THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The food safety laboratories for testing prasadam and the raw materials used at Sabarimala temple declared the samples satisfactory without testing all required parameters, says the CAG’s compliance audit report for the year ended March 2021. There is no assurance that the food items consumed by devotees every year meet the prescribed food standards, it said.
The food samples collected from Sabarimala are tested at the district food testing laboratory in Pathanamthitta and a laboratory each at Pampa and Sannidhanam. Though the Pathanamthitta laboratory started functioning in 1998, it was neither notified by FSSAI nor accredited by the NABL, the report said. During Sabairmala festival season, samples of food items collected from various shops at Sannidhanam, Pampa and Nilakkal were tested as surveillance samples at Pathanamthitta laboratory. During 2016-21, 807 samples of food items were tested.
Of them, 685 were declared satisfactory and 122 non-satisfactory. Of the 685 samples declared satisfactory, the audit team conducted a test check of 30 sample results with reference to FSS (Food Products Standards and Food Additives) Regulations, 2011 and FSS (Contaminants, Toxin and Residues) Regulations, 2011. The two regulations specify the standards for various food items and the permissible limits for metals, insecticide residue and pesticide residue. The test revealed that 25 samples (83.33%) were declared satisfactory by the laboratory after checking only some of the parameters specified by the FSSAI, the report said.