Chandigarh, Sep 22 : In order to ensure availability of pure and unadulterated milk products, sweets and bakery items in the fast-approaching festive season, the Health & Family Welfare Minister Balbir Singh Sidhu has directed to set up the district level teams for checking of raw material manufacturing and other units related to the food industry.
While presiding over the review meeting of District Health Officers, Assistant Food Commissioners, designated officers and Lab Analysts of the Health Department at Parivar Kalyan Bhawan in sector 34 here, the Health Minister said on Sunday the state government was fully committed to provide nutritious, hygienic and unadulterated food products to the people of the Punjab.
He told the health authorities that if any retailer or manufacturer is found to be indulging in unethical practice, a strict action should be taken against the violator under the “FOOD SAFETY STANDARDS & REGULATION ACT”. He categorically said people indulging in food adulteration would be not spared at any cost and no one would be allowed to play with the health of the people in the state.
The Minister also said checking does not mean to harass anyone but to ensure availability of hygienic and quality food products. Making a passionate appeal to the people indulging in unethical practice, Mr Sidhu said the accused seller and manufacturer have to suffer the consequences as well, so they should completely stop the wrongdoing and start a professional and ethical business which in turn would benefit them a lot.
“When we start demanding pure and unadulterated milk, milk products and other food items, farmers and other producers would start to get the exact prices for their products and the quality of these products would also start to improve itself," said the Minister. He appealed to the people to not to compromise with the quality of the food products. He asked the health officers to work with passion and integrity and without any fear and pressure. Soliciting support and cooperation of the food business manufactures and operators, the Minister urged them to ensure that the citizens of Punjab get pure and healthy food and make the Punjab healthiest one State in the country.
Giving details of the activities of the Food Safety Teams across the state, Commissioner Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Mr Kahan Singh Pannu said a total of 853 samples have been collected from different parts of the state in the August month. As many as 690 samples have been found safe while 159 samples were found substandard. A total of 340 cases have been filed before Additional Deputy Commissioners (ADC) whereas the number of cases filed before the Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) is eight.
He further said fines worth Rs 24.50 lakhs have been imposed on the offenders. Mr Pannu said apart from the inspections, the Food Safety Teams have been carrying out awareness activities and a total of 75 sensitization camps have been organized to impart special training of “FOOD SAFETY STANDARDS & REGULATION ACT” to the manufacturers and retailers in the same month across the state. He added that these training sessions were intended to provide the relevant and practical insights about food safety hazards, food safety, standards, food safety management systems and related legal provisions under the Act.
Mr Anurag Agarwal, Principal Secretary Health and Mr. Harkesh Chand Sharma, Political Secretary to the Health Minister were also present at the meeting.(UNI)