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HC grants week’s time to appoint FSC

18,July, 2017

Asks authorities to upgrade food testing laboratories

Srinagar, July 17: The State High Court today directed Finance Department to clear proposal for the appointment of Food Safety Commissioner within a week.

The direction by the division bench of Chief Justice Badar Durez Ahmad and Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey followed submission by Commissioner Secretary Health Department, who was present in the court.

On being asked by the court why the appointment FSC has not been made, the Commissioner Secretary submitted that the proposal for creation of post has been sent to Finance Department and after approval, it would be placed before the state cabinet.

Subsequently, the court directed the Finance Department to conclude the exercise with one week. "Till the full time (FSC0 is made, Commissioner Secretary shall have the additional charge of the post," the court said.

Last week, the court had pulled up government for not putting in place FSC and had directed commissioner secretary to be personally present before to inform it about the steps taken to appoint the FSC.

The direction had followed perusal of a report by Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), highlighting deficiencies in food testing laboratories, both at Srinagar and Jammu.

Subsequently, the court directed the concerned authorities to upgrade the laboratories by NABL so that prosecution can be launched against the violators.

Pertinently, as per the FSSAI report, both the laboratories are currently equipped with minor equipment, which are in working condition. These include electronic balance, muffle furnace, butyro-refractometer and tintometer etc.

"Both labs do not carry out any tests for contaminant such pesticide residues, heavy metals, veterinary drug residues, crop contaminants and naturally occurring toxic substances," the report said.

Currently, the report said, both the labs neither have in place state-of-the -art equipment necessary for pesticide, heavy metals and drug residues etc nor competent and trained manpower to operate the equipment. A major limiting factor towards fulfilling the requirements of testing of food samples is the non-availability of sophisticated instruments, the report said.

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