On-spot testing vans keeping check on food adulteration
Srinagar, Jan 21: To check food adulteration, the Drug and Food Control Organisation (DFCO) claims to have made four Mobile Food Testing Vans functional in Kashmir division.
According to a government report, five well-equipped vans have been procured through J&K Medical Supplies Corporation in 2017-2018.
Besides, Rs 6 crore was released for strengthening the existing Food Testing Laboratories at Jammu and Srinagar in 2016-17.
The van comes fully equipped with gadgets such as a milk analyser, hot air oven, hot plate, mixer grinder, digital weighing scale, power generator, air conditioner, and many more.
These vans are used to tests common adulterants in milk, water, edible oils, and other food items, and make it possible to draw on-the-spot samples and generate instant reports of the analysis.
The vans make rounds of city and other districts to collect samples for quality tests.
Moreover, the department has deputed a mobile food testing team consists of a food safety officer, lab technician, and a van driver to handle the vans.
“We have a food safety officer, technician and a driver. We don’t need more staff for these vans,” said Deputy Commissioner Food Safety Kashmir, Irfana Ahmed.
As per her, four vans are functional in Kashmir division, running on different routes and districts.
“We have vans at the division level. We are sending these vans to different districts and are also covering different areas of the city. Recently, we have sent these food testing vans to Jawahar Nagar, Raj Bagh and Parimpora. People who want to test the food products can test freely with the help of these vans,” she said.
Jammu and Kashmir Drug Controller, Lotika Khajuria, said, “The mobile food testing vans have been kept for surveillance and awareness. One van has been provided by food safety authority of India. Three are procured by state government.”
She said they depute these vehicles to check sale of substandard food items in markets.
“These vans check milk products, spices, edible oils, and colouring agents. If substandard food is found, our inspectors carry out crackdowns. These vans are not run daily, but we have chalked out a timetable for them,” she said.
The mobile vans, as per FSSAI, are meant to strengthen the country’s food testing infrastructure and “enhance surveillance activities and outreach even in far-flung areas”.