Quality inspectors book 136 firms for selling inferior food productsThe Department of Food Technology and Quality Control booked 136 firms across the country on the charge of selling substandard food items harmful to human health between mid-July and mid-March this fiscal year.
The Department of Food Technology and Quality Control booked 136 firms across the country on the charge of selling substandard food items harmful to human health between mid-July and mid-March this fiscal year. As per the department, it initiated action against the firms based on the 1,301 specimens collected over the period. “Based on the defects observed during a lab test of the samples, the department filed cases against the firms at the concerned District Administration Offices,” said Purna Chandra Wasti, spokesperson for the department.
Department records show that most of the defects were observed in edible oil, bottled water and dairy products. Among the firms against which action was taken, 31 are related to vegetable oil and ghee, 30 are related to bottled water and 11 are related to dairy products. Sales of poor quality bottled water are encountered mainly during the dry season from January to April due to shortages of water, Wasti said. Low pH value, contamination with coliform bacteria and absence of proper labeling on the containers are the most common problems seen in bottled water.
As per department officials, many sellers even fill the jars with contaminated water directly at the source instead of at the water treatment plant as demand surges during this time. Department rules require bottled water suppliers to maintain their water treatment plants and put appropriate labels on the supply vessels, but they often flout them.
Firms selling packed food, spices and animal feed were among those booked by the department for marketing inferior products. The regulator checked factories and outlets operating in the Kathmandu Valley, Dhading, Chitwan, Kavrepalanchok, Tanahu and Kaski using a mobile laboratory van. Quality inspectors destroyed 427 litres of edible oil on the spot after it was found to be unfit for human consumption.
The Department of Food Technology and Quality Control said it had recently received eight complaints against Frooti and Slice brand beverages, spices, bottled water and edible oils. “The department has collected specimens from the concerned location and started an investigation,” Wasti said.
The department also banned the import of 15 brands of packed food products after conducting a lab test of the samples and finding them to be unfit for human consumption. The banned products include oil, biscuit, candy, noodles, packed fish and sauce. The department awarded green stickers to only three among the 212 roadside hotels and restaurants inspected, indicating that the food they sell are free of risk.