FSSAI heightens food safety vigilance during festival season | India News

NEW DELHI: Food safety regulators Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has asked its senior officials to exercise strict food safety vigilance on the manufacturing and sale of food items meant to be consumed during the ongoing festival seasonparticularly “kuttu atta, singhada atta, bhagar/samak ke chawal (barnyard millet)” under their respective jurisdictions.
They have been asked to conduct more frequent inspections and sampling drives to ensure that such products are safe to consume and strictly adhere to the respective food product standards.
Many people opt for fasting during the festival period and demand for food articles like samvat rice, buckwheat flour (kuttu atta), chestnut flour (singhara atta), fruits, vegetables, dry fruits and nuts — makhana, milk and milk products, and ready to eat snacks such as potato chips, sabudana namkeen mix, among others, tends to increase.
Driven by economic motives, some unscrupulous food business operators (FBOs), according to the regulator, exploit the surge in demand by resorting to adulteration and selling stale and inferior quality food products.
“Further instances have come where poor storage and handling practices lead to contamination in the said food articles. This unethical practice not only jeopardizes consumer health but also undermines the sanctity of the festival,” FSSAI said in a letter to their respective state and UT units .
The food safety regulator asserted said that looking into past food poisoning incidents, the majority of such incidents during the festival season (especially Navratri) have been linked to the consumption of kuttu atta where the possible cause of poisoning is the sale of old stock (stale /infested with fungus leading to contamination of mycotoxins and other harmful secondary metabolites).
Stock that is not properly stored or kept under hygienic conditions also results in a fungal infestation.