JORHAT, April 7:
Taking advantage of the vacuum of many government department offices wherein officers have been deputed on election duty owing to the State assembly elections and also the approaching Bihu celebration, food based companies are pumping the markets of Northeast with adulterated and expired packaged food products and one such emerging company is Haldiram which has of late resorted to selling unhygienic food products in complete violation of FSSAI (Food Safety and Standards Authority of India) packaged licensing.
One such incident of recovery of both fresh and damp product inside Haldiram’s Orange flavoured Soan Papdi has created sensation in Jorhat on Thursday with a case being registered by the designated officer of the Jorhat Food Safety department under the Joint Director of Health office.
Victim Aanjum Hazarika while talking to The Sentinel said, “I purchased a packet of 200 gm Haldiram Orange flavoured Soan Papdi priced at Rs 50 from a local grocery shop after dropping my son to school and served three pieces of it with the morning tea. It was when my husband was appreciating the quality of the product and wanted to see the packet did I notice saw that it contained two different layers of the product within the same packet, one of which was wrapped in plastic with a spoon, which was fresh, and the other beneath the plastic wrap was completely damp, moist and gave out a pungent smell. My husband immediately brought the matter to the notice of the selling outlet and he gave us the address of the agency dealing with supplying and distributing the product on behalf of Haldiram that is M/s Salasar Enterprise having office at Baruanibaat, Jorhat.”
“However, despite showing the product to the owner identified as Lalit Sharma of Salasar Enterprise, he refused to accept that he sold the product and informed that there are other agencies besides his, like Punit Plastics, B.K Agency and Priyam Enterprise that sell the product. But he cooperated and got us connected with one Babul, a senior sales manager of Haldiram and one Pintu, salesman but they too refused to any kind of product violation. My husband decided to lodge a complaint with the food safety officer who immediately after seeing the FSSAI license raised doubts over the number that started with 13 zeroes and ended with the numeric 2. Incidentally, the food safety officer acting promptly seized the packet and raided the agencies and confiscated all purchased and selling slips to ascertain the origin of the product from where it was sent for distribution,” added Aanjum Hazarika.
Designated Food Safety Officer, HC Kalita said, “We have already started our investigation based on a written complaint and have seized the Haldiram product and will send the same to our state laboratory for test. Close examination shows the product to be adulterated and presence of different layers within the same packet. Interestingly, though the packet weight content is 200 grams and even after consumption of three pieces the net weight remains above 200 grams. The complainant has not raised doubt over the wrapped product but is concerned about the unhealthy, damp and unhygienic content present at the bottom and without any wrap. We doubt the FSSAI License number and need clarification as to from which State it has been issued. I appeal to the people to remain alert while purchasing such food products and report to us immediately at the slightest doubt. As such Assam has become a home to unscrupulous traders who deliberately adulterate food items and it is a serious crime.”