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Prepare Plan For Testing All Food Products In Delhi: Delhi HC To FSSAI

A bench headed by Acting Chief Justice Manmohan said the FSSAI, being the apex authority on food safety, must come up with a plan for carrying out a food safety audit in Delhi.

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Delhi High Court
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The Delhi High Court on Tuesday asked the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) to prepare a plan for sampling and testing of all food products in the national capital.

A bench headed by Acting Chief Justice Manmohan said the FSSAI, being the apex authority on food safety, must come up with a plan for carrying out a food safety audit in Delhi.

"You are giving broad general guidelines. Get it (specific guidelines) made for Delhi at least. We will get it implemented," the bench, also comprising Justice Manmeet PS Arora, said.

"Since FSSAI is the apex body dealing with food safety, this court directs it to prepare a plan for sampling and testing of all food products in Delhi. Let a plan be placed on record. We will get it implemented by the Delhi government," the bench stated.

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The court's order came on a suo motu case initiated by it in 2010 following a news report on the use of certain pesticides for growing vegetables that potentially cause serious neurological problems, kidney damage, skin diseases, cancer and other grievous diseases.

The amici curiae appointed in the matter to assist the court emphasised that no action has been taken by authorities on the issue and several fruits and vegetables being sold in the market contained pesticides beyond the prescribed level.

The issue of the use of "carbide" to artificially ripen fruits was also raised before the bench.

On an earlier occasion, the high court was also told that carbide ripening detection kits were yet to be procured and no testing was being done to check for non-permitted wax.

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During the hearing, the court asked the counsel for the Delhi government and FSSAI to state how much testing was being done in the city as well as the number of kits available for this purpose and the budget allocated for the same.

Delhi government counsel said testing kits are provided by the FSSAI and sought time to take instructions.

"In markets in Delhi, you can go and do testing. Take a few policy decisions on how many sampling must be done," the court said as it asked the government lawyers to take instructions.

The court asked the Delhi government counsel to state whether the "Pesticide Residue Management Cell" was functional.

The matter would be heard next on May 8.

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