Wednesday, 23 January, 2019

FDA to crack down on food biz in malls, supermarkets

10th December 2018, 03:37 Hrs

the goan I network

PANAJI

Days after launching a crackdown on restaurants and shacks for shortcomings in paper work and licences, the Food and Drugs Administration is now eyeing the food businesses in malls and supermarkets.  

Health Minister Vishwajit Rane on Sunday said the FDA will crackdown on supermarkets and malls in the State where food is sold. He said, the FDA teams will be checking food quality, especially the sale of food items beyond expiry.  

The minister was speaking to the media on the sidelines of the inaugural function of a 250-bed private super-speciality hospital -- Healthway Hospital -- set up and managed by a collective of eminent Goan doctors, surgeons and specialists at Ella, Old Goa.  

“The FDA has identified big stores and malls where food items are being sold after expiry dates,” Rane said, adding that the agency will soon start inspecting them.  

Rane through the FDA has recently gone on an overdrive on the food safety issue, months after the agency faced severe criticism and flak for poor handling of the formalin-laced fish scare.  

Public confidence in the safety of fish sold in the local markets had hit an all time low following the agency’s flip-flop on its findings that fish was indeed laced with the carcinogenic formalin in a pre-dawn raid and spot tests at the Margao wholesale market in July last.   

The issue is yet to die down and local fish markets are nervously limping back to normalcy after fish transporters reluctantly began to implement a fresh set of rules with the FDA cracking down under public pressure.  

Rane’s Public Health Department last month had banned the import of fish into Goa while simultaneously imposing stringent conditions for transportation including requiring trucks to be insulated.   

The minister, however, granted exemptions for small fishermen from across the border located within 60-kilometer radius and allowed them to bring their catch into Goan markets. Meanwhile, fish transporters have also begun bringing in seafood in trucks which are insulated as per the prescribed norms since last week even as adequate testing facilities are yet to be established in the State to check the use of toxic preservatives.  

The State government has roped in the Export Inspection Agency to set up a state-of-the-art testing lab. A 500 square metre area at the SGPDA market complex in Margao has been identified around a month ago but the lab is expected to take at least a year to build. 

Organ, tissue transplant facility in Goa soon: Vishwajit


PANAJI: Health Minister Vishwajit Rane on Sunday said the Goa government will set up a state organ and tissue transplant organisation (SOTTO) on the lines of the one at KEM Hospital in Mumbai.   

Speaking to media on the sidelines of a function Rane said, “We will go with the KEM hospital model and like the Society model in Tamil Nadu.”   

Such a mechanism is needed as in Goa we need to have a registry of people requiring organ transplant, he added.   

The Bombay High Court at Goa had last week directed the State government to set up SOTTO within six months.   

The Bench, comprising Justices R M Borde and P K Chavan, had also asked authorities to make available the necessary cross-matching facilities. The direction came in response to a petition filed by NGO Mango Foundation.   

Rane said, his ministry was in touch with a senior KEM Hospital officer in this regard. He said,   

the Financial implications of setting up SOTTO are also being studied, adding that the state may get some funds from Centre for the purpose.  

Rane said, the SOTTO being set up at GMCH would be only the seventh in the country.   

Meanwhile, the minister said fitting grills to the windows and other precautionary measures will be taken in the GMC’s buildings so that sucide incidents do not happen in the campus.   

 The Health minister was reacting to Saturday’s incident in which a patient Ravindra Naik committed suicide by jumping off from the the second floor.   

In a meeting with GSIDC we will discuss this issue, Rane said.  

Meanwhile, Rane warned against some foreign nationals illegally selling expired imported items including medicines in Goa.   

“We will take strict action against the persons involved in this type of business”, Rane said.