Srinagar: Food adulteration is one of a major concern in a state like Jammu and Kashmir. The issue deserves all the attention as the state has no effective mechanism to tackle this menace. If one goes by the official figures that were made available then the concern among the masses should be more worrisome.
The Annual Public Laboratory Testing Report brought out by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) that says that out of around 50,000 samples it tested nearly one-fifth, were found adulterated or misbranded. This should be more than enough for all of us to set alarm bells ringing, but ironically, the case is otherwise.
Food adulteration is not a new phenomenon in the Valley. The issue has been concerning the general masses but the action from the government has been too slack. In fact medicos say the occurrence has recently seen a phenomenal rise, which has led to a rise in patients with gastric problems and other serious complications.
One of the most common examples of food adulteration is the adulteration of milk. Milk Adulteration is a matter of serious concern as the product is consumed by small children in abundance. Because of the huge demand of milk in our state, the number of people involved in the business is too huge.
Therefore, the involvement of large number of people in the trade the chances of containing any sort of adulteration becomes all the more difficult. Milk available here is often contaminated with water, starch, urea, vanaspati, ammonium sulphate (f) sodium carbonate (g) hydrogen peroxide (h) formalin. The worst part is that the milk supplied in households does not go through any checking mechanism.
This casual approach on the part of the government displays the intent of the government and its agencies involved in checking the food products for ensuring that safe food products enter the market.
Importantly, the presence of detergents in milk can cause food poisoning and other gastrointestinal complications. Urea present in the milk can damage the intestinal tract and digestive systems. Formalin present in the milk can cause organ dysfunction and much more. But all this has not moved our planners to take some serious and concrete steps to contain the adulteration and provide unadultered milk to the masses for use.
The state needs to take a leaf from the steps the Maharashtra government is taking to deal with the menace of adulteration of milk in the state. The state may bring in a law to make the adulteration of milk a non-bailable offence, with a punishment of up to three years in jail.
The government in the state believes that if the punishment for milk adulteration was increased to three years, there will be no scope for the accused to get bail. The government in our state needs to learn from such acts and ensure legislation that will protect the people from consuming adulterated products.