Every roadside food stall owner serving any type of food, especially snacks such pani-puri, bhel, vada-paav, will have to wear gloves and a cap. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) minister Rajendra Shingne has given directions to the department to issue a circular and increase vigilance to ensure that the order is being followed.

“There are numerous stalls on roads and it has been observed that standards of sanitation and cleanliness are not followed. Despite various directions and circulars the standards remain pathetic. We have been directed to issue a circular making it mandatory for the stall owners to wear caps and gloves while serving food on road,” said an official from the FDA. The circular is likely to be issued by next week.

In addition, days after launching a drive against gutkha and roping in police officers to enforce it, the FDA has turned its attention to milk and edible oil adulteration.

On February 12, Mr. Shingne asked the FDA commissioner to submit the action taken report after conducting raids on places which are known as centres for adulteration of milk and edible oil. Mr. Shingne has asked the commissioner to ensure that the provisions under Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 are followed thoroughly..

“The directions are to target the source, which may include big dairies, oil companies, or packaging centres. As per the rules, repackaging of oil in reused tins is not allowed. There have been instances where such practice has been followed. In addition, milk adulteration remains a big problem in the State,” said the officer.

The drive against gutkha, launched by the government two weeks ago has resulted in seizure of gutkha worth ₹5 crore from Bhiwandi alone. “The department is struggling with shortage of Food Inspection Officers. We have only 265 sanctioned posts of which 40 are vacant. We will be filling up the posts soon,” he said, adding that the FDA can be contacted at 1800222365 or 26592361 to 65, in case of any complaints.

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