New Delhi: In a shocking revelation, the Food Safety Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has found that around 13% of food stuff is contaminated across the country. The results of the study came a day after another survey found that milk, an important nutritional component, was found to be adulterated across almost all major cities.
As per the data released by the FSSAI, the high percentage of adulteration in food samples puts a question mark on the safety measures taken by the health ministry.
The testing showed adulteration rates as high as 40% in Chhattisgarh, 34% in Uttarakhand, 29% in Uttar Pradesh, 23% in Rajasthan and 20% in West Bengal and Himachal Pradesh. Besides, nearly 17% of the food samples tested in Bihar and Chandigarh, 16% in Nagaland, 15% in Punjab, Madhya Pradesh and Orissa, 14% in Haryana, 12% in Tamil Nadu and 10% in Maharashtra were found to be adulterated. Interestingly, adulteration rates in Delhi were low at 4%, while in Karnataka it was just 5%.
FSSAI examined over 1.17 lakh samples of food articles and tested them in 2010. The result was shocking that around 13% of the samples were found to be contaminated.
If we take a look at studies on food adulteration in the previous three years, the rates have shown a steady increase. In 2008, 94,000 samples were examined of which over 8,300 were found to be adulterated (8.79%). In 2009, 1.13 lakh samples were examined of which 11.14% were adulterated. In 2010, 1.17 lakh samples were examined of which over 14,000 samples (12.65%) were adulterated.
Now that the reality behind what we eat has come out, the indirect poison that we intake unknowingly, has to be corrected with immediate steps. As part of this initiative, the health ministry has launched the National Food Science and Risk Assessment Centre (NFSRAC) during the 12th Five-Year Plan which will cost around Rs 155 crore.
NFSRAC will be the storehouse of all food standards and will carry out analysis of food surveillance data received from laboratories.
This observation is expected to generate data regarding food hazards and possible outbreaks of food borne diseases which will help establish public health priorities for prevention, intervention and control.