THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: In a major initiative, the State Food Safety Department is all set to develop 10 panchayats - Chemmaruthy, Pothencode, Vellarada, Vilavoorkal, Aryanad, Athiyannur, Balaramapuram, Kilimanoor, Nellanad and Mangalapuram - in the district into model food safety grama panchayats. The event in this regard will be held on December 15.Alex K Isaac, assistant commissioner, Food Safety, said the programme is aimed at ensuring total food security in these panchayats. As part of the programme, awareness classes were imparted by the department to the elected representatives.
Classes will also be conducted on safe food for Kudumbashree units, residents’ associations, traders associations, schoolchildren and helpers and workers of anganwadis.
Food safety licence registration for retail outlets of the areas will also be carried out. License registration campaigns have already been arranged with the help of the traders’ associations. Testing of water samples from public water sources such as wells and taps and houses within the panchayats is another initiative to ensure safe drinking water. The authorities will monitor the sample water testing process.
The Food Safety Department aims to ensure the people consume healthy and safe food. “Safety of food will be ensured in the production stage, storage, transportation and retail, till it reaches the homes,” said a food safety official. An awareness class on the usage of pesticides will also be given to the farmers with the help of the State Agricultural Department.
Sujith SS, president, Nellanad grama panchayat said, “We are making an announcement on Sunday regarding the awareness programmes which will be conducted on Monday and Tuesday at the panchayat office compound. The eateries and shops will be checked after this”. However, some panchayat members were uncertain about the effectiveness of the programme. According to K Venugopalan Nair, president, Pothencode panchayat, the Food Safety department has not conducted an inspection in the area for the past 15 years.
“The people of the panchayat are unaware that such a facility exists. So, it will be better if they conduct a lightning raid in all the food outlets and take action against offenders before conducting awareness classes”.