At a time when food samples collected by Ranchi District administration team are found to be substandard, a well equipped mobile vehicle (Van) allocated by Food Safety and Standard Authority of India (FSSAI) to the State Government facilitating on-the-spot testing of food samples at a nominal cost appears to be missing for quite some time now due to its lopsided service.
Notably, in a bid to curb the rising adulteration level in food products, the State on March 10, 2018 was handed over a mobile vehicle cum portable food testing laboratory. With the introduction of a new age apparatus for checking the adulteration level and other spurious contents in food items, Jharkhand entered into the elite club to own a mobile vehicle cum minilab allocated by the nodal food safety organisation.
After its launch, the van was used on a regular basis here in the Capital City to check adulteration level in food products being sold across the city. However, the vehicle lashed with hi-tech facilities is now hardly seen within the urban vicinity these days. The Central food safety supervisory body has sanctioned Rs 5 lakh as its operational cost for a period of three years.
“The service of mobile van will be regularised here from December first week. The detailed plan is being chalked out for expanding its reach. The frequency of mobile van has minimized within Ranchi as its reach has been expanded to other districts like Dhanbad, Bokaro and Jamshedpur. Also, following the schemes of the State government, recently the mobile van was sent to all the 24 districts for conducting milk survey,” said State Food Analyst, Chhaturbujh Meena.
He further cited that the State government has only one mobile testing lab which is a major hurdle in regularising its service. “Due to the availability of just one mobile van and huge coverage areas, the problem of regularising the service persists. At present, the mobile van decked up with milkoscan machine, sugar testing apparatuses, PH meter sensor and other modern equipments works for nearly six hours in a day under the supervision of three lab technicians wherever it is stationed,” Meena further added.
According to FSSAI guidelines, the mobile van must be functional for 20 days in a month. Besides collecting food samples from hotels, confectionery shops, it also test the chemical contents for milk and milk products, PH level of drinking water including high content of starch in sweets, palatable items etc on public request.
“I am not aware of its frequency at the moment. However, it is being used for different purposes. The mobile van had been utilised once during the checking drive here. If required, van will be used further during the checking drive,” said Sadar SDO Garima Singh, who had conducted a series of raids in recent times in the wake of the increasing cases of adulteration level in food products.