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Poison on your plate

29,November, 2019

New report from food regulator comes as a shock to residents of Tamil Nadu

CHENNAI: FOOD Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) on Tuesday dropped a bombshell saying over 45 per cent of food samples taken for study last year in Tamil Nadu did not meet the required standards with 12.7 % coming up as adulterated and unsafe for consumption.

While FSSAI report on National Milk Safety and Quality Survey released last month revealed the name of toxic contents in samples, the regulatory body has not mentioned the hazardous content in the samples.

However, the report noted that Disease Burden Epidemiology Reference Group of World Health Organisation has identified 31 food-borne hazards.

“The group has found that frequent causes of food-borne illness are diarrhoeal disease agents, particularly norovirus and Campylobacter spp,” the report said.

Organisms from cattle

“The samples mostly get adulterated because of organisms found in cattle and agriculture field. However, some samples may also contain chemicals used in the local market,” said a food safety officer.

The food regulator blamed the absence of food testing labs and inadequate enforcement authorities for poor quality.

While food safety officials remained tight-lipped on the names of food items, they said steps are being taken to increase vigil and promote hygienic practices among farmers and traders.

On Tuesday, TN Foodgrain Merchants’ Association submitted a petition to Agricultural Production Commissioner Gagandeep Singh Bedi seeking government intervention in protecting merchants.

Association state president S P Jayaprakasam told Express that most of the food items which failed the quality test, including foodgrains, vegetables, fruits are contaminated by fertilizers and chemicals used by farmers. "The FSSAI should release a detailed report of the samples," he said.

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