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To prevent adulteration, jaggery producers ordered to install CCTVs

Food Safety Commissioner issues directive after complaints of widespread adulteration of these natural sweeteners

Published: 02nd December 2021 05:38 AM  |   Last Updated: 02nd December 2021 07:56 AM   |  A+A-

Unable to meet the sudden rise in demand for jaggery and palm jaggery, many manufacturers are allegedly resorting to adulteration | Express

Express News Service

CHENNAI: In a bid to prevent adulteration of jaggery, gur and palm jaggery, all manufacturing units that produce these sweeteners have been ordered to bring their premises under CCTV cover. The surveillance cameras should cover all operations — from the arrival of raw material to dispatch of the final product. The footage storage records should be available for verification by food safety officials, said a recent directive issued to District Collectors by Food Safety Commissioner P Senthil Kumar.

The order was issued in the wake of complaints lodged by the Tamil Nadu Food Grains Merchants Association (TNFGMA) and a few others alleging that many manufacturers are adulterating palm jaggery and gur with sugar and chemicals. Cane jaggery and cane gur are adulterated with maida, sugar, superphosphate, sodium bicarbonate, calcium carbonate, artificial colouring agents, sodium hydro sulphate and several other chemicals, said SP Jayaprakasam, president, TNFGMA.  

“Taking advantage of the sudden spike in the consumption of these sweeteners, which are considered healthier than sugar, many manufacturers produce adulterated palm jaggery and gur. These companies rely on sugarcane produced in Salem, Erode and Namakkal districts where agriculture markets are fully controlled by brokers,” he added.

The Food Safety Commissioner said the colour of unadulterated jaggery is normally dark brown, while adulterated jaggery is light brown, deep yellow, pale yellow or orange in colour. “Owing to lack of awareness, the public believe that yellow or orange-coloured jaggery is better than the brown one. But yellow or orange jaggery is prepared using harmful colouring agents,” added the order.

Jayaprakasam added that demand for jaggery has grown manifold in the last few years and it’s nearly impossible to fulfil the demand using sugarcane produced in the State. “We are not opposing the mixing of sugar with jaggery or gur, but it should be sold under a different brand name. The government should introduce different food standards for palm jaggery produced with sugar and other ingredients. Jaggery mixed with chemicals should not be allowed to be sold as genuine jaggery, which is against FSSAI provisions.”

A food safety official said, “It’s up to the Central government to introduce new food standards for sugar-mixed palm jaggery. As of now, we will enforce FSSAI guidelines in jaggery manufacturing units.”
To curtail malpractices, a State-level monitoring committee comprising eight district-designated officers and others had been constituted in February this year.

District Collectors have been directed to inspect manufacturing units and conduct meetings with the stakeholders on installing CCTV cameras. The general public can also contact 94440-42322 for complaints regarding adulterated jaggery, added the order.

Not so sweet
As per a complaint, cane jaggery is adulterated with superphosphate, sodium bicarbonate, calcium carbonate, artificial colouring agents, sodium hydro sulphate and other chemicals

Food Safety Commissioner says the colour of unadulterated jaggery is normally dark brown, while adulterated jaggery is light brown, deep yellow, pale yellow or orange in colour 



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