50 firms busted for selling inferior foodThe Department of Food Technology and Quality Control (DFTQC) launched legal proceedings against 50 firms for selling substandard food products in the first four months of the fiscal year.
The Department of Food Technology and Quality Control (DFTQC) launched legal proceedings against 50 firms for selling substandard food products in the first four months of the fiscal year.
Among those facing action are state-owned Dairy Development Corporation (DDC) and well-known private firms such as Nepal Dairy of Dhapakhel, Nandan Sweets Shop of Lalitpur, Kathmandu Dairy, Kathmandu and Sujal Dairy of Pokhara.
The department collected 903 food specimens during the period mid-July to mid-November, out of which 115 samples were found to be unsafe to the extent of posing a serious risk to human health. According to the department, most of the unsafe foods
were edible oils, pulses and dairy products.
The department has filed cases against 13 firms producing edible oils, 10 firms making pulses and related food, nine firms producing dairy products, four firms producing bottled water, three firms producing fruit-related products and three sweets makers. The other firms are manufacturers of packaged foods. DFTQC Spokesperson Purna Chandra Wasti said the department filed cases against these firms at the concerned District Administration Offices under the Food Act 1967. Among the total number of cases, 17 were filed in the Kathmandu Valley, 15 in Hetauda, eight in Bhairahawa, four in Dhangadhi and three each in Nepalgunj and Biratnagar.
“We have filed a case against DDC as its milk product was found to be contaminated with coliform bacteria during the inspection,” Wasti said.
The department filed six cases against Agro Processing and Industries in Bara district. It took action against the firm on the charge of selling unhygienic processed sunflower oil and imported mustard oil. Similarly, the department has filed three cases against Churiyamai Bakery Udyog in Hetauda. The bakery has been accused of not labelling its products.
According to Wasti, one of the most common problems with food products was the presence of coliform bacteria in bottled water. Similarly, processed milk was found to be contaminated with coliform bacteria and had insufficient solid-not-fat while cooking oil had a high concentration of fatty acids and peroxides.
During the review period, the department inspected 1,688 firms and business outlets. It provided new import licences to import 13,804 food items.
The department has identified poor quarantine laboratories at customs points as being among the main difficulties in keeping tabs on the imported food business.
Selling of substandard foods by street vendors and highway eateries and increasing use of antibiotics and other chemicals in agro products and livestock are among other common problems in the food business, it said.
Disruptions in the electricity supply at food testing laboratories has made it difficult to produce prompt test reports of suspected food items, the department said.