KOCHI: In a chance discovery, a suspected case of food adulteration by a pickle-manufacturing company based at Perumbavoor here was made by a joint team comprising officers from the Health, Labour, Police and Food Safety Department. The raid party was carrying out inspections at an industrial area as part of the efforts to prevent dengue outbreak when they stumbled on the adulteration incident.
Sulekha Gopalakrishnan, Health Standing Committee chairperson, Perumbavoor municipality, told Express the pickle manufacturing unit was inspected as part of the routine checking . "During the inspection, the food safety officers became suspicious of the ingredients used to make the pickles. The officers believed synthetic colours were being used. The pickles produced there were being sold to several hotels and catering units. It also did not have a valid licence," she said.
A notice was served on the owner of the company. Similarly, the samples collected from the pickle manufacturing unit will be sent to the government laboratory for a detailed examination.
DMO N K Kuttappan said a detailed report has been sought in the raid's aftermath. "Only after obtaining the report, can we confirm whether indeed harmful chemicals had been used by the company. Action will be initiated once we get the report," he said.
To prevent the outbreak of dengue, health squads have been conducting checks at the various industrial and labour camps in Perumbavoor. However, the squad members were not permitted to enter at industrial area last week. Later, District Collector K Mohammed Y Safeerulla directed the joint team to conduct the checks at factories functioning in the industrial area of Perumbavoor.
"For last two days, the industrial belt where several plywood industries are functioning were checked. We found there is indeed a lot of room for improvement in the hygiene at these places including the labour camps. Notices have been served on the companies which were found wanting in hygiene. Awareness classes will be held and measures to prevent the outbreak of dengue initiated," Sulekha said.