Kishor Kanani, a senior member of the BJP and a former minister, has urged the Gujarati government to enact stricter laws against those who prepare and sell adulterated food.
Kanani, a legislator from Surat’s Varachha Road seat, demanded in a letter to Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel that anyone found guilty of adulterating food be charged with “culpable homicide not amounting to murder” under section 304 of the Indian Penal Code.
The MLA’s demand has come close on the heels of the seizure of thousands of kilograms of adulterated food items, mostly spices, from different parts of the state in recent months.
“Some recent incidents suggest that food adulteration is happening on a large scale. People’s health is in danger due to the consumption of such adulterated food items, including cheese, paneer, bread, cooking oils, species and other food items sold by street vendors,” Kanani said.
The current legal provisions to penalise offenders are not enough, as they escape with mild punishment, he said.
Although authorities collect samples based on suspicion and send them for forensic analysis, the results arrive after a considerable time, said Kanani, who has served as the minister of state for health.
By the time results arrive, the adulterated food is consumed by thousands and it also leads to serious ailments or even death, he said.
“I demand that people caught for food adulteration be booked for culpable homicide. Such stricter punishment is needed to create fear among the perpetrators and this is the only way to stop food adulteration,” Kanani wrote in the letter dated May 25.
Apart from several cases of food adulteration unearthed by civic bodies in different cities in the state, the Food and Drugs Control Administration (FDCA) in Gujarat has also come across several major cases of food adulteration in the last few months, officials said.
In its latest operation, the FDCA had on May 12 seized 3,057 kgs of adulterated stock of spices from a firm in Kadodara area of Surat.
As per a release issued by the FDCA, the firm was mixing inorganic colours and materials in spices, such as chilli, turmeric, and coriander powders, and was selling it with fictitious manufacturing labels.
Similarly, the FDCA had in April raided premises of two entities in Nadiad taluka of Kheda district and seized more than 61,000 kg of adulterated stock of species.
The manufacturers were allegedly using starch powder and grounded paper to prepare adulterated spices.