Thiruvananthapuram | Food safety squads have been appointed in all 14 districts of Kerala to ensure that there is no sale of the banned Maggi noodles in the state, Health minister V S Shivakumar said today.
The district level squads would conduct searches at all retail outlets selling food products for a week from tomorrow to ensure that there is no sale of Maggi noodles, which was into controversy after lead and MSG content were found beyond permissible limit in some states. Noodles of all brands would also be subjected to stringent tests, Shivakumar said here.
The minister chaired a meeting here with Food and Civil Supplies minister Anoop Jacob and other senior officials of food and safety and civil supplies departments. Searches would also be conducted in hotels and restaurants to check if there was an excess use of taste enhancers including MSG, Shivakumar said in a statement here.
Kerala government issued an order to stop distribution of Maggi noodles from over 1,000 retail outlets in the state in the wake of Uttar Pradesh FSDA finding monosodium glutamate and lead above permissible limits in the popular snack. The Food Safety commissioner has been directed to submit a report to the government on a daily basis with regard to the searches.
The minister also warned that vegetables coming from other states would be banned if they were found to have pesticide residues above permissible limits. The ban would include their source of supply and markets, he said.
Vehicles carrying vegetables would be allowed through the check posts only if they disclose the sources and markets, he said. The meeting also decided to take steps to ensure speedy disposal of pending cases relating to adulteration. The Health secretary has been entrusted to take steps in this regard after consulting the Kerala High court Registrar General.
A meeting, to be chaired by Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, would be convened to review the report of officials who visit farms from other states from where vegetables are sourced by Kerala, he said. Besides banning vegetables with pesticide content, the government has also made it mandatory for fruits and vegetables traders from other states to register or get a license for themselves.
They have been given a month’s time to complete the registration formalities. Vehicles carrying fruits and vegetables from other states will have to register as per food safety and quality act and this has also been made mandatory, Shivakumar said, adding all vehicles have to obtain the registration before July 15. Health secretary K Elangovan, Food and civil supplies secretary, G Kamalvardhan Rao and Food safety commissioner K Anil Kumar were among those who attended the meeting.
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