Is food in J&K safe?
Srinagar: The High Court has directed the state government to report to it about the steps taken with regard to implementation of Food Safety Standards Act of 2006 file compliance report on steps taken to implement Food Safety and Standard Act.
In its order, a division bench comprising Justices Virender Singh and Muzaffar Hussain Attar, the state government has been asked to file a compliance report with regard to implementation of Food Safety Act within two weeks.
The bench has issued notices to the respondents asking them to file their reports within two weeks and has also ordered the case be listed for hearing immediately after two weeks subject to the availability of the bench.
The order has come in a Public Interest Litigation filed by Advocate Sheikh Muhammad Ayoub, seeking directions for implementation of Food Safety Standards Act 2006 and Food Safety & Standards Rules 2011.
Earlier Advocate Ayoub had submitted before the division bench about non-implementation of the Food Safety Act and the Rules by the state government terming it a grave issue which according to him requires to be taken seriously.
He had further submitted the Food Safety Act 2006 and Food Safety and Standards Rules of 2011 provide that the post of Commissioner Food Safety should be manned by a person of Commissioner Secretary rank, while in J&K an Incharge Drug Controller has been assigned the job, who according to the counsel, lacks the basic eligibility and qualification.
“The present incumbent is not competent to hold the post and sanction any prosecution” he argued, adding that the respondent “is not in a position to take any action against the person found guilty under the Act and Rules. Adulterated food items are openly sold and many spices and edibles in the market are unsafe for consumption as the Act and Rules have not been implemented,” he submitted before the division bench on Wednesday.
In his petition, advocate Ayoub, has submitted that adulterated milk, sub standard and misbranded food products are being sold in the market in Jammu and Kashmir without any check. “Almost all spices and edible items from A to Z sold in the market are unsafe for human consumption. In the entire state particularly in the valley the milk which is being sold in the market is 80 per cent adulterated, which has been certified by the Food safety and Standards Authority of India,” reads the PIL on Food Safety in J&K.
The petitioner has further pointed out in his petition that the designated officers or food safety officers have miserably failed to show any positive development from the date Food Safety and Standards Act 2006 and Food Safety and Standards Rules 2011, came into force by checking and taking the samples from the market, to impose the penalty or launch prosecution as per Food Safety Act. “There is no responsibility or accountability to the so called designated officers or food safety officers particularly in the twin cities of the state,” reads the PIL on Food Safety in J&K.