SURAT: The Surat Municipal Corporation’s (SMC) health and hospital department seems to wakes up late in matter of public health.
Despite of the fact that Surat residents would gorge on farsan (snacks) and sweets in huge quantity during Rakshabandhan festival, the food department fanned out in the city to take samples of the farsan and sweet items from the shops on August 5 i.e Saturday.
As per the list provided by the department, about 103 shops were raided in different municipal zones and samples of various farsan and sweet items were collected from the shops. The samples were sent to the public health laboratory of the SMC on the same day.
Interestingly, the civic body was closed for two days, that is, August 6 and August 7 for Rakshabandhan. The laboratory results are yet to arrive and that Surtis already gorged on farsan and sweets in the last two days. Apart from the lesser known farsan and sweet shops, some of the popular shops in Adajan, Athwalines, Varachha, Udhana, Katargam, Rander and Lal Gate were also checked by the food department officials. The food inspectors had taken the samples of ganthia, kaju katli, barfi, penda, farsan items etc.
Around 14kg of stale food items, including chutney, potatoes, water and other items, were destroyed on the spot.
A food inspector on condition of anonymity said, “The samples of farsan and sweet items have been collected and sent for laboratory testing. The laboratory results will be out after 14 days. However, about 12 samples of food items were checked on the spot and that they were found up-to-the-mark.”
Asked why the department did not check the food items in advance, he said, “The sweet and farsan shops prepare bulk items few days ahead of the festival. There is no point to check the items a fortnight ahead of the festival.”
A social activist Rajesh Modi said, “Rakshabandhan is the festival when Surtis gorge on sweets and farsan in huge quantity. The food department should start the health surveillance much ahead of the festival to prevent the shop owners from selling adulterated and contaminate items. There should be checking every fortnight in the farsan and sweet shops for the safety of the public health.”
Despite of repeated attempts, deputy commissioner of health and hospital Dr Hemant Desai was not available for comments.
Chief medical officer Dr Ashish Naik is not aware what happened with the samples of farsan and sweets. Dr Naik said, “I was not present in the city, so I do not know about the food sample.”s