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Sub-Standard Foodstuff Flood Imphal Markets

IMPHAL, Dec 13: Many sub-standard foodstuffs which form part of our daily consumption are being found sold in some shops of Khwairamband Keithel after adding unhealthy chemicals to pass off the fake products as original products.

Many such sub-standard foodstuffs have been detected by Food Enforcement staff of the Directorate of Health Services.

Speaking to The Sangai Express, Deputy Food Safety Commissioner T Brojendro Khaba informed that a large number of Khwairamband shops have been adulterating foodstuffs with hazardous chemicals to deceive consumers and sell the sub-standard stuffs as standard ones, for a good profit.

In the course of an investigation conducted by Food Enforcement staff at Khwairamband Keithel, cooking oil was found mixed with Rogent Drop to make its smell more pungent and present the sub-standard product as a quality product.

The method is simple. Shopkeepers pour cooking oil in a large vessel and then add Rogent Drop. Then the adulterated oil would be divided into different smaller tins or containers to sell the sub-standard product at higher prices.

Rogent Drop is a chemical which poses risk to the human health. It can damage vital organs like kidney, liver etc, Brojendro said.

Snack items sold under the brand name of Kurkure is also suspected to be containing plastic bits. When put to fire, Kurkure pieces burn with sparking sounds and it ultimately shrinks and gets sticky.

Notably, a scientist working at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) had already observed that this foodstuff contains plastic shreds. If this observation is true, Kurkure may even cause cancer to human beings.

The AIIMS scientist has also cautioned that drinking beverages like Coca Cola soon after eating sweets of Mentos brand can cause even death due to fatal chemical reaction, conveyed the Food Safety Deputy Commissioner.

Though papad is made by mixing besan flour with spices comprising the larger percentage, neither the people nor Govt Food staff know exactly what are the particular spices used in making papad.

Earlier, there were reports of many people being hospitalized due to food poisoning caused by adulterated or chemical-added foodstuff.

Although everyone is aware that social progress, food habit and healthy food are closely interrelated, all these acts of adulterating foodstuff and cheating consumers cannot be checked effectively.

One primary reason for this failure is the absence of a separate Food Safety Department in Manipur, Brojendro said.

Under Food Commissioner and Deputy Food Safety Commissioner, nine Food Safety Officers are assigned the task of food safety though they were not appointed through proper channel.

The existing staff does not have the required fund to purchase and verify samples of foodstuff suspected to be sub-standard or adulterated.

Moreover, it is no easy task to collect food samples from the crooks running shops at Khwairamband Keithel.

These shopkeepers may be avoiding the adulterated foodstuffs but many unsuspecting and unaware consumers are consuming these foodstuffs. As such, there is an urgent need to create extensive awareness about food adulteration and associated health hazards. For this, extra funds are required.

Under intense supervision of the Food Commissioner, some sub-standard and chemical added food items have been banned at Imphal in the last few years.

To check and identify adulterated foodstuffs more successfully, there is an urgent to need recruit the requisite staff under the Food Safety and Standard Act and also to set up a separate department equipped with a modern food testing laboratory, added the Deputy Food Safety Commissioner.

(The Sangai Express)

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