Buckwheat flour, popularly known as ''kuttu atta'', if infected with fungus can cause food poisoning owing to development of aflatoxin in it.
Last April, cases of illness due to consumption of spoiled ''kuttu atta'' were reported from Delhi''s Kalyanpuri, Trilokpuri and Mehrauli areas, officials said.
"People who consume spoiled ''kuttu atta'' may fall ill. So, they should prefer to use packed ''kuttu'' four to avoid chances of any fungal infection.," said Neha Bansal, food safety commissioner of Delhi government.
The loose quantities of these buckwheat flour, if stored in unhygienic condition for long, may develop fungal growth and also get infested with insects. The fungus produces aflatoxin which is harmful for health, she said.
"In view of use of ''kuttu'' flour on a large-scale during Navratri. the Food Safety department will conduct special inspection drive ahead of the festival to ensure shopkeepers do not have ''kuttu atta'' unfit for consumption," Bansal said.
The food safety officers in the districts have been asked to visit marketplaces and check samples of buckwheat flour to ensure it is not spoiled. The drive will start soon, said another officer of the department.
''Kuttu'' flour is used to cook food by people holding fast on the nine days of Navratri festival. The festival this year will beginning from October 7.
Nearly 500 residents of Kalyanpuri and Trilokpuri in east Delhi had to be admitted to different hospitals in April this year. They had consumed food cooked with ''kuttu'' flour after which they had complained of stomachache, vomiting and headache and were treated in hospitals.
Local police had registered a case against a shopkeeper and also arrested him for selling rotten buckwheat flour to the locals in the area.
Another case of similar nature was reported from Mehrauli in south Delhi, where six members of a family had fallen ill after consuming rotten buckwheat food.
All the persons were discharged from the hospitals after treatment without any major issues. PTI VIT TDS