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Saturday, August 15, 2015

Poison on the platter.


"Are we eating safe ? " is a more appropriate question than asking, "Are we eating healthy ?".

Stopping yourself from hogging on junk food or  processed food is just not enough.  Your morning pride, a platter of fresh salad may be more rich in pesticides and pathogens than its wanted richness for vitamins and minerals. The glass of milk to fulfill your daily needs of nutrients may be creating serious damages to your organs of vital importance. Your weekend plans to replenish calcium through expensive seafood may be inducing poisonous chemicals like arsenic and mercury. There is absolutely no escape until you start growing your own crops and vegetables in the backyard of your house to minimize the dangers.  

With the excessive use of fertilizers and pesticides in agriculture to increase production, the human body is at stake. It would have been better to remain underfed than to eat something that is as worse as slow poison.

You will be shocked to know the percentage of contamination in daily food intake. Below is a chart that shows the percentage of various contaminants.

Recently I heard of China rice. The news broke out that some people have reported serious health problems after consuming the new variant. It was found that the rice were silky, smooth, milky white slippery with every grain perfectly formed. If you soak it in water it will float. On boiling it turns into hard sticky mass. If you put fire to it, it will burn and light up instantly. If you eat it, you will land up in hospital with serious stomach condition.



Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is a very opaque body entrusted with the task to ensure the safety and regulation of food that we eat. But is the body sufficiently equipped with modern technology and enough human resource to deal the complex challenge? Most of the labs under FSSAI are  said to be outdated and incompetent to detect modern age adulterants. Also the number of labs across the country and its distribution across various zones is not in tandem with the uprising demand.

The cost of a branded groundnut oil is  Rs 100/- per litre  but the cost of groundnut  is Rs 100/- per kg. Including extraction of oil from these groundnut, processing charges, marketing and transportation the cost should certainly be around double the cost of its raw material(1 kg) which although will still not suffice to produce 1 Litre of refined groundnut oil. Aren't we turning a blind eye and silently welcoming contamination and additives to our daily food ?

When we buy a commodity, we also pay for various taxes by Government as a part of the net cost. The concerned ministry is duty bound to make available food/processed food that has passed all relevant tests to ensure it is safe for consumption by the people. We as citizens of India would not mind shelling out additional Re 1 towards every commodity cost to buy a faithful assurance that the food items sold in our country have passed 100% test of genuinity. In no appropriation this seems an impossible task. Why not to spend reasonably on various modern methods to detect adulteration and mislabeling ? The multinational companies have gathered guts to feed us chemical filth because they trust our Food Regulatory bodies for its incompetency and inefficiency to detect and report the misappropriations. The regulatory bodies have their own justifications on the pretext of adequate manpower and modern infrastructure. The government is not serious about the subject matter as part of the agenda for Ministry of Health. 

The assertion of Union Health Minister J P Nadda that there will be no compromise on food safety will hold little meaning unless India upgrades its laboratories to detect antibiotics in honey, chicken, pesticide residue in beverages and other adulteration in milk, edible oils, spices, lentils, packed foods and follows Thailand in ensuring supply of unpolluted, safe water to its street food vendors.

Currently India has around 150 test laboratories. There are also a dozen referral laboratories which come into picture in case the trader questions testing standards in primary laboratories.

It is time to put our best efforts forward to attract Government's attention on this serious issue. Our general health is at stake to fatten the pockets of few who probably themselves have access to safe food from elsewhere part of the world. Let our country not be treated as a dumping ground for the refuse. Lets raise our voice for the sake of our young ones who are not even fully formed to deal with the ill effects of chemicals. The effect of harmful contaminants have already started showing up on psychological health of infants and toddlers. The poor temperament and extreme aggressive nature from very early age is all a silent effect of overlooking the issue of Adulteration and Contamination. 
       
Parents are having tough time dealing with their children for being short temper and aggressive in nature at very early ages. We all are under going a slow negative psychological and mental transformation. We are mentally unstable and maniacs. We have serious health problems that have no back track to our family history or genetic origins. 

Isn't it the time to take the issue seriously and change our mindset of  believing it as s subject of inevitability ?   We certainly can do something about it !