BHUBANESWAR: The State government on Wednesday directed food safety officials to strengthen enforcement against adulterated food trade and train the street vendors on preparation of safe food.
Chairing the State-level food safety advisory committee meeting, Chief Secretary Suresh Chandra Mahapatra said training and orientation of food vendors would be a definite deterrent against the unsafe food.
“Sale of adulterated food is a criminal offence like the sale of spurious medicines and it must be dealt with mercilessly. The food vendors must be made aware about the dangerous effect of adulterated food on human health,” he said.
The Chief Secretary directed to hold district-level food safety meetings regularly to keep a vigil on the quality of food sold by street vendors and food business operators. Officials were also asked to collect information on the quality of food being sold in different parts of the State.
Discussing proposals like intensifying surveillance, involvement of private labs in food testing and fortification measures, Additional Chief Secretary of Health RK Sharma directed the Food Safety officials to assess the requirements for up-scaling collection and testing of the food samples.
On steps taken for food testing, Food Safety Commissioner Yamini Sarangi said the State food testing laboratory has enhanced its capacity now. It has also been accredited by the National Accreditation and Calibration Board.
The mobile food testing laboratory has been rolled out for food testing in different melas, public celebrations and festivals.
Odisha’s food safety index at 4th spot
The State has improved its food safety index from 13th position in 2019-20 to fourth position in 2020-21. Tarini Maa temple at Rourkela has received the FSSAI certification under the Blissful Hygienic Offering to God (BHOG) programme. While KIIT hospital has been declared as the first ‘eat right’ campus in Odisha, the convent school street connecting Ram Mandir Road in Unit-III has been declared as a clean street food hub.
As many as 3,049 food samples were collected and tested in 2020-21 of which, 576 samples were found adulterated.