The Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006, covers various aspects of adulteration and categorises them into various segments.
The Act came into effect on August 5, 2011 and focuses on safe food, food not of the nature or substance or quality demanded, extraneous but harmless matter, misbranded items and unsafe for consumption.
An adulterant is a substance that is not permitted within other substances like food, beverages, fuels, for legal or other reasons. The addition of adulterants is called adulteration.
According to the Act unsafe food means an article of food whose name, substance or quality is so affected as to render it injurious to human health. "As per the Act, adding a substance directly or as an ingredient which is not permitted is also considered as unsafe," said Shashikant Kekare, joint commissioner (food), FDA Pune.
"We have intensified our surveillance across the state and initiated a cross-verification of surveillance work by sending food safety officials outside their jurisdictions for inspection. There will be consistent cross-surveillance by officials who would be conducting raids on establishments," said Bhapkar, who was in the city to review the work done by FDA officials.
A toll free number 1800222365 was launched on December 17. Citizens can register their food and drugs related grievances 24x7 through this number.
"Anyone can register complaints regarding adulteration, substandard quality, overcharging. They are free to reveal their identity or remain anonymous. The moment a complaint is registered, information is passed on to the FDA officials and the same is forwarded to the state FDA commissioner who takes a review of the complaints," said a help line employee.
Officials would register non-cognizable offences against chemists if they overcharged or dispensed substandard or fradulent medicines. "FDA officials won't be spared if they are found at fault," he added.
"We have received complaints of milk adulteration from Mumbaikars following which we have filed criminal cases against top milk brands. We have registered cases against dairy owners in Jalgaon and Kolhapur. From milk manufacturer to the delivery boy, the entire chain involved in milk business is being monitored across the state," said, the commissioner.