Adulteration of milk in Maharashtra, India, will be a non-bailable offence giving sweeping powers to the police. The Prevention of Food Adulteration (Maharashtra Amendment) Act, 2006, authorizes police officials of the rank of inspector and above to arrest the culprits without warrants.
Food and Drug Administration Minister, Baba Siddiqui, said that the Act has been amended specifically to check milk adulteration, which has assumed alarming proportion in Mumbai and elsewhere.
"I can assure you that state will initiative non-bailable action against those using urea to adulterate milk. As the offence now becomes non-bailable, we will be able to reach to the kingpin of the milk adulteration rackets," he said.
Government agencies required permission from an appropriate body, like the Food and Drug Administration, for any action against a trader or retailer for violation of the Act until now.
Traders could be booked without any FDA approval as per the amended Act. It also allows police to book and take legal action on everyone associated with the shop or establishment, involved in food adulteration.
The Act was originally passed in April 2006. Maharashtra is the first state to enforce such provisions to curb food adulteration. The state has decided to expand laboratories, their infrastructure and manpower and to add two new laboratories at Mumbai and Aurangabad for better monitoring of the milk quality.
Food and civil supplies minister, Girish Bapat, admitted that the test labs and staff to check quality control were inadequate and over 3,000 cases of adulteration and distribution were pending.