Thiruvananthapuram | Kerala government has decided to bring anganwadies, school messes, college and hostel canteens under the purview of food safety law as part of its ambitious food safety drives. License or registration would be made mandatory for all entities that handle food and strict action would be initiated against those which do not follow the standards specified in the Food Safety and Standards Act of India, state Health Minister V S Sivakumar said here today.
We have decided to bring anganwadies, school messes and college and hostel canteens under the purview of license and registration system. Our objective is to bring all entities that handle food–from wayside eateries to five star hotels– under the registration, he said. Registration or license has already been made mandatory for vegetable traders and the vehicles which transport vegetables to the state from outside, he said while participating in the MoU signing ceremony between state Commissionarate of Food Safety and Mysore-based Central Food Technological Research Institute (CFTRI).
As per the MoU, the Commisionarate, under the Department of Health and Family Welfare, would collaborate with CFTRI to develop methods of food sample analysis, train laboratory staff and upgrade the state laboratories, he said. Kerala is the first state in the country to sign such an MoU with the central agency. It is part of our intense initiatives to ensure safe food for public.
We can not build up a healthy society if the food available to people is not safe, he said. The minister said the Operation Ruchi, a drive launched by the government to check spurious food articles and arrival of vegetables containing pesticides from neighbouring states, was a great success. The inflow of pesticide-ridden vegetables from neighbouring states has come down to some extent due to our regular monitoring at check posts, he said.
In the wake of increasing instances of food adulteration, Kerala government had recently launched a mass drive to regulate and restrict use of chemicals and other harmful ingredients in food articles sold and check the arrival of pesticide-ridden vegetables from neighbouring states. A series of raids had been conducted and several eateries and vegetable shops had been either closed or served notice across the state under the drive.
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