13 percent of food samples found to be substandard
August 11, 2017 02:21 AM NPT
KATHMANDU, August 10: About 13 percent of 2,864 food products tested by the Department of Food Technology and Quality Control (DFTQC) in its laboratory were found to be substandard.
Organizing a press meet in Kathmandu on Thursday, officials of DFTQC said that 12.74 percent, or 365, of the 2,864 samples collected from different places in the last fiscal year were of inferior quality.
According to the department, 83 samples of feed and cereals, 71 of processed water, 56 of fats and oil, and 49 of milk and milk products were found to be substandard. The apex organization responsible for the enforcement of food act and regulations has also said that it carried out 4,273 monitoring visits to different food manufacturers, hotel and restaurants and eateries along major highways, among others, in the last fiscal year.
The department has filed 257 cases with the respective District Administration Offices, demanding action against producer of substandard food. Of the total cases filed, 16 were of the violation of food acts and regulations, 46 of contamination, 135 of substandard quality and 60 against firms selling products with no or incorrect labels in the market.
The highest number of cases has been filed against producer of food products (107), followed by cereal and food-related products (40), processed drinking water (38), milk and milk products (22), and fruits (22), according to a statement issued by the department.
Meanwhile, officials of the department have said that the lenient punishment provision in the Food Act and Food Regulations has been a major challenge in enforcing food quality and standards in the market.
The department has also classified hotels based on their standard and service quality. Of the 79 hotels and restaurants that it classified in the last fiscal year, 20 hotels have received stickers for the best quality, 41 for medium quality and 17 for low quality. The department has, so far, classified 747 hotels. Of them, 106 have received best quality stickers, while 455 and 185 have received medium quality and low quality, stickers, respectively.
“The department does not have the authority to penalize violators on the spot. Also, the fine that can be imposed is very low,” Sanjeev Kumar Karna, the director general of DFTQC, said in the press meet.
Officials also say that the lack presence of DFTQC offices across the country has made their efforts to inspect market and enforce food law and regulations less effective.