Food safety during shortage

Published at February 13, 2019 01:10 AM 0Comment(s)3936views

Food safety during shortage

In December last year, United Nations announced the World Food Safety Day to be observed on June 7. As per UN’s latest estimate, 600 million people fall sick from unsafe food and around 420,000 die each year. "We estimate that each year, nearly one person in 10 falls sick after eating contaminated food," Kazuaki Miyagishima, who heads the World Health Organization (WHO) food security department, said. Government officials and health experts of 125 countries participating in a forum recently pushed for measures to improve the food safety worldwide. Food safety has come under spotlight lately due to the shortage of livestock and poultry in Kashmir following the closure of the highway and roads for almost a week. People have expressed disapproval on the availability of food stock which they claim is not fresh and even not safe for human consumption. Such beliefs are not only borne out of the mistrust between consumers and sellers but also between consumers and state authorities who have failed to check the sale of unhygienic food in the market. Many consumers are not buying mutton or poultry products in valley as they feel the stock isn’t fresh and therefore unsafe to consume. Besides the stale stock, contaminated and adulterated foods have been entering the food chain with authorities least bothered about the wellness of the people. From spraying of insecticides on food articles to artificial ripening using chemicals, there is a lot that consumers have witnessed in the state. The mistrust between sellers and consumers is incisive with the latter always holding suspicions about the former’s activities. Profiteering in vendors has become commonplace in the absence of stern action against them. The Food and Control Organization in the state repeatedly failed in the past to ensure that only safe and hygienic food is sold by the vendors. Back to the concerns raised at the international forum on food safety, contaminated food in the world is said to be cause of more than 200 diseases ranging from diarrhea to cancers. The loss is not only in terms of well-being of the people but also economic as billions of rupees are spent to treat the diseases caused by unsafe food. The situation in Kashmir is akin to the situation after floods of 2014 when the market here was flooded with products including food products that were rendered unsafe by the waters. Though the administration banned selling of flood damaged products, there was hardly any monitoring done by the officials. Today the same thing has happened – when people are vexed at the sale of unsafe foods which authorities also disallow, there is no one to monitor it.     



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