Nagpur: In view of rampant adulteration of sweets and other edible stuff going unchecked during the ongoing festive season, the health of Nagpur citizens has been put under grave threat. The Food and Drug Safety Administration (FDA) in Nagpur has been struggling with the alarmingly miniscule number of food safety officers.
The situation has left the department in lurch. Shockingly, there are only 5 food safety officers to conduct check at various eateries. As compared to the same, the number of shops selling sweets, khowa and farseen run in thousands.
Similar situation prevails in Nagpur rural areas too in which the number of food safety officers is limited to only 5. This means that there are total of 10 food safety officers in the urban and rural Nagpur combine to keep the adulteration in dairy products at bay during current Diwali season.
It may be mentioned that food safety officers are responsible for visiting the shops in both urban and rural areas and collect samples of edible stuff.
Sources in FDA told Nagpur Today that everyday only one or two samples are sent for examination at Pune laboratory as there is no mechanism to check the samples in Nagpur. Adding to the woes, it takes weeks for the report to come, only after which action can be initiated.
As per the information, the number of food safety officers has been lying intact at 10 for both Nagpur rural and urban for more than 5 years. In 2012, similar number of food safety officers were serving Nagpur, sources told Nagpur Today.
No move has been initiated to recruit fresh manpower to cater to the large number of shops in every increasing expanse of Nagpur.
Citizens have also been roped in to act as whistleblower and raise alert through passing on the information on phone numbers, but such efforts failed to pull off the desired output. Under such a scheme of things, it is useless to expect the edible served on our platter is free from adulteration and safe to consume. The alarming lack of staff has also increased the intent of illdoers who are rampantly conducting sale of banned products like gutkha, scented tobacco and other related products in Nagpur.
Admitting to the prevalant staff crunch Milind Deshpande, Assistant Commissioner, FDA, told Nagpur Today that these food safety officers are able to collect food samples at only one or two shops on daily basis. He also confirmed that similar number of food safety officers served in 2012 too.