Traders, activists spar over provisions in Food Safety Act

Members of consumer protection forums and public are at loggerheads with traders’ associations over the latter’s demand to dilute certain provisions in the Food Safety and Standards Act.
Traders, activists spar over provisions in Food Safety Act
Vikramaraja, TN Vanigar Sangangalin Peramaippu


Vikramaraja, president, Tamil Nadu Vanigar Sangangalin Permaippu, addressing a meeting at Kovilpatti, demanded that the government ease the stringent provisions in the Food Safety Act and other time-bound regulations for the traders, especially the small scale traders, as they are the worst-hit. 
A delegation of traders would shortly meet the officials concerned in the central government and press their demand, he said. However, the demands of the traders have come in for serious criticisms from consumer rights activists, who claimed that already there were many blatant violations by traders when it comes to food standards. 
They argued that several harmful chemicals were being used in food and there is no effective mechanism to check on them. So, to stop and reduce violations, there should be stringent regulations, activists said. Shankar, President, Indian Consumer and Human Rights Federation, claimed that there should be no compromise whatsoever in the safety of food items and if it was done it would take a heavy toll on the health of the people. 
Already many blatant violations were being reported and adulteration has turned out to be a major concern among consumers. In such a situation, the restrictions and regulations should be tightened and on the contrary not diluted, opined Shankar. Vinayagamoorthy, a resident of Kovilpatti, claimed that recently there was a raid on two shops in the town for using substandard oil in preparation of food items and the traders’ bodies instead of warning its members were demanding to ease the provisions. If the Centre heeds to traders’ demands, it would pave the way for more violations and malpractices, said Vinayagamoorthy.

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