Asem Mohiuddin Food
Last week when all the people of Jammu and Kashmir had set their eyes on Supreme Court where the hearing on the article 35 A was scheduled back home no one cared what is being cooked or served in the plates that might have been proving more dangerous and poisons for the people.
Being politically sensitive state the issues of public importance often receive back seat when the political and security related happenings are the order of the day. This has set the mark as how we Kashmiris are insensitive to our own health while debating the larger issues for which being alive is important.
A deputy Commissioner Srinagar Syed Abid Hussain on 28 August served notice to the premier agro company Khyber Agro Farms for selling the curd marking a post manufacturing date intending to increase its shelf life to earn unethical profits notwithstanding the perishable nature of the product.
The notice issued by the deputy commissioner reads: “Whereas one of the samples of pro active Dahi bearing batch number BH: 27 with a MRP of RS 18 shows manufacturing date of 1/9/2018 has gone viral o social media on 28/8/2018 clearly bringing out that you have post dated the manufacturing date of of the batch.
“Whereas prime facia this act of yours has made it permissible for the perishable item pro active Dahi having limited shelf life to sustain longer in the market to earn profits, clearly unethical market practice which could risk the health of consumers.”
The company however, is not first time in the news. Earlier in 2014 the company was held guilty by the court of law for mixing detergent in the milk. The court had imposed the fine of Rs 9 lakh to the company and awarded a jail term of six months to one of its officials. In fact the rise in the cancerous disease in Kashmir was attributed to the company for selling sub standard and adulterated food items to the public. The dubious distinction of the company however, have not dent its image and its fortunes continued to rise due to powerful public relations campaign in sync with the local media which are biggest beneficiaries in terms of advertisement support and the health of common public continues to be compromised.
While this happened in the Srinagar city, the heart of valley, in south Kashmir some 50 kilometres away the authorities from the food safety department seized the large quantity of expired juice and other food items relabelled and selling them in Kashmir markets.
The drive was carried out in Anantnag and Kulgam districts of south Kashmir on the directions of Commissioner Secretary Food Safety Dr Abdul Kabir Dar.
“Preliminary investigations have found a firm involved in relabeling of expired food items of reputed companies and selling them in Kashmir markets at cheap prices cheating gullible consumers,” a statement of the Food Safety read.
“In response to a tipoff, the officials seized a truck on way from Anantnag to Delhi. So far thousands of such food items has been sold by the company in league with different food business operators on low rates,” it said.
While the Food Safety authorities set the public help lines to trace any such act for the further action, the developments are warranting stringent measures to tap such practices which are highly risking the lives of people.
The story, however, doesn’t stop here of adulterated food items being sold to the innocent public. In past many reputed companies have been mixing cacogenic chemicals in the food items and selling it to the public.
Unfortunately, even after being established guilty and facing the action such companies not only continue to survive, however, their fortunes continue to grow after spending huge sums for the image building campaigns.
After effects of food adulteration and why we shall boycott such companies
According to the revelations by the Jammu and Kashmir government there has been 87 per cent rise in cancer in Kashmir in last few years in 2017. This was this year disclosed in the Legislative Assembly in Jammu.
According to a survey conducted by Food Safety organizations 80 per cent samples of milk they collected from the Kashmir market in 2012 had adulterants mixed.
While the food adulterants doesn’t show the immediate effects in the human body, according to experts, however, once it reaches the level beyond in human body, it develops cancer.
Dr Shaiq Ahmad Ganie, Assistant Professor at the Department of Food Technology in Islamic University of Science and Technology (IUST) says in Kashmir generally caustic soda (detergent), which is a harmful agent, is inserted in the milk at the time of skimming. “In foreign countries this chemical is used for cleaning machines,” he points out, adding that the use of detergents in milk is a common practice in Kashmir and the consumption of contaminated milk over a period of time can cause stomach cancer,” he had told to Kashmir Ink.
While we move to the rural pockets of the state, the situation is further worsening with lots of products including junk food, juices and soft drinks sold of substandard quality that sans the parameters of standard quality.
“The problem is actually that these companies involved in selling sub standard and adulterated food items are taking undue advantage of the ignorance of rural people who hardly bother about quality standards,” said senior official in government.
“In absence of any strong mechanism in place such companies are tapping the huge market potential in rural areas of state,” he added.