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Festivals ahead, Health Dept yet to start collecting samples of sweets

28,September, 2019
 

Bathinda, September 25

Even as the festival season is just around the corner, but Health Department officials have yet to start taking samples of sweets and confectionery items in Bathinda and Mansa district.

Health officials said though they have been collecting samples of milk and its products, those of sweets and confectionery items will be started collecting ahead of the festival season.

Notably, Dasehra is two weeks away and the department has not started collecting samples of sweets in the district.

District Health Officer Dr Amrik Singh said, “We have been carrying out drives to create awareness about adulteration among sweets manufacturers and confectioners in order to avoid heavy penalties later. Because during raids, it has often been observed that many shop owners and manufacturers of confectionery and sweets items say they were not told in advance. So, we have decided to carry out awareness drives”

Department officials said a robust surveillance mechanism would be in place in this festive season to check adulteration of sweets. They said those violating the food safety norms would be penalised.

“Unpermitted colours must be avoided in sweets. We have standard FSSAI guidelines for use of colours in sweets. Any other synthetic colour found in sweets would be liable to invite a penalty. For the volume of a colour, on an average, one gram of colour is permissible in 10 kg of sweets. Manufacturers of sweets and confectionary items must avoid the use of cheap and low quality colours in their products to avoid penalties,” he added.

Notably, ahead of the festival season when sweets and other confectionary items are purchased in bulk, many unscrupulous elements sense a golden opportunity and try to take consumers’ health for granted by resorting to adulteration.

An executive member of a city-based NGO, who did not wish to be named, said, “In case of mouth-watering sweets, which are predominantly made with milk and its products, adulteration goes virtually unhindered. We need to comprehend the magnitude of the menace that is spreading at a high velocity. In spite of the Food Safety and Standards Act 2006, nothing seems to have changed on the ground. Adulterators keep on exploiting the gullible consumers and the administration seems to be in a deep slumber.”

There approximately 200 sweets shop and confectioners in Bathinda district.

The District Health Officer said, “We have a mechanism in place for collecting samples and testing them to deter adulteration in sweets. But, residents also need to be aware of the products they buy as such malpractices prevail only when there is demand in the market. We have conducted awareness drives in Rampura, Maur and Rama Mandi. In a day or two, it will be conducted for city-based sweets shop owners and manufactures.”

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