Half-baked safety standards & nonchalant attitudes to hygiene: Is every food item prone to contamination?

Wade through the busy road leading to Azadpur Mandi in the Capital, Asia's largest wholesale market for fruits and vegetables, and you will see different varieties being sold by the roadside. Also for sale are food products such as ketchup, pickles, spices, dry fruits, jaggery, pasta, syrups, herbs and edible oil — all in loose form. Flies, dirt and sweat complete the picture of this wholesale market where trucks can be seen entering every now and then.

Bang opposite the mandi is Bharat Test House (BTH), one of the 82 labs (most of them private) accredited by National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL) and notified by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), the country's apex food regulator.

Enter the small building and you will likely bump into KK Juneja, head of the food division at BTH. Talk about the Maggi controversy —and food safety — and the burly man with 50 years of experience in food testing opens up. "The Maggi revelations have woken up the masses but they are just the tip of the iceberg. Thousands of products are available in loose form, which are toxic and need quality checks," says Juneja, pointing towards the mandi.............Read more


Source web page: The Economic Times

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