Adulteration of food items rampant in Mysore

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Mysuru, Oct 23: There appears to be no solution to the menace of food adulteration in the city. Rampant adulteration of food items is going on unabated despite several complaints to the Mysore City Corporation (MCC).

The Mysore Grahakara Parishat (MGP) has been drawing the attention of the corporation over the past several years to the menace of food adulteration. Last week, it collected tea samples from shops in 13 localities of Mysore and found that they were adulterated with artificial colour.

"Adding colour to tea powder is illegal. Drinking such tea can cause cancer and other diseases," according to A Ramalingam of the parishat. Prof Ramalingam produced the adulterated samples of tea before Mayor Ayub Khan and corporation"s Health Officer Nagaraj and sought immediate action. Parishat members Sreemathi Hariprasad, M Jayaram, K Ranjitha, R Vasantha and B Basavaraju accompanied Prof Ramalingam.

"It is deplorable that the corporation is blind to rampant food adulteration, even though the parishat is highlighting the problem again and again. The corporation should wake up to this critical problem. Otherwise, the parishat will intensify its struggle," Prof Ramalingam said.

The corporation later held a special meeting with representatives of the parishat and the officials. The adulterated samples were demonstrated at the meeting.

“When the Mayor expressed shock, Mr. Nagaraj promised that steps would be taken within three days and the problem of tea adulteration solved," Prof Ramalingam said.

The results of the recent survey on adulteration of food, 16th in the series, conducted by the parishat, have come as a shock as the adulteration levels were extremely high this year. About 400 samples of commonly used ingredients were collected from 38 shops across the city. The samples were sent for analysis to an ISO-9001-2000 certified laboratory, which also has the approval from Agmark and the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board.

The analysis indicated that of the 35 toor dal samples, 43 per cent were adulterated while 26 per cent of the samples were coloured. Metanil yellow is a dye used in leather, paper and textile industries, but is prohibited as a food colour.

“There seems to be a racket in collecting used tea powder, which will then be dried, coloured with artificial agents, mixed with fresh tea and sold as local brand tea," according to Mr. Nagaraj and Ranganath of the parishat, who conducted the survey.

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