INDIA – The district wing of the Food Safety Department, India, has beefed up surveillance and deployed special squads to conduct drives in the capital, so as to ensure the availability of good quality food products in the market during Onam season.

Onam Season is an annual Hindu harvest festival celebrated in the southern Indian state of Kerala, between August to September.

The squads will conduct inspections at manufacturing units, bakery outlets, restaurants, grocery shops and vegetable markets.

Kerala’s capital, Thiruvananthapuram, Assistant Commissioner of food safety, Alex K Issac, told The New Indian Express (TNIE), that the squad’s work has commenced and will continue for the next two weeks.

“We have formed four squads to cover the entire district and they will conduct inspections to book violations. This is the time when the demand for milk, oil and fried items like chips and other snacks is high. There is a tendency to use harmful synthetic colors which can harm people’s health. Our primary aim would be to prevent such usage and ensure only labelled proprietary products are sold in the market,” he said.

Alex informed that the deployed squads will be keeping tabs on several restaurants and shops which had previously closed down as a result of the lockdown and are set to resume operations during the Onam festive season. The squads will collect surveillance and statutory samples during the drives to ascertain adherence to sanitary standards, after which severe penalties will be meted out on violators.

In July, as part of a special drive, the food safety authorities collected around 540 surveillance samples and 93 statutory samples. The department also conducted as many as 362 raids where they collected several samples of jaggery, rice, sugar, proprietary foods, oil etc., and marked two food business operators for selling unsafe food.

The Assistant Commissioner informed that around 481 samples were tested using the mobile testing laboratory of food safety as part of routine surveillance during July. They had collected around 262 water samples and around 125 were found to have less pH value.

Minister for food directs for testing of flour

PAKISTAN: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) Minister for Food, Atif Khan has directed the Food Safety Authority officials to start laboratory tests by taking samples from flour mills to ensure availability of quality and safe flour to people in the province.

While presiding over a meeting at the province’s Food Safety Authority office, the provincial minister said that the food department should expedite the inspection process to ensure the quality of flour in flour mills.

Also present at the meeting was Director General Food Safety Authority Shah Rukh Ali Khan and Food Department Director.

During the meeting, Shah Rukh apprised the provincial minister about the progress made in setting up mobile labs. He said the establishment of a mobile lab would help food-related businesses be better monitored.