Nellore: The state government is hardly paying any attention to recruit sufficient number of food safety inspectors despite regular complaints over substandard ingredients and stored items such as meat and chicken being used by the eateries, which are causing serious health problems, besides adulterated oils and other food stuff being marketed by companies. According to a senior official of Food Safety Standards Authority of AP, there are 560 food safety officers in Tamil Nadu, about 350 in Maharastra, 175 in Kerala and more than 275 in Karnataka.
However their number is a startling 29 out of sanctioned strength 65 in Andhra Pradesh and they were not provided with any facilities, be it vehicles to move around or manpower. For instance the posts of office superintendent, clerk, and peon have been lying vacant in every district since a long time and the FSI’s has to play all these roles and also attend to court cases personally and secure witnesses and serve the summons too. They are not provided with legal advisors too. As per the rules there should be one FSO for every one lakh population, which means AP is need of around 500 FSO’s but there is no move to hire additional staff yet.
A big city like Visakapatnam is being handled by two food inspectors and their number is only one at Eluru and Srikakulam. The absence of FSO’s has become boon to the hoteliers and the traders among others coming under jurisdiction and involved in malpractices. The available FSO’s had collected 152 samples from different traders and food outlets and cases have been booked against 32 out them after the FSSAI lab reports confirmed either adulteration or substandard quality between April and December last year in SPSR Nellore district.
Adulteration is rampant in the edible oils and those used for puja purpose. Adulteration was also found in tea powder, maida, ghee, cakes, biscuits, water and fruits. According to an official of FCCI, adulteration refers to substandard, misbranded pertaining to claims such as the particular oil is good for heart.