In the olden days, eating out rarely happened and if at all it happened, it was to celebrate – last day of exams or results day or birthday. Ordering food home from outside was unheard of. But today, not a single week goes by without eating put; weekends especially is all about going out to eat, waiting in miserable serpentine queues, waiting patiently for our turn while the stomach grumbles and the sane mind questions about this absurdity. And then we talk and live through ‘life style’ diseases.
If our grandmothers told us not to eat out there was a reason and looks like she was right all along. Recent data put out by the Govt shows that more than 20% of the food served in restaurants and fast food outlets across the country have been found to be substandard or adulterated. Out of 46,283 food samples including milk, milk products, edible vegetable oil and spices tested at various government laboratories during 2013-14, as many as 9,265 samples were found to be adulterated and misbranded.
In terms of state-wise breakup, UP was number one and coming closely behind its heels was Maharashtra. Did you even know that State or Union Territory governments under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 conducts regular surveillance, monitoring and sampling of food products? Random samples of food items are drawn by State Food Safety officials, tested in labs recognised by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India for analysis. In cases where samples are found to be not conforming to the provisions of the Act, actions are initiated against the offenders.
Well, therein lay the problem – conducting random checks and all that is fine but how many cases get squashed through money under the table and how many are cooked up for no reason?