Municipal Administration and Urban Development Minister K T Rama Rao on Monday said the State government was considering a hike in penalties against food adulteration by 10 times in the State and initiate stringent punishments to instil fear among the offenders. He said efforts are being made to bring a new Act to supplement the existing Food Safety Act enacted by the Central government.

“Penalties imposed as per Food Safety Act are very low. There is a need to impose hefty penalties against food adulteration offences,” he said.
Replying to a question raised by AIMIM legislators in the State Assembly, Rama Rao agreed that there was a shortage of food safety officers in the State, particularly in Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) area. The process of filling 26 vacant posts of food inspectors in GHMC area is under progress. However, all necessary steps are being taken for regular analysis of food samples through inspection of food establishments, he explained.

The Minister said despite vacancies, the available staff was doing a commendable job by conducting about 2,985 inspections in GHMC area since January this year. He said 978 notices were issued to various food and beverages institutions, besides filing 145 civil and 23 criminal cases. The officials also secured 15 convictions against the offenders. He asserted that the food analysis laboratory at Nacharam was large enough to test all samples coming from all parts of the State. “We have also introduced mobile testing labs to conduct 54 varieties of tests on samples,” he said.

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