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Your favourite food stall may be giving safety norms a miss

28,September, 2019

Visakhapatnam: Most of the food sold in food stalls in Vizag is not registered with the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI). The information came to light in a survey carried out by the Consumer Rights Organisation (CRO) in the city recently.

As per the existing rules, any food product that is manufactured, processed, packed and sold should be registered with the FSSAI. They must also adhere to the legal metrology (packaging commodities) rules of 2011.

While the FSSAI certificate is awarded to regulate manufacture, storage, distribution, sale and import of food, so as to ensure safety of food items, the legal metrology rules give directions on packaging. The legal metrology rules make it mandatory to mention ingredients, expiration date, place of production, maximum retail price and a consumer care number on the packaged food commodity.

When food stalls were surveyed in different parts of the city, it was found that the norms are being flouted rampantly. The survey further showed that the few shops which did have FSSAI registration or licences, their registrations are outdated and have not been renewed.

Vice-president of CRO, Vikas Pandey said, “Nearly 95% shopkeepers are selling food items brought from outside. They are not aware of how the food was processed and the conditions in which they were made. Around 5% shopkeepers are preparing the food themselves, but they do not follow the guidelines laid down by FSSAI and legal metrology.”

Speaking to TOI, assistant food controller, Visakhapatnam, G Nandaji said, “Every food business operator must ensure that they have been certified by FSSAI. For petty shops, hawkers, vendors or those whose annual turnover is less than Rs 12 lakh, it is mandatory to get FSSAI registration. For food establishments whose turnover is more than Rs 12 lakh, it is mandatory to get FSSAI licences .

Adding that an inspection of food establishments will be carried out by food officials, Nandaji said, “During the inspection, if it is found that norms are not being adhered to, a notice will be issued to the respective shop establishment. If the shop does not comply even after the notice period, they will be penalised.”

Deputy controller of the legal metrology department, Madhusudan Reddy said, “Be it small-scale or large-scale food business, the packaging rules are mandatory for food which is packed and sold. Inspections will be carried out by the department. In case of violation, cases will be registered.”

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