THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Food Safety Week will be observed from May 26 as part of implementing an action plan to make available unadulterated fruits in the state, Health Minister V S Sivakumar said. He was speaking at the meeting of whole-sale dealers of fruits, representatives of the Fruit Merchant Association and food safety officers convened here on Friday in the wake of several complaints regarding the presence of toxic contents in fruits, including mangoes, sold in the state.
Food safety observation committees will be set up with the Chief Secretary and District Collectors as the chairpersons at the state-level and district-level respectively. Association representatives ensured their full support for the government measures to prevent sales of fruits that could adversely affect health.
A major share of mangoes arriving in the state come from Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, where the mango season is yet to begin.
To prevent adulterated mangoes from arriving in the state, government-level talks will be held with the secretaries of those states and then with their food safety officers and other officials.
If required, representatives of the Fruit Merchant Association will also be included.Moreover, inspection by the Food Safety Department in check-posts would be intensified. The first phase of ‘Safe Food Zone’ in the state will be implemented in Thiruvananthapuram Medical College Hospital, Neyyattinkara General Hospital and Chirayinkeezhu Taluk Hospital. A food safety whistle blower system will be implemented through which those who inform on toxic food materials over toll free number 18004251125 of the Food Safety Dept will be rewarded. They can also inform the department through new media.
Form this year onwards, ‘Safe Food for Health’ as part of the School Health Project will be implemented and Rs 77 lakh has been allotted for this. Online facility will be arranged soon for food licence registration.