Plastic sugar enters markets in Karnataka, probe ordered
All that a family in Gadag wanted was a steaming cup of tea but what they were in for was a burnt mass of black residue. The culprit in the case, plastic mixed with sugar crystals. After plastic eggs and rice, plastic sugar has flooded markets in Karnataka. In a span of one week, two such incidents have been reported from Gadag and Tumkur.
"I added sugar to boiling water to make tea. I stepped out of the kitchen to take care of other errands but within minutes smoke started emanating from the kitchen, I rushed to see what had happened and I saw the vessel blackened with a mass stuck to the bottom. We checked the sugar and found that there were plastic crystals in it. We tested it multiple times and each time we added sugar to the water and brought it to a boil, particles would float and turn black," said a resident of Gadag who bore the brunt of plastic sugar.
The family has demanded that the sugar factory from where they bought the adulterated sugar be shut down. "What about the health of people? Sugar is an essential commodity and we use it every day. Why are the authorities mum over plastic being mixed in a commodity that is consumed by infants and seniors alike? We demand that the sugar factories be shut down and action initiated against those responsible for this," said an angry resident of Gadag.
A similar incident took place in Hassan of Karnataka a week ago. Sugar bought from a shop was adulterated with plastic crystals. Shocked consumers protested in front of the shop from where the adulterated sugar was bought. Karnataka Minister A Manju visited the spot and helped ease the situation after assuring action against the culprits.
Taking cognizance of both incidents, the Karnataka government has sought a probe into the matter. The Food Safety Department has collected samples for verification while the Food and Civil Supplies department has ordered a probe to find out where and how the sugar was adulterated. "This looks like a massive racket. Plastic is being found in rice and sugar. We will look into the matter seriously. We have ordered a probe to find out where plastic was mixed with sugar if it was directly from the factory or from retail shop owners," said Karnataka's Food and Civil Supplies Minister, U T Khader.
Plastic crystals of various sizes were picked from sugar at a shop in Hassan much to the disbelief of consumers. Concerns have now been raised on public health and safety if these plastic-laden and adulterated food items continue to plague markets.