Around 13% of food samples found contaminated nationwide

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Around 13% of food samples found contaminated nationwide

After milk, the Food Safety Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has found contamination to be quite common among food items across the country.

A comparative analysis has shown adulteration rates as high as 40% in Chhattisgarh, 34% in Uttarakhand, 29% in Uttar Pradesh, 23% in Rajasthan and 20% in West Bengal and Himachal Pradesh. Besides, nearly 17% of the food samples tested in Bihar and Chandigarh, 16% in Nagaland, 15% in Punjab, Madhya Pradesh and Orissa, 14% in Haryana, 12% in Tamil Nadu and 10% in Maharashtra were adulterated.

In 2010, FSSAI picked up over 1.17 lakh samples of food articles and tested them. Around 13% of the samples overall were found to be adulterated. Interestingly, adulteration rates in Delhi was low - 4% while in Karnataka it was just 5%.

A comparative analysis of food adulteration rates over the last three years has shown a steady increase. In 2008, 94,000 samples were examined of which over 8,300 were found to be adulterated (8.79%). In 2009, 1.13 lakh samples were examined of which 11.14% were adulterated. In 2010, 1.17 lakh samples were examined of which over 14,000 samples (12.65%) were adulterated.

This has now made the health ministry's working group propose setting up a National Food Science and Risk Assessment Centre (NFSRAC) during the 12th Five-Year Plan. To cost around Rs 155 crore, the centre has been envisaged on the lines of the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) and Centre for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition in the US.

NFSRAC will be the repository of all food standards and will carry out all risk assessment-related work and analyse food surveillance data received from labs.

"It is proposed to set up a dedicated institution under the direct control of FSSAI for regulatory research and risk assessment. The institute will also carry out a food safety risk analysis training programmes and will become functional within one year of sanction of the project," the working group report said.
 

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