TT: How serious are you about preventing sale of adulterated food, especially during the festive season?
KCSM: We are serious about it all the year round with special focus during festivities. On August 7, for the first time, we prosecuted 15 sweet shops and manufacturing units in Jamshedpur, mopping up fines to the tune of Rs 4.15 lakh
How do you plan to curb adulteration in edibles?
We have a two-pronged strategy. Intensify raids and food sample collection and create awareness among manufacturers and shopkeepers through sessions on the penalties under Food Safety Act 2006
What are these awareness sessions like?
We call shopkeepers to see technical personnel from the state food testing lab demonstrate some simple methods to detect adulteration
How long does it take for a lab report to come?
A week. Samples are sent to the food testing lab at Namkum, Ranchi
How long does it take to prosecute guilty manufacturers and shopkeepers?
It is difficult to set a time frame as it depends on arguments and counter-arguments at hearings. On an average, three months
Any monthly target?
We send at least 20 samples for tests a month
There is shortage of health staff in the food safety department. How do you cope?
Yes, thereís manpower crunch. But the state health department has recently decided to empower in-charges of primary health centres and community health centres to collect samples. Thatís helpful
Yes, some food safety officials have been manhandled by shopkeepers. Now, we seek permission from the DC to raid any outlet. Our security becomes the onus of the administration
Can food testing officials be influenced?
Not impossible. But I personally visit sites where sample collections are done to ensure no unfair means are adopted
Where can the consumer complain if edible items are substandard?
The consumer can complain verbally or in writing to the additional chief medical officer or the DC. We protect confidentiality