Food safety regulator, FSSAI, has decided to intensify the crackdown against the sale of adulterated Edible Oil with Pan-India surveillance of Edible Oil (both for the branded and unbranded oil samples). A survey has been conducted across the country between 25 to 27 August 2020 across all the States or UTs.
This nation-wide survey carried out for the first time with over 4500 samples covering 16 varieties of edible oil, including mustard, coconut, palm, olive, and blended oil. Various hilly, as well as difficult terrains, including Ladakh, Arunachal Pradesh, Daman & Diu, and Andaman (UT), have been strategically included to be a part of this exercise to represent a holistic distribution of the sample size across the country. The samples have been drawn from hypermarkets or supermarkets and retail and grocery stores and include national and local brands.
The state food safety department officials have conducted the survey. Minimum 50 samples were collected from the metro cities – Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai, and Kolkata and 6 – 8 samples each in cities and districts, other than the metros. FSSAI had shared the detailed guidelines and SOPs for conducting the survey and procedure of sample collection with the Commissioners of Food Safety in all States or UTs. A video conferencing facility was organized to appraise them on the process and safeguards to be followed diligently at the States or UT level. A 24X7 communication facility via a common Whatsapp group was also created for the ease of officials involved.
A comprehensive strategy for testing these samples through the State Food Testing Laboratories or FSSAI notified food testing labs (including private NABL accredited) to analyze various parameters including fatty acid composition and adulteration of any other oils or harmful or extraneous substance or chemical has been developed. The test results are expected in a month.
The final survey results will help identify the critical hot spots for adulteration of edible oils in different parts of the country and will strengthen efforts at the States or UT level in devising targeted enforcement drives in the coming months. The whole exercise aims to ensure the availability of pure and safe mustard and other edible vegetable oils in the country.