Monday, Feb 26, 2018 | Last Update : 02:58 AM IST
After hearing the submissions, the bench concurred and said that there was a need to strengthen the testing of farm produce and poultry.
Mumbai: The Bombay high court has taken cognizance of complaints by a petitioner complaining of absence of proper machinery to check for contamination with pesticide residue, antibiotics and veterinary drugs in food articles like vegetables, fruits and meat in the state. The HC directed the state to take instructions from relevant departments set up laboratories under the control of local authorities and also form inspection squads to visit poultry farms in the state. The court also directed the state to direct local bodies to inspect the produce being sold at APMC markets and consider setting up laboratories there. The directions were issued in light of the complaints by the petitioner that all edible items were being treated with harmful antibiotics, insecticides and pesticides that were violative of food and drug rules.
A division bench of justices Naresh Patil and Nitin Sambre was hearing a public interest litigation filed by Citizen Circle for Social Welfare and Education, an NGO through advocate Shehzad Naqvi seeking directions to the union and the state to set up a mechanism to curb intentional contamination of food products by the producers and farmers which was resulting in health hazards to consumers. While referring to the sorry state of affairs the petitioners stated that there was no inspection apparatus to check on usage of antibiotics in poultry farms. Referring to section 21 of the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006, which deals with veterinary drugs, pesticides and antibiotic residues found in meat, vegetables and fruits, Mr Naqvi said that the centre and state should form a mechanism to check these.
After hearing the submissions, the bench concurred and said that there was a need to strengthen the testing of farm produce and poultry. "There is a need to set up inspection squads and laboratories to test for the harmful residue in all food items," said justice Patil. He instructed the state to rope in local bodies and take instructions on setting up of inspection squads and laboratories within each district and at local markets too.