Records of the Health and Family Welfare Ministry have disclosed that 1/5th (20%) of food items in the market tested by government labs in 2012 were either substandard or contaminated. These food items did not meet the standards set by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI).
In the survey, a test of 29,328 samples taken from malls as well as wholesale shops conducted in 123 labs shows that everything from packed items to cereals is contaminated. The food items tested include items such as edible oil, milk, sugar and grains, packed foods available in the market.
As per the tests, The rate of food contamination was 8% in 2008-09and now it has moved up to 20% in 2012-13. Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar are the three states with the worst record between 2008 to 2010.
Consumption of adulterated food leads to serious health problems such as heart disease and even neurological problems, especially in children.
Lack of Supervision:
- By April, 2013 only 2% food business operators had registered with the state governments. The lack of a proper monitoring is one of the reasons for this issue. At present there are more than 50 million who still need to register with the state governments.
- Increased use of chemicals and pesticides for production and storage has also significantly contributed to the increase in adulterated food items in the market.
Steps taken to reduce the food adulteration:
- Food safety officers appointed by each state government randomly take food samples from markets. These are then tested in the 123 government laboratories spread across the country.
- The state governments then send the results to FSSAI which calculates the figures and takes necessarily action.
- As per the new rules a food business operator involved in the manufacture, storage, distribution or retail of food items can be punished if the food item is not up to the mark.