Befitting Punishment for Food Adulterators

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The joint team of the Food Safety and Narcotics & Affairs of Borers must be commended for their successful search operation and seizure of adulterated edible mustard oil and betel nuts worth around Rupees 50 lakhs. According to a spokesperson of the joint team, the adulteration process has been going on at the seized warehouse for the more than eight months. The warehouse is owned by a trader presently staying at Thangal Bazar in Imphal. He operates under the name ‘Ajay Trader’. Further investigation by the joint team revealed that the oil tins after reaching Imphal are opened, and then they are mixed with adulterants. After that the labourers reseal it with new trademarks to be distributed in the markets of Manipur. As per the information given by the Food Safety team, the edible oil seized is worth around 30 lakhs. It is anybody’s guess what the amount of edible oil that would have been adulterated with that sum of money. It is simply terrifying that large sections of our population have been consuming adulterated oil unknowingly. In all likelihood this could be could be just tip of the iceberg. In all probability edible substances other than oil and betel nuts must have been adulterated and sold into the market by unscrupulous businessman. Needless to say, the adulterated products would have reached our kitchens to be consumed by everyone in the family: including our young children. And while having commended the effort of the joint team of the Food Safety and Narcotics & Affairs of Border, there have been voices from the skeptics too. The skeptics have contended that the authorities have acted too late to unearth the malicious acts practiced by the traders. But it is never too late for such kind of operation. In fact, such kind of operation should be done on regular basis. Surprise raid should be conducted in the warehouses. Moreover such kind of operation should not be the last one. As it is seen in the state, most good things do not last long. They somehow turn out to be a damp squib at the end of the day. If this kind of operation comes to an abrupt end, we are afraid that the public might lost their trust with the agencies. Their inactiveness in the future could give a wrong message to the public that the agencies are working hand in glove with the cartel of adulterators. Therefore, it is important for the agencies to maintain consistencies in unearthing such crimes. This is a big challenge for the Food Safety team. Needless to say that businessmen operating in such trade are very powerful lobbyist. Besides having shrewd business skills, they are also well versed in influencing the people who are in the corridors of power. Yet this should not dampen the spirit of Food Safety team. They should be ready to face any eventualities. As it has come to light that the trader is someone who operates from Thangal Bazar – the commercial hub of Imphal, we certainly doubt that the trader is the only one. There must be other traders who sell adulterated foodstuffs for their illegal gains. There is also likelihood of an organised cartel who earns huge profits by adulterating food products. In that case the authority should waste no time to book them. Those found involved in food adulteration should be given exemplary punishment by the law. We hope the present case will not be swept under the carpet after some clandestine deals.

 

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