The Punjab Government today announced to provide Rs. 5 crore for the modernization of the Food Safety Department and initiated the first ever mobile testing lab facility to check the adulterated food products across the state.
Disclosing this here today on the occasion of capability building programme organized by the health department, Health and Family Welfare Minister Brahm Mohindra said that adulteration of food is a cause of concern for it is directly connected with the health and life of citizens. He said that by ensuring the supply of nutritious and unadulterated food products, many deadly diseases like Cancer, Hepatitis, Gastric disorders can be curbed.
The Health Minister said that in a bid to provide relevant and practical insights into food safety standards, management system, modern techniques and related legal provisions under Food Safety Standards and Regulations Act 2006 & 2011, the Punjab government has decided to organize capability building programme-cum-special training for the assistant food commissioners, food safety officers and designated officers of the health department. He said that the previous government had never imparted any such training to the officers of food safety department. ‘After attending this training programme, the officers would be able to attain uniform pattern of Food Safety & Standards Act across the State’, added health minister.
Mohindra further said that the state government is all set to recruit 20 food safety officers for the smooth functioning of food safety branch. He said that the drive against adulteration has already been intensified in the State and zero tolerance would be maintained against adulteration of food articles. He ordered the concerned officers that all complaints regarding food adulteration should be addressed on priority basis within stipulated period of time.
The Minister also said that in the last 10 years, quality of food had gone downward at large scale. He said that 1458 samples of food items were found unsafe and adulterated in the state during 2016. He said that licensing & Registration fee had never been used by the previous government and now, the congress government has decided to use public money for the benefit of public.
On the occasion, Anjali Bhawara, Principal Secretary, Health instructed the officers to ensure sensitization of public through Information, Education & Communication activities and registering their complaints against adulteration over on-line portal of department. She asked the officials to ensure good health of people of Punjab by strict enforcement of Food Safety & Standards Act with an iron hand.
In his address, Varun Roojam, Commissioner, Food and Drug Administration said that food safety department should not confine its activities to raiding food shops only instead they should concentrate on bringing positive results by acting against miscreants who are playing with lives of people. ‘It is the duty of officers to ensure sampling of eatables consumed such as milk and dairy products etc. To check milk adulteration, health department would act tough against the perpetrators’, added Roojam.