In a bid to provide unadulterated milk products to the people of Punjab, a special meeting, one of its kind was held with the representatives of Halwai associations and sweets shop owners from all across the State under the chairmanship of Mr KS Pannu, Mission Director Tandarust Punjab and was co chaired by Mr Varun Roojam, Commissioner Food and Drug Administration. Representatives of Dairy development department and Progressive Farmers Association were also present on the occasion.The opening spell involved friendly interaction and exchange of ideas between the stakeholders on the issue of adulteration of milk and milk products followed by the corrective measures required to curb the same.The Halwai associations and sweets shop owners in unison stressed upon the need to cull the health department out of the penalizing role and transform into an educator and guide towards implementation of Food Safety Act. They said that none of the sweet shop owners would risk their hard earned name and faith of customers at any cost; whatever samples fail is due to the lack of awareness on the type of edible colours and the permitted quality other raw materials to be used.Conceding immediately to their request, Mr. Pannu assured that relevant literature in vernacular language would be circulated to all the stake holders. He motivated them to support the Tandarust Punjab Mission for the sake of posterity. He brought into their notice that in the past one month a close watch was kept on the activities involving production of milk and milk products in the State and it was observed that much of the spurious khoya and paneer is being flooded into Punjab from neighboring areas. He said that along with taking an action on the suppliers of spurious milk products the buyers in the state would also not be spared.
So, the meeting was especially aimed at guiding the halwis and sweet shop owners to abstain from purchase of such items. He informed that soon under Tandarust Punjab Mission machines would be installed at various places in districts wherein consumers would get the samples of milk and milk products self checked for ascertaining the quality. He advised all the sweet shop owners to display the name and contact details of their milk and khoya suppliers so that they may come clear of the allegations of using sub standard products.Assuring all support from Commissionerate of Food and Drug Administration, Mr. Roojam made it clear that in near future greater checks would be undertaken to monitor the quality of sweets and milk products. Guiding all present towards ensuring proper registration and licencing, he informed that roughly only about fifty percent of the halwais and sweet shop owners have got the mandatory registration done. The non registration itself invites action, said he and advised them to display their registration number in their shops. He also asked them to follow the proper food handling methods and ensure hygienic food preparation along with proper disposal of waste. He informed that a strict vigilance is being done from headquarter level that none of the shopkeepers are harassed by the inspecting teams. Monitoring is also being done to decimate the possibility of manipulation in sample analysis reports. Informing about the forthcoming exercise under Food Safety, Mr. Roojam said that soon under Tandarust Punjab Mission machines for checking the quality of cooking medium would be sent to all the districts. He said that it has been observed that either due to ignorance or otherwise the snacks outlets deep fry articles by using the same oil multiple times. But, this is extremely harmful so the machines would be used to check the quality of oil. These machines generate report on the spot within minutes and would be a boon to check use of sub standard cooking medium.