NEW DELHI: India has been battling the food adulteration malaise for decades now, but to no avail. From mixing urea and water in milk to add volume, starch in cottage cheese to make it thicker and fluffier and hydrogenated oils in vegetable oils, unscrupulous manufacturers and vendors do it all.
An online survey by LocalCircles revealed that 39 per cent citizens found the maximum adulteration in fruits and vegetables while 21 per cent found adulteration in milk. Ninety-seven per cent people want the Government to disclose the identity of anyone engaging in food adulteration.
Use of Calcium carbide and ethylene gas to artificially ripen fruits faster is becoming rampant despite the government trying to stop this practice.
Asked if the malpractices of artificially ripening fruits and colouring vegetables with hazardous chemicals should be considered food adulteration and what the punishment for it should be, 20 per cent said it should attract three years’ imprisonment without parole and Rs 1 lakh penalty, 39 per cent wanted seven years’ imprisonment with Rs 10 lakh penalty, while 38 per cent favoured life imprisonment with Rs 10 lakh penalty.
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A whopping 97 per cent people said the government must disclose the identity of those engaging in food adulteration.
According to citizens, awareness is key and FSSAI and state food departments must take active steps in ensuring the community knows about non-compliant businesses and brands.