,600, have also not shown any response. It is reported that only around 20 have applied.

Till date, nearly 1,550 eateries have got licences and nearly 8,200 joints, including stall holders, hotels, restaurants, canteens, dhabas, food cats, sweetshops, tea stalls, grocery stores, meat sellers, milk sellers have got themselves registered with the department in Jalandhar.

Even as the FSSAI tracks the businesses, the district health authorities have made efforts to get the business in the area to follow some norms. In May 2012, a health department visited Bhoor Mandi and had instructed slaughter house owners to maintain cleanliness in the area and asked them for immediate registration under Food Safety Act. They also issued instructions regarding deep-freezing the meat and maintaining hygiene.

'DHS debunks rumours'

The eateries and establishments dealing in food products will have to register under the Food Safety Act, 2006, as any reports that the Act would be abolished were wrong, a senior official has said.

Speaking to HT over phone, director health services, Dr Karanjit Singh said, "The proceedings of registration under this Act will continue."

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