Haryana Increases Food Testing Lab Capacity from 3-4K to 10K Samples


During the festive season, incidents of food adulteration continue to witness an acute spike which is a matter of serious concern requiring the concerned department to tighten the noose around the neck of defaulters. Even in Haryana, samples of food and beverages fail on a large scale during the festive season. There is a constant demand that maximum samples of food items should be collected during the festive season so that adulteration can be controlled. Meanwhile, information received from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) department revealed that the capacity of the state food testing lab has increased. It is worth mentioning that the capacity to check samples in the state’s Karnal and Chandigarh labs has increased by two to two and a half times and due to this, the increase in sample checking will help in curbing those who are putting the lives of people at stake by adulterating food items. It has also come to light that following the increased capacity, both labs will be able to check samples from other states as well as generate revenues.
According to information received from officials of the FDA, the lab’s capacity to check food samples has increased significantly. Earlier, the capacity to check samples in both Karnal and Chandigarh labs was only between 3 to 4 thousand which has been increased now up to 10 thousand food samples a year after their upgradation apart from this, both labs will be able to release timely reports of the samples filled. Notably, Chandigarh and Karnal labs receive samples from 13 and 9 districts respectively. Further, the information received depicted that crores of rupees have been spent on upgrading Karnal and Chandigarh food labs as ultra-modern equipment and machines have been installed in both labs. Around an amount of Rs 11 crore and 5 crore has been spent on Chandigarh and Karnal food lab respectively. Out of the total expenditure on both the labs, the government of India and the state share a fixed amount.
Apart from the aforementioned, it is worth noting, that out of the total sanctioned 45 posts of Food Safety Officers (FSO), more than 40 are lying vacant which results in delay of reports of food samples. Keeping in view this, the department has written to the Haryana Public Service Commission (HPSC) several times to fill these posts, but till now the situation remains the same. The situation is such that the work is being carried out by bringing experts from other departments namely the Health Department and Animal Husbandry Department on deputation.
DK Sharma, Joint Commissioner, FDA said that the food testing capacity of Karnal and Chandigarh has been increased. Earlier only 3 to 4 thousand samples were checked in the lab which has been increased now to 10 thousand food samples following upgradation. Due to this, the sample checking ratio has not only increased but the sample report will also be dispatched sooner than before.
If food items are found adulterated or sub-standard or misbranded, then that same should be confiscated as per the Food Safety and Standards Act 2006 and Rules 2011 and the food items which are perishable (such as milk and milk products) should be confiscated. It will be the responsibility of the officers at the district level to dispatch the report of the sample filled. According to the department, it will be ensured in every case that the report of the sample filled by the department should be released within a stipulated period of 14 days.