Seven of 14 milk samples tested by FSSAI found to be substandard
HYDERABAD: The quality of milk in the city has once again been called for question with seven out of 14 milk samples tested by Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) turning out to be “of substandard quality”.
The tests were conducted earlier this month at the State Foods Laboratory (SFL) as a part of a routine check. The test was conducted on milk samples sold loose in the city.
“We are planning to collect samples for packaged milk as well,” said Vinod Dayal, deputy food controller at FSSAI. “We will file a case in judicial first class magistrate courts under the Food safety and Standards Act, against those selling milk of substandard quality,” he added.
In 2013, milk sold in the city by dairy companies was tested and found to contain traces of E coli, salmonella and even urea. Milk samples of seven dairy companies were tested at SFL, the only government owned food testing laboratory in the state. Reports of the findings were then sent to the food safety officer of GHMC.
“At that time too we collected samples, there were some milk samples that were found to be of substandard quality,” said Dayal. There were traces of detergent in some of the samples, he added.
Earlier this year the supreme court had directed the Central government to make amendments to the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 and the Indian Penal Code. The apex court heard a petition filed on milk safety.
In Hyderabad, cases were filed against the offenders but prosecution is yet to begin. Most of the GHMC officials related to the issue were either ignorant or unaware of what had happened since 2013. “These things got sidelined after the bifurcation,” was what an GHMC official said when asked why no action was taken.
The cases had been filed, it will take time, the official added.
“There were 30 samples that were tested , eight were reported to have violations. There were cases filed against these companies but prosecution order is pending,” said Balaji, an assistant food controller with GHMC. Those who were found to be unsafe were the ones against which cases were filed. We had sent the report to Human Rights Commission and to the state Lokayukta, he added.
Civil society unhappy “GHMC should have taken action against the diary companies and banned them instead,” said Achyuta Rao, honorary president for Balala Hakkula Sangham.