Manufacturers of food items here seem to have no fear of law as packaging of home-made snacks and other products is being done without any mention of expiry and manufacturing details. Most shops and bakeries are selling items like chips, cakes, pastries etc in packets which don't mention manufacturing date, expiry date, the manufacturer's address etc.
When the HT team visited one of the manufacturing units here, KTT snacks, and questioned about the packaging of the products without necessary details, the owner confidently said that he is not the only one who is doing so. "I can name at least ten other manufacturing units that are doing the same," he said. The team also found that the items were being manufactured and packaged under very unhygienic conditions.
One of the shopkeepers, who sells these locally made food items, made some shocking revelations. He said, "We buy plastic packets from Sadar Bazar in Delhi and then pack locally made items like turmeric powder, cashewnut and biscuits in them. We prefer to sell the local items over the branded ones as they are cheaper."
He even showed some empty packets carrying the names of brands and designed for specific products. Some of the shopkeepers even alleged that the food safety department is aware of all this and "we pay the officials to avoid action".
"We conduct raids on a regular basis but most of the time the culprits manage to escape before we reach the spot," said food safety officer Charandeep Singh, expressing the inability of his department to curb this business.
Some officials of the food safety department also requested the HT team to investigate further on this issue and update them on this.
"The health hazards of consuming these items are grave. The children, who are fond of chips and biscuits, often complain of problems like indigestion and mouth ulcer," said Dr Harpreet Singh Sidhu, a practicing homeopathic physician, who has been campaigning against this practice for a long time. Deputy commissioner Parveen Kumar Thind, who expressed ignorance about this practice, said that proper action would be taken against this practice soon.