HC issues ‘show cause’ notice to 3 food companies

Srinagar: The J&K High Court has issued notice to three companies including a Delhi-based spice manufacturer to show cause why shall they not be directed to deposit another Rs 10 crore each with the SK Institute of Medical Sciences here for allegedly indulging in food adulteration.
The ‘show cause’ notice to the companies—Khyber, Kanwal and Avon— were passed by a division bench of justices Muzaffar Hussain Attar and Tashi Rabstan after perusal of a report by Director, SKIMS, revealing nature of diseases which can be caused by the material found in the adulterated food item batches of the three companies.
The bench also asked the companies to give an undertaking before Registrar Judicial of the court within seven days to the effect that they will comply with December 23, 2013 orders, asking them to deposit Rs. 10 crore each with the SKIMS.
The undertaking, the court reiterated, should also encompass that they will not sell the products in dispute—the toned Khyber Milk (lot no. MD E S P 17), turmeric powder (manufactured by AVON Agro Industries) and saunf powder (batch-P21/B6) by Kanwal Agro Food Industries.
In the first hearing in the case after Supreme Court suspended the December 23 order by the High Court for four weeks ending January 27, the bench also impleaded them as parties in case.
“The perusal of the report of the Director SKIMS shocks one deep down to his conscience. The material used by impleaded parties besides causing other serious and fatal diseases, can cause cancer,” the court observed, adding, “This prima-facie view is taken at this stage on the basis of the Central Food Laboratory, Kolkata as also report of Director SKIMS.”
The laboratory report revealed that the batch of toned Khyber milk manufactured in July last year was found contain detergent.
The laboratory also declared unsafe the turmeric powder manufactured by Delhi-based AVON Agro Industries Private Limited because one of its samples showed the presence of Tartrazine.
Similarly, the laboratory found Carmoisine and Tartrazine in samples of a ‘saunf’ (fennel seeds) powder processed and sold by Kanwal Agro food industries.
Dr Showkat Zargar, Director SKIMS, in his report, filed in compliance to the bench’s direction, submitted that Tartrazine (synthetic lemon yellow azo dye) like other dyes can cause “Allergic and Intolerance Reaction” among asthmatics.
It can cause, report said, hyperactive behaviour in children, resulting in irritability, restlessness and sleep disorders.
“Like other azo dyes, it is known carcinogenic and has been linked to bladder cancer,” the report said.
Regarding Carmoisine and sunset yellow, the director has said that they also belong to family of Azo Dyes and “significantly resemble one another as far as adverse effects on human health are concerned.”
“Generally speaking, all these contaminants are responsible to cause a variety of harmful effects on health like allergic reactions, damage to many organs causing heart diseases , nervous system diseases and cancer,” the Director said about Detergent.
The bench also made some strong observations in the order, underlining that health is wealth.
“One person, cannot be permitted to subject other fellow humans beings to untold miseries for amassing huge wealth,” the court said, posting the case for further proceedings on February 10.
“The creation of the Universe, human being and all that exists in it, is not without any purpose. The creation of human life on this planet called earth has a definite purpose. It appears that one of the fundamental and paramount purposes of creation of human life is to serve all that which exists on this planet called earth,” the court underscoring that human being has right to live an honourable and dignified life and “for this purpose, he undertakes economic activities.”
“But in pursuit of his dream of leading a dignified life, he has no right to deprive the other human beings of leading dignified life in same manner.”