Food adulteration case: Court upholds trader`s jail term
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Last Updated: Tuesday, March 29, 2011, 13:18
New Delhi: A city court has upheld a year-long jail term to a grocer, caught selling adulterated 'arhar dal' by mixing a banned colouring agent 'metanil yellow', known for its brain damaging potentials.

Additional Sessions Judge J R Aryan also upheld a fine of Rs 10,000 imposed upon grocer Subhash Chand Garg of Sonia Vihar in east Delhi by a magisterial court, following his conviction under various provisions of Prevention of Food Adulteration Act (PFA) on March 12, 2010.

Dismissing Garg's appeal against his conviction, ASJ Aryan said, "PFA prohibited use of any colouring matter to food article except specifically permitted. Dal arhar did not fall in the category of those permitted food article. Also, metanil yellow was absolutely a prohibited colour."

Garg was found selling the pulse with harmful colouring agent on July 29, 2000, when a food inspector purchased a sample of dal arhar from his grocery shop 'Shree Balaji Trading Co' at Sonia Vihar here.

The magisterial court convicted Garg after the arhar dal sample confiscated from him was found adulterated with colouring agent metanil yellow by two independent testing labs - Public Analyst in Delhi as well as Central Food Laboratory (CFL), Kolkata.

The CFL also found the presence of mineral oil and mycotoxin in the dal sample.

Garg challenged his conviction contending that the two reports varied as CFL, Kolkata, also showed the presence of mineral oil and mycotoxin in the dal sample.

The ASJ dismissed the contention saying, "the report by Public Analyst shows that test for the presence of mineral oil has not been conducted.

"If test for a particular ingredient had not been taken up by the PA and taken up by CFL, that may not suggest variance in two reports so as to reflect upon the representative nature of the sample," the court said.

While special public prosecutor pointed out that as per the provisions of the PFA the CFL's report superseded the report by the PA, the court emphasised that in any case "the sample dal arhar has been found adulterated in both reports."

Garg also contended that Tartrazine was a water soluble colour and as a matter of usual common practice Dal Arhar would be washed before it is cooked and thus the colour would be washed away.

He also contended that the Food Department should try to find out the real culprits when retailer is found carrying business only in a small quantity.

The court, while refusing to interfere with the sentence, said, "That by itself would not absolve the vendor of adulterated food article merely because food inspector did not proceed further to know the manufacture of such adulterated article."


First Published: Tuesday, March 29, 2011, 13:18

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