By Arun Pratap Singh
Dehradun, 7 Nov: Every year, the Food Safety department launches a ‘campaign’ to collect samples of food items like sweets etc., before the major festivals of Diwali and Holi. Scores of samples are collected, but hardly anyone is strictly punished for adulteration. Samples are collected before the festivals and sent to the laboratories for testing. But the story ends there. It takes months for the reports to come and hardly any follow up action is taken to penalise any crime of food adulteration. This festive season too, the food safety department is again “active”. Today under the directions of the designated officer of the Dehradun district, GC Kandwal, some teams led by Food Safety Officer of the Dehradun Nagar Nigam Ramesh Singh raided some sweets shops in Clock Tower area, Defence Colony and Deep Nagar and collected samples of the sweets which would be sent to the laboratories for testing.
While the drive will continue till Diwali, it remains to be seen how many traders are actually penalised for adulteration. It is worth noting that huge quantities of synthetic Mawa (condensed milk) makes its way to Uttarakhand from neighbouring districts of Uttar Pradesh during the festive season but apart from recovery of some small quantities of Mawa, no concrete action is ever taken to stop this. In fact, people who used to buy huge quantities of traditional milk based sweets during the Diwali time for consumption as well as gifts for loved ones and business associates, have largely switched over to purchase of dry fruits, branded packed non-milk sweets such as Soan Papdi for the fear of adulteration of milk based food items. It is high time, that a robust system is put in place to prevent adulteration of food items right through the year.