AHMEDABAD: Why does the public health laboratory of the civic body, boasting of the most modern food-testing facilities, have a dismal record of almost a 0% when it comes to concluding that food samples are “unsafe”? The civic body collects thousands of samples from food outlets, vendors, and food processing units each year but it seldom flags food unfit to eat.
The AMC’s public health laboratory report may indicate that Amdavadis are mostly contracting waterborne infections at home!
In 2021 and then in the first six months of 2022, the rate of “unsafe” samples detected under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006, by the AMC has been 0.001% and 0% respectively. This is when, in 2022, 695 food samples were collected, while in 2021 the AMC collected 2,369 food samples during the whole year. But during these two years the AMC recorded 2,111 jaundice cases, 2,803 typhoid cases, and 5,990 cases of vomiting and diarrhoea. The disease count is based on the data the civic body gathers from 150 private and AMC-run hospitals.
An important issue to be highlighted here is that 2,369 samples were collected under the FSS Act, but only 56 cases were referred to the Ahmedabad collector for fines under “misbranding” and 37 for “sub-standard” food material.
However, the AMC referred just three samples to the collector over food contamination or the presence of a dangerous adulterant. These three samples were categorized as “unsafe”. This year, till June 2022, of the 625 food samples collected, none was found “unsafe”.