Vikash Sharma

Bhubaneswar: Huge quantities of stale and unhygienic food items were seized and destroyed by a joint enforcement squad of the Khordha Municipality and Health and Food Safety department following surprise raids at several hotels and road-side stalls selling various cooked food items in the area, on Saturday.

“We have seized huge quantities of stale dal, spurious paneer and other food items. We will continue our drive in the coming days to create awareness among people about spurious and adulterated food,” a senior food safety officer said.

The crackdown comes close on the heels of a series of raids at several units engaged in adulteration of food products in Cuttack, Bhubaneswar and other districts in Odisha. The findings during the raids has indeed come as an eye-opener for people about the circulation of fake and spurious eatables/ spices in the market and the need to ‘double-check’ quality of products while buying those.

The raids notwithstanding, the large scale discovery of spurious food item manufacturing units and rampant circulation of the spurious articles in the market has raised a serious question mark over law enforcing agencies and quality control authorities whose primary job is to conduct checks and prevent such fake enterprises.

Meanwhile, officials conducting the crackdown at Khordha said that the basic purpose of the drive was to create fear among hotel operators and street food vendors to stop selling spurious food articles to unsuspecting customers.

The official said that the kitchens, storage rooms at hotels and raw materials at the food stalls are also being checked for cheap colours that are used in cooking delicacies.

“We are trying to find out if artificial colours and other articles used to prepare the adulterated food is kept at these places. The adulterated items are dangerous and unfit for human consumption,” he said.