Thursday, December 2

Kolkata gets its own state-of-the-art lab to check adulteration in food

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 The Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) health department on Thursday got its own state-of-the-art food testing laboratory. Now there will be no more waiting for a stamp of approval from the state- or Centre-approved laboratories for a certificate for adulteration in cooked food, raw meat, spices or other items of daily necessity.

The chairman of the KMC Board of administrators (BoA) Firhad Hakim on Thursday inaugurated the food testing laboratory at the civic headquarters.
The facility is equipped with apparatus that can determine adulteration in any kind of foodstuff — raw or cooked meat, fish egg or any kind of vegetable. The laboratory will also have the capacity to test pesticides in a soft drink, said a KMC health department official.

The necessity of upgrading a KMC-run food testing laboratory was first felt years ago following a pesticide controversy in the soft drinks produced by a grade I soft drinks company. The samples of soft drinks collected from the company and sent to a central government-run laboratory proved the product produced by the reputable company had pesticides in them.
Additionally, the civic brass had become desperate to set up a state-of-the-art laboratory when a stale meat controversy rocked the city four years ago. The KMC food inspectors had found adulteration in meat samples collected from city restaurants, some of which were reputable establishments.

“Till now, we could only examine raw food materials, like rice, pulses, spices and some other items. But the new, upgraded laboratory will be able to examine all sorts of raw and cooked food items,” said a KMC health department official.

According to a KMC official working in the civic body’s food adulteration cell, the new laboratory was set up as part of a modernization of the cell. “We have recruited several food inspectors in the past two years. We have asked them to collect food samples from the city’s wholesale markets, hotels and restaurants as much as they can. Now, with a modern laboratory at our disposal, we will be able to fight against food adulteration in an organized manner,” said an official in the KMC health department.

Source: Times of India

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