In view of the festive season, Delhi Government today ordered a mega drive to curb food adulteration under which samples of sweets and other items would be lifted from all market places across the city. Health Minister A K Walia issued the order after 44 cases of food adulteration were detected during routine taking of samples between August 6 and yesterday, laboratory results of which have come today.
Fifteen cases have been registered against the adulterators under various provisions of Food Safety and Standards Act which provides for a maximum punishment of life imprisonment and a penalty of up to Rs 10 lakh for those involved in such illegal activities. Health department officials said the mega drive is being launched as sale and purchase of sweets witnesses a surge in the run up to Diwali and in view of increase in demand adulteration also goes up during this period.
“I have ordered Prevention of Food Adulteration Department to come down hard on the adulterators. We will not compromise on health of the citizens,” said Walia, adding directions have been issued to ensure quick testing of the samples in designated laboratories and take action based on the report. Walia said a total of 652 samples were lifted between August 6 to October 17 by PFA officials and test results of 539 samples have come out of which 15 were found totally unsafe and 14 were found to be sub-standard. Another 15 samples were of fake brands.
The samples were taken from various popular markets in East and North Delhi. Separately, he said, PFA officials lifted another 30 samples of sweets and khoya between October 14 and 16 out of which 15 were found to be unsafe. The stringent Food Safety and Standards Act had come into force in the city in August. The Act provides for penalty on manufacturers of adulterated food items including fine of Rs 1 lakh to Rs 10 lakh. As per the provisions of the law, adulterers may face six months to life imprisonment depending on the nature of offences. In case of death caused due to adulterated food items, the maximum punishment will be life term and fine will be up to Rs 10 lakh.
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