To ensure quality food to the people, as per the directives of Chief Minister Punjab, under Tandrust Punjab Mission, the Food Safety Wing of Health Department is undertaking novel methods to improve food safety, informed KS Pannu, Commissioner Food and drug Administration Punjab.Pannu said that Food Safety Commissionerate has on one hand tightened the noose around adulterators by accelerating the frequency of sampling of the food products, the subsequent testing from State Food Lab and consequent necessary action. Going by statistics, he informed that 15 Convictions with 6 month imprisonment and Rs.50,000 fine in each case was imposed between January 2019 to January 2020. He said that during the last year, 8697 samples of food articles were seized, out of which 1720 were found to be sub-standard while 69 were found unsafe. Going by book, 2162 cases have been lodged against the adulterators and fine worth Rs. 33003200/- was imposed during the year.Since, food safety in the State is the major focus of the Government so on the other hand coupled to enforcement of law, sensitization and awareness drives are on, said he. Pannu informed that the Commissionerate of Food & Drug Administration has started undertaking awareness training of Food Business Operators on every Friday. In these camps Food Business Operators are sensitized to improve the hygiene and food safety standards.
Other novel initiatives include a project called Street Food Vendors Training Programme which has been started in Bathinda under 'Tandrust Punjab Mission'. The street food vendors are being trained on the personal and premises hygiene and also the safety and quality of food served to the customers, under this training programme.Besides, a programme called 'Verified Milk Vendors Scheme' has been taken up in collaboration with FSSAI in Amritsar. Under this scheme, all the milk vendors are being registered. The registered milk vendors shall be given training on various aspects of food safety and standards. An identity card shall be given to the registered vendor.He said that cooking oil which is reused more than two times by various vendors for frying of food contains trans-fats which are dangerous to the human health. The disposal of used cooking oil has always been a challenge. Therefore, in a bid to resolve this problem, Punjab has tied up with a company which procures the used cooking oil from the vendors and turns it into bio diesel. Every month about 100 tonnes of used cooking oil is being procured from Punjab for making the biodiesel, said he.