Friday, March 30, 2012

FDA files case against Pune vendor

The Pune division of the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) has finally taken action under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006.
On March 16, officials from the FDA, Pune lodged a case under section 31 (1) of the act against a Kothrud-based food vendor for running a food business without possession of a valid licence.This is the first case lodged in Pune division against a food vendor for doing business without licence under the act, which came into force eight months ago on August 4, 2011.The vendor was caught during the mass food poisoning incident in September 2011. Hundreds of people on a fast across the state took ill after consuming varai (samo rice) flour. Most of the cases happened in Solapur (222) and Pune (60). While a temporary ban on sale of varai flour was imposed, samples were drawn from food vendors across the city. During investigation, samples were drawn from Anand Trading Company in Kothrud’s Bhelkenagar run by proprietor Ashok Shah.“Initially the state public health laboratory rejected the sample as sub-standard. The vendor challenged the report and samples were sent to referral laboratory in Mysore where it was found fit.However during investigation we realised that he didn’t have a valid licence for running the shop,” said AR Deshmukh, food safety inspector.Deshmukh said Shah earlier owned a shop on the same name on the opposite side of the road that had a licence. “When he shifted location, he didn’t take a licence. We sent a proposal to our seniors for taking action and after we received permission, we lodged a case in the chief judicial magistrate’s court,” he said.The registered criminal case number is 0401021/2012 which was lodged on March 16 under section 31 (1) of the FSSA, 2006.“The punishment for violation of this section is covered under section 63 of FSSA, 2006 which carries maximum imprisonment of six months along with fine of Rs5 lakh. We want to send out a strong message to all food business operators that we are serious about cracking down on unlicenced or unregistered vendors,” said Chandrakant Salunkhe, joint commissioner (food), Pune. He added that while issuing new licences or registrations is an ongoing process, the last date for businesses to convert to the new law is August 4, 2012.“After that we will begin a crackdown on old licence holders that haven’t come under the new law too,” said Salunkhe.

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