Calls for more awareness for all the stakeholders
JAMMU: The Commissioner Food Safety, Dr Abdul Kabir Dar on Monday convened a review meeting of Designated Officers (DOs) of Jammu Division regarding statutory duties being performed under Food Safety & standards Act, in their respective jurisdictions.
The commissioner also took note of the Action Taken Report of Designated Officers regarding directions issued with regard to mandatory licensing and registration of food business and follow-up of advisories. He instructed the concerned enforcement authorities for intensifying special drives for registration of all the food business operators including cafes, tea stalls, dhabaas and wazwaan vendors so as to ensure food safety compliance and provide wholesome and safe food to the general public.
During the meeting, the Commissioner was apprised that in Jammu Division, 1140 samples were lifted, 1034 reports were received; out of which 335 samples have been found not conforming to the standards. During the current financial year, more than 2500 licenses have been issued besides registrations granted to the petty food business operators (FBOs).
Regarding utilisation of Mobile Food Testing Vans (MFTVs), commissioner was informed that 874 samples were analysed out of which 802 samples passed and 72 failed for the standards. He was informed that 97 awareness programmes for the food business operators, schools and general public were conducted (40 through MFTVs), while 204 prosecutions were launched under various offences as per the provisions laid down in the Act. On grounds of adverse analytical reports, 93 prosecutions have been launched under unhygienic and insanitary conditions and 274 cases have been decided till date.
An amount of Rs 27,25,700 has been imposed as fine on the violators of the Act. During the same period, three food business operators including M/S Bungi India Pvt. Ltd. and allied parties from (retailer to manufacture) were fined with Rs 4.7 lakh for manufacturing/selling of substandard Vanaspathi. Moreover, Food Safety Appellate Tribunal, Jammu upheld the penalty of Rs 4.6 lakh on an FBO in a substandard case of fruit drink imposed by the Adjudicating Officer, Sambha.
In the backdrop of frequent complaints and public outcry in the print media regarding unhygienic food and illness cases in the schools and hospitals, Dr Abdul Kabir Dar directed the district officers to prepare a monthly routine calendar for inspection of all the hospitals, colleges, universities and boarding schools to ensure food safety to the vulnerable group of consumers.
He said that all the stakeholders need to be made aware of the provisions of the Act, and its compliance. He impressed upon all the designated officers to make optimum use of food safety on wheels initiative for creating awareness among the general public, schools, colleges and community centres.
District regulatory officers were further directed to prepare a monthly calendar of awareness campaigns/programmes and circulate the same in print and electronic media to ensure maximum participation of the general public.
During the meeting, arrangement for commencement of the Lauh Yatra 2018 that will kick-start from October 16 throughout the country including J&K was also discussed.
The Commissioner directed the Designated Officers of district Ramban, Udhampur, Sambha, Kathua and Jammu to gear up for its preparedness and make available all necessary arrangements vested upon them to make this campaign a success story.
The Commissioner Food Safety ensured all possible help to the Food Business Operators with regard to guidance and awareness of the provisions of the Act. However, he warned all the food business operators to desist from malpractices especially adulteration of food products and get their business registered/licensed, failing which stern action shall be taken as per the provisions of Food Safety & Standards Act.
The meeting was attended by Assistant Controller Food (HQ), Assistant Commissioner Food Safety MLJ, Designated Officer Sambha, Udhampur, Kishtwar, Reasi, Doda, Jammu (Rural), Ramban, Kathua, Rajouri and Pubic Analyst Public Health Jammu (PHL) Jammu.