Amritsar News: In order to ensure the purity of milk, milk products, and sweets amidst the ongoing festival season as per the directions of Chief Minister Bhagwant Singh Mann, the Punjab Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) has intensified its monitoring and inspection of production units, distribution networks, and retail outlets dealing with milk products, said Health and Family Welfare Minister Dr Balbir Singh here on Friday.

      He said that inter-district teams have been deployed to carry out special checking drives across the state to combat the menace of adulteration and to ensure safe and quality food products during this festive season. Teams are conducting regular sampling and testing of these products to detect any signs of adulteration, he added.

      During the ongoing drive so far 934 samples have been seized during the month of October only, which includes 43 samples of khoya, 97 khoya-based sweets, 92 samples of coloured sweets, 27 samples of paneer, 112 samples of coloured bakery items cakes, 70 samples for checking adulteration in silver leaf 104 samples of dry fruits and 389 samples of various food items were seized for analysis. Further legal action is being initiated against the violators in the court of law as per the report of analysis received from the State Food Laboratory.

     To protect the health of the citizens, Dr Balbir Singh also exhorted the public to be vigilant and report if they suspect adulteration at any outlet.

      Stringent action will be taken against those found guilty of compromising quality standards, he said, while adding that Public awareness campaigns are also launched to educate the general public about identifying genuine products and reporting suspicious activities related to food adulteration.

     Commissioner FDA Dr Abhinav Trikha reiterated that the entire Food Safety Wing is committed to maintaining the highest standards of food safety and quality in Punjab. Any form of adulteration will not be tolerated, and strict action will be taken against offenders, he added.

       He said that to control and check inter-district and inter-state supply of milk and milk products especially khoya and other sweets, early morning and late evening hour drives are also being conducted by the food safety officials across the state.

      Joint Commissioner of Food Safety Harjot Pal Singh said that Sweets and Bakery manufacturers are directed to use natural colours as far as feasible and only permitted synthetic colours should be used in case of necessity, that too in prescribed limits as per the Food Safety Regulations 2011.

      The procurement of Milk and Milk Products is to be done from a source of good repute and ensure all procurement to be done against a valid bill with the name of the manufacturer, he said, while adding that Food Business Operators are also directed not to procure Sweets, especially Khoya from other districts or states, as these are usually deemed to be of inferior quality.

      Meanwhile, a huge cache of adulterated ghee mustard oil and refined oil was seized in district Barnala. Similarly, in the district Amritsar team destroyed 337kg of spurious khoya and 115 kg of Vanaspati, besides seizing 62 kg of SMP, which was being used as an adulterant. Teams also seized expired stock of pulses in district SBS Nagar.