Task force to submit suggestions in 45 days

NEW DELHI, DECEMBER 15:

The Government will revisit the food safety Act to make it more stringent to check growing instances of adulteration and contamination.

“Two days ago, we set up a task force, which will submit its suggestions in 45 days, which will be then be put up in public domain for inviting comments. Imported food items will also be covered by this,” Health Minister JP Nadda informed the Lok Sabha on Monday. Replying to a calling by PV Midhun Reddy of YSR Cong and Satyapal Singh of BJP, Nadda admitted that food adulteration and contamination were one reason for the rising burden of non-communicable diseases across the country.

“It is also proposed to revisit the punishment stipulated for milk adulteration and make it more stringent,” Nadda said, adding that the Government would focus creating infrastructure and manpower to face the challenge, such as setting up testing labs under public-private partnership.

Nadda further added that 13,571 out of 72,200 food samples analysed in 2013-14 were adulterated, resulting in launch of 10,325 civil and criminal cases.

He also informed the House that the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India was at present engaged in an exercise for harmonisation of the maximum residue limit of pesticides in food commodities.

Earlier, Reddy said the threat from adulteration and contamination of water, milk, oil, etc, was “greater than the threat from terrorism”, as it would take more lives in the long run.

Terming the unregulated use of pesticides and antibiotics as “slow poison” and the use of hormone injections on cows to increase milk yield, as a more “serious crime than cow slaughter”, Reddy particularly urged the Government to ensure “Shudh Bharat” (Pure India)” along with the initiative, “Swachch Bharat.”

 

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