They say that you can reach a person’s heart through his stomach. This age old adage is being consigned to insignificance by top brass of FDA in UT much to the chagrin of foodies. The Govt is required to put its foot down and tighten the nuts and bolts of FDA
JAMMU: Waking up from deep slumber, the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) has launched a drive against milk adulteration in all the districts of Jammu and Kashmir Union Territory, as per official Twitter handle.
However, considering the magnitude of mess prevailing in eateries which are operating with impunity for mocking food safety norms, this cosmetic surgery of FDA is just a tip of an iceberg to remain in good books of administration. The prevailing stinking state of affairs of eateries in and around Jammu warrants a surgical strike to stem the deep rooted malady.
Handshake of a few managers of eateries with blue eyed in the administration is matter of thorough probe which deserves attention of LG Manoj Sinha.
Sharing details with photos insiders in FDA, J&K UT told JK Global News “For ensuring supply of healthy and safe food to consumers besides regulating the fast sprawling food industry, FDA draws substantial powers under FSSAI Act, 2006 to initiate punitive action ranging from penalty to sealing and imprisonment for not adhering to several conditions laid down by FSSAI”.
But under operation quid pro quo, some Food Safety Officers (FSO) prefer silence on the modus operandi of shady eateries which are operating by throwing food safety norms to the winds, alleged sources in FDA.
Further sharing details the sources alleged “This phenomenon is prevailing in majority of hotels and restaurants in Jammu city that are serving unsafe and stale food to their customers. The Food Safety Officers are fully aware of this chaos but preferably ignore the matter and penalize small shopkeepers for consumption of higher authorities”.
Flaunting photos of shabby kitchens of several hotels and restaurants including the city’s well known brand, the insiders in FDA further assert “Last year around the festival of Diwali, the team of FSOs led by one Assistant Commissioner Food Safety, Jammu namely Dr. Parvesh had undertaken checking and came across major violation of FSSAI norms, gross absence of hygiene, stocking of stale non veg, absence of record of pesticides used, storing and processing of edible food items in unhygienic conditions.”
Surprisingly, except slapping a minor penalty everything was brushed under the carpet, alleged another officer of FDA, preferring anonymity.
The situation of Dhabas and restaurant operating along NHW 44 was appalling whereas the eateries in city were found operating in depressing conditions.
To our utter surprise scores of cubicle restaurants in Green Belt Park Gandhi Nagar due to paucity of space were seen washing and processing food items on open road adjoining a stinking choked drain. This evidently shows the FSOs of FDA are either in deep slumber or deliberately shun their assigned duties as part of operation hanky panky.
As per FSSAI, all eateries prior to operation have to procure license, ensure kitchen and sitting areas covered with ceramic tiles, ensuring demarcation between kitchen and utensils washing area, washing of used utensils with warm water, installation of water purifier for cooking and drinking purpose, separate processing as well as storage of veg and non veg items, storage of stock only as per requirement, separate area for stocking of goods and wearing of head gear.
Strangely, though majority of food establishments have procured the FSSAI license however, they are not adhering to the required standards and are serving deleterious food items in the city.
This situation is more agonizing along national highway where food safety norms only exist on papers.
Demanding strictest punishment to all wilful violators Prof. SK Bhalla has squarely blamed the FDA for nonsense prevailing in almost all eateries which has silently resulted in burgeoning medical complications especially among the youth and generally among the public.
It is explicit that the violators have a field day and the FSOs as well as their superiors in FDA are deliberately white washing their misdeeds, added Prof. Bhalla.
Large number of residents of Jammu city also complained to JK Global News about sale of adulterated milk and milk items and absence of action on part of the FSOs to check this most prevailing menace.
Collecting a few samples every month would not help in checking the problem. There is a need for a full-fledged drive to check the menace, avers aggrieved Meenakshi Tuli.
If the FDA officers are really doing something appreciable why they are hesitating to share it on their social media accounts as well putting the details of offenders in public domain for the information of general public, said Mohit Sawhney, a resident of Rehari.
Except few MNC brand, the workers hardly wear masks, gloves and caps while cooking and serving food in city’s eateries.
There are reports that majority of eateries instead of using potable water for cooking are using unsafe tap water.
When Deputy Commissioner Food Safety, Jammu Madan Magotra was apprised of the matter in hand, he clarified that we are doing on routine basis the best and none of the eateries is operating in violation of FSSAI norms. But when confronted with the facts he had to cut a sorry figure.