Nashik: The Nashik Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) recently stopped the sale of a Vanaspati ghee brand in the district after finding the presence of nickel in more than permissible proportions in the product.
Vanaspati ghee worth over Rs 1 lakh of the same brand was seized from a distributor in the Nashik Road division.
Senior officials said that in February, FDA’s Pune office had seized edible oil and Vanaspati ghee worth over Rs 2 crore manufactured by Cargill India Pvt Ltd and sold under the brand name Gemini from the company’s factory in Daund, Pune.
The oil and Vanaspati ghee of the brand had nickel content more than the permissible limit, which was extremely harmful for human body.
Taking note of the action by its Pune unit, officials of FDA Nashik raided the godown of the supplier of the company in the city, Shree Santaram Enterprises at Gandharwanagari, Nashik Road, in the same month and seized Gemini Vanaspati ghee packets worth over Rs 1 lakh.
The officials said that subsequently, they sent the samples of the product to the State Public Health Laboratory in Pune for checking the content of nickel. Vivek Patil, food safety officer of FDA, Nashik, said, “While we got reports that the content of nickel was in the standard proportion, we decided to send the samples to the Referral Food Laboratory in Ghaziabad.”
“We recently got the analytical report from the laboratory. While the standard quantity of nickel in Vanaspati ghee should be 1.5ppm, the three samples had nickel content of 1.94 ppm, 2.24 ppm and 1.99 ppm,” he added.
Officials said that Vanaspati ghee was used by a large number of people, especially during the festival season, as ghee from cow or buffalo milk was expensive.
Senior officials of the FDA said that while their drives to check food samples were a continuous process, they also took action against defaulters in case of receiving inputs from people regarding the quality of food articles.
Just a week ago, the administration had raided the Blue Bird mineral water bottling plant in Dindori for not procuring any kind of permission from the FDA for setting up the unit and selling water under the brand of Oxyrill in the market. At the time of the raid, FDA officials found that no standard procedure of purifying and disinfecting the water was being adhered to.