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State to launch advanced equipment to test food quality

State to launch advanced equipment to test food quality

Thiruvananthapuram: As part of its drive to contain inflow of contaminated vegetables and fruits from other states, Kerala government has installed advanced equipment in Ernakulam and Thiruvananthapuram districts to detect the presence of pesticide residue in them.

Health Minister V S Sivakumar informed the assembly here Thursday that the government was viewing adulteration as a serious issue and stepped up vigil to check the arrival of contaminated food articles and vegetables and fruits having pesticide residue.

"Advanced Equipment have been installed at Ernakulam and Thiruvananthapuram districts. Training of concerned employees to check adulteration is all set to be completed," he said.

"From this September, we can test quality of vegetables, fruits and other food articles at government-owned labs without depending upon private facilities. We also have plans to set up similar facility in Kozhikode district," he said.

Concerned over increasing instances of food adulteration, state government recently stepped up its vigil against spurious food articles coming from neighbouring states.

As part of initiatives to check them, it had been made mandatory for all vegetables traders to get license and registration for sale.

Registration had been made compulsory for all vehicles bringing vegetables from other states under the Food Safety and Quality Act.

The minister said that as many as 41 criminal cases had been registered and 161 adjudication initiated in the state in connection with low quality of food articles served in hotels after this government came to power.

Production and distribution of as many as 14 brands of coconut oil had been banned in the state after finding out that they failed to meet required standards.

Food Security squads also took stern action against contaminated packaged drinking water, soda and water distributed via tankers, he said.

Mass awareness drives have also been organised to sensitise people against food adulteration, the minister added.

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