Visakhapatnam: After the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams came under the ambit of the FSSAI (Food Safety and Standards Authority of India), it may soon be the turn of other famous temples in the state as the FSS Act defines these temples which offer ‘prasadam’ as Food Business Operators (FBO).
Recently, the FSSAI directed the TTD to procure a food licence and comply with all the rules and regulations, being an FBO, to distribute the laddu prasadam. There have been frequent allegations of the declining quality of prasadam at various temples of the state. While this move from the FSSAI is expected to enhance the quality and hygiene of these holy offerings in a scientific way, some staunch traditionalists do not see the need for the FSSAI’s intervention to ensure the quality of prasadam.
The prime catalyst for the sudden turn of events was a complaint filed by Bengaluru-based RTI activist, T. Narasimha Murthy, who raised concerns over the quality of laddu prasadam of the TTD.
Deputy food controller K.N. Swaroop informed that the FSS Act is applicable to all temples of the state. “All those temples, which offer prasadam, will come under the purview of the Act. The same order was issued to the TTD and directed them to obtain a licence,” Mr Swaroop added.
Sri Kanaka Maha Lakshmi temple executive officer, S. Jyothi Madhavi commented that they do not have any objection with food safety officials carrying out quality checks. “But bringing the temples under the umbrella of FSS Act may not go down well with some people,” Ms Jyothi Madhavi added.
In the letter addressed to the Commissioner of Food Safety of AP, which is available with DC, FSMS (Food Safety Management System) Director informed; “As per the definition of ‘food’ under FSS Act, laddu which is presented as ‘prasadam’ at a temples is ‘food’. As per the FSS Act, the TTD is a FBO and has to adhere to the provisions of the Food Safety and Standards Act. The applicability of Act is not affected whether the food is purchased or distributed at free of cost. TTD, therefore, has to obtain a licence and fulfil all the responsibilities of a FBO as stipulated in FSS Act as well as comply with its rules and regulations.”
Even though it is not mandatory, the food safety officials have been currently inspecting the renowned temples during the festivals....