Food dept sets eye on baby food

Picks up energy drinks, health food samples

Delhi’s Food Safety Department directed officials to lift samples of health food, baby food and energy drinks for detailed analysis of the products on Monday. The samples will be tested from across all available brands.

“We are in the process of testing most packaged products. The department officials were directed today to test three categories of food items. These include health food or nutraceuticals, baby food and all types of energy drinks. The products will be tested for all kinds of parameters,” said K K Jindal, Commissioner, Food and Safety Department.

“With most youngsters relying on different types of health food and dietary supplements, it is important that these products be analysed first. There is also a heavy reliance on energy drinks so we decided to lift samples of these categories of products,” said Jindal.

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India had sounded an alert against several such brands of energy drinks last month and had also banned their production and distribution in the markets.

The department will now focus on all packaged food items, including the imported ones. Several food items are launched in the market without proper food approval. Nestle India’s Maggi Oats product is one such example.

Meanwhile, Health Minister Satyendra Jain told on Monday the government is planning to come up with a state-of-the-art laboratory where all tests can be conducted.

“This is more feasible than upgrading the current laboratory. The site has also been identified. There will be facilities to conduct tests on all kinds of products here,” said Jain.

Currently, the department is reeling under staff shortage and lack of equipment. Tests can be conducted for chemical analysis.
However, there is no provision for conducting microbiology tests and to analyse heavy metals or pesticides.

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