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Every 5th food sample found adulterated and misbranded

New Delhi :One out of every five samples of food items tested by public food safety labs in the country has been found “adulterated and misbranded”, with maximum in Uttar Pradesh followed by Punjab and Madhya Pradesh.

Over Rs 10.93 crore penalty has been imposed in 2,795 cases, while culprits have been convicted in 1,402 cases so far this year, according to the testing report of public laboratories released by the Food Safety Standards Authority of India (FSSAI).

As per the report compiled by the state governments, food safety labs received 83,265 samples, of which 74,010 were tested till November 24 of 2015.

Out of the tested samples, the labs found 14,599 samples were “adulterated and misbranded”, the data showed.
A maximum 4,119 samples were found adulterated and misbranded in Uttar Pradesh, followed by Punjab (1,458), Madhya Pradesh (1,412), Gujarat (1,243), Maharashtra (1,162) and Tamil Nadu (1,047).

The penalty of Rs 10.93 crore has been imposed in 2,795 cases, and maximum fine of Rs 5.98 crore was imposed for cases reported in Uttar Pradesh.

As many as 2,676 criminal cases and 7,860 civil suits were registered, of which convictions were reported in 1,402 cases, the report added.

Issues related to quality of food and FSSAI came into the limelight after it imposed the ban on Maggi in June this year, which was later lifted by the Bombay High Court.

In August this year, the Supreme Court junked the FSSAI’s advisory that asked manufacturers to get clearance for products even if the ingredients were already approved or deemed safe.

The government is also mulling Rs 1,750-crore proposal to strengthen central food regulator FSSAI as well as state bodies.