Experts To Conduct Food Safety Meet

IMPHAL, Mar 27 : To en- sure that the edibles, including snacks and others, especially brought in from Myanmar without any labels, are safe for human consumption, a delegation of experts from the Centre will  hold a two-day awareness program on food safety and quality  at Imphal from tomorrow.

Though there are as yet no restrictions on the sale of the unlabelled snacks and other edible items brought in from across the border, there is increasing doubt that such edible items may be hazardous to one’s health as safety norms such as specifying the month and year of manufacture, expiry date and chemical contents are not adhered to.

Adding to the confusion is the presence of a large number of canned foods brought in from Myanmar, like tinned fish, sweets, pickles etc, which have labels but are not understood to others as they are not written in English.

There have been cases of large number of people being hospitalized after consuming fermented soya beans, which are chemically treated and meant for agricultural purposes. The fermented soya beans are locally known as Hawaichar. What is more, there is no mechanism to check the quality and hygiene of meat and other eatables sold in the State, which are hazardous to one’s health.

Considering the growing concern for food safety and impending changes in India’s food regulations, experts from the Ministry of Food Processing Industry of India (MoFPI) and Quality Council of India (QCI) will conduct the program, official sources said.

Its objective is to emphasize the need to ensure food safety in the food businesses; the sources said adding that awareness on the latest developments in food sector to cover food safety, quality, packaging and regulations would also be highlighted in it.

Practicing and aspiring entrepreneurs in food business, production and quality control executives from food manufacturing units are the targeted audiences of the program.

The units will lay emphasis on the micro, small and medium scale organizations associated with food processing, fruits and vegetables processing, diary, bakery and confectionary, manufacturing and catering, hospitality industry, teachers and students of food technology.

Notwithstanding the induction of a Government food safety officer each in the nine districts as well as a Food Inspector in Imphal Municipal Council (IMC) , construction of a food testing laboratory at Lamphelpat in the heart of Imphal is yet to be completed.

Once the construction is completed, equipments for the laboratory would be installed; sources said adding that currently food samples are being sent for testing outside the State leading to huge expenses on the State exchequer.

(Courtesy: The Sangai Express)

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