CUTTACK: Cuttack seems to have turned into a hub of food adulteration in the State, thanks to an abject failure of the civic body and district administration in monitoring and enforcement of food safety and standard regulations.
In little over a month, as many as 15 food adulteration units operating in and around Cuttack have been busted by the police, unearthing huge quantities of spurious spices, sauces, honey, ghee and other edible products.
What is of more concern is that many adulterated food processing units were operating for years right inside Malgodown, the State’s largest wholesale market for essential commodities, and the civic body nor the administration knew anything about it.
The matter came to the fore recently following a complaint by a consumer. Local police initiated action and as many as six spices adulteration units were detected. Besides arresting three persons, police seized huge quantity of degraded raw materials, harmful carcinogenic chemicals used for colour, grinding machines, weighing machines, plastic packets sealing machines and polythene packets.
How such units remained under radar and continued to feed spurious food products into the markets across the State for so long has raised serious questions on the conduct of the Cuttack Municipal Corporation and the district administration.
Despite having the mandate of continuous surveillance and monitoring of food safety, the CMC has failed in the duty. The inaction, though, is attributed to lack of adequate staff.
There is no permanent food safety officer (FSO) in CMC at present and the post is being looked after by FSO Bhubaneswar Pratikshya Das Mohapatra. This has affected enforcement and surveillance activities, sources in the civic body said.
Collector Bhabani Shankar Chayani said it is not possible to carry out enforcement with an understaffed food safety wing. “It starts with manufacturers and goes to stockists, then to traders, retailers and finally reaches consumers. Since this chain is widespread, we have constituted a committee comprising CMC officials, Cuttack DCP, Cuttack SP (Rural), Health Officer and two Food Safety Officers.
A total of 10 squads - six for rural Cuttack and four for Cuttack city) - involving district civil supply and food safety officials have also been formed. Both the committee and squads will look into enforcement of food safety norms” said the Collector.
He added that two dedicated telephone numbers will soon be put in place to help consumers inform the administration about food adulteration activities.The CMC authorities could not be reached for their comments.
Six fake spice manufacturing units busted with seizure of 5,197 kg of adulterated food items
Commissionerate Police so far busted 15 adulterated food processing units and arrested 16 persons
Police also seized different adulterated foods items worth above Rs 5 crore