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Violators of food safety norms go scot-free

 

CHANDIGARH: If you have been digging into your favourite chicken dish which has not been prepared under hygienic conditions, the seller under the new food safety act can easily go scotfree despite being under the scanner. Reason — no challan booklet for imposing fine has been approved by the heath authorities.

The Food Safety and Standards Act of India (FSSAI) in itself is ‘powerful,’ with the penalty cost having been raised from Rs 500 to Rs 1,00,000. Though seven different food samples have failed in the city following the implementation of the Act, the sellers have been let off with just a few words of warning.

The FSSAI which came into effect on 5 August, 2011 has proved to be ineffective in the absence of a challan booklet to penalize people selling food that fails safety norms. According to officials in the health department, a letter has been forwarded for legal clearance. In the absence of a challan booklet, no fine has been imposed on anyone since the Act came into force.

Prior to the FSSAI, the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act entitled food inspectors to impose a maximum fine of Rs 500. However, the challan was issued through a court. “This new act is a fast track system as the deputy commissioner is entitled to impose a fine of upto Rs 1,00,000. Be it open or packaged food, all standards have to be met,” said a food inspector of the UT health department.

He added, “But none of the sellers whose food samples have failed this time have been fined in the absence of a challan booklet.”

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