Adulteration rackets busted in Hyderabad

Sun 12 Feb 2017, 10:31:09
Hyderabad: Sale of adulterated food products and those which cheat customers on matters of quality and weight is going on unabated in the city’s markets, if recent incidents in the city are any indication. The arrest of two persons on charges of selling adulterated milk powder at Madannapet on Saturday, apart from the arrest of two others on charges of selling adulterated ginger garlic paste in the city suburbs could just be the proverbial tip of the iceberg, officials say.

On Saturday, the Commissioner’s Task Force (South) team along with the Madannapet police raided the house of one Saleem Pasha at Madannapet and seized 400 packets of milk powder. Saleem, according to the police, had purchased Dholpur Fresh milk powder from Bhole Baba Milk Food Industries. Saleem and his accomplice Mohammed Arif were arrested.

“He then opened the sachets and removed the original powder, before mixing it with sugar powder and repacking it to sell in the market,” Additional DCP Task Force, N Koti Reddy said. Saleem had also got printed similar plastic sachets to fill the adulterated milk powder. The police seized machines used for weighing and packing the sachets, while the suspects along with the seized material were handed over to the Madannapet and Saidabad police stations.

According to officials, under the Food Safety and Standard Act (FSSA), anyone found selling adulterated food items will face rigorous imprisonment and a huge fine. Adulterators may be sentenced to even life imprisonment or a fine of up to Rs 10 lakh, depending on the severity of the crime. But apparently, these have

not deterred racketeers.

Two persons, Damodar Reddy and Junaid Alam, were caught by the Malkajgiri Special Operations Team (SOT) personnel in January for selling adulterated ginger garlic paste made with rotten onions. They used to purchase rotten onions in bulk and make them into a paste using a grinder.

To get the flavour of ginger and garlic, the gang members would mix the paste with essence, said SOT Inspector G Naveen Kumar, adding as many 150 kgs of adulterated paste were seized.

Last year, the city police also raided a unit in Hussaini Alam and seized 1,057 bags – 108 bags of duplicate pepper, 166 bags of poppy seeds, 125 bags of cumin seeds, (all duplicate), 20 bags of papaya seeds, 40 bags of ‘rava’, 127 bags of ‘maida’, 5 bags of stone powder, besides 96 bags of original pepper, 260 bags of poppy seeds and 120 bags of cumin seeds.

The racketeers allegedly mixed hazardous chemicals and paints in spices. Paint stainers, sodium hydrosulphite, iron oxide, glucose and synthetic gum were used for preparing spices.

P Radha Rani, Department of Resource Management and Consumer Sciences, College of Home Science, warns people to be cautious about food items. The most common adulterated products that racketeers sell in the market are milk, ghee, edible oil, pulses and spices.

On its part, the government has asked Horticulture Department to establish a food processing unit on the suburbs to supply unadulterated food products like ginger-garlic paste, chilli, turmeric powder and spices.

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