'Adopt zero tolerance in food quality

Kathmandu, August 7

Minister of Agriculture, Land Management and Cooperatives Chakra Pani Khanal (Baldev) today directed all the line agencies to adopt ‘zero tolerance’ in issues related to quality of food.

Addressing a programme at the Department of Food Technology and Quality Control (DoFTQC) here today, Minister Khanal said that line agencies need not wait for direction from the ministry while curbing market anomalies and mooting action against traders and firms found to be compromising in food quality.

“No one has the right to supply and sell substandard products and risk consumers’ health,” Khanal said, adding government’s regulatory and monitoring bodies should aggressively crack down on firms compromising on food qualities.

Khanal lamented that DoFTQC has not been active enough to maintain quality standards in food even as the government has designated it with major responsibility that is directly related to consumers.

Citing that the general public has been raising questions on the quality of various food items available in the domestic market, Khanal said DoFTQC should intensify market monitoring and standardise its quality checking mechanism.

“Take action against every food product that is not up to the standard and the ministry will support every decision of DoFTQC against market anomalies.”

According to him, DoFTQC should primarily inspect quality of consumable goods like water, milk and other food items. “As cases of adulteration in these food items are rampant, necessary measures need to be adopted to maintain their quality.”

Similarly, Khanal also stressed on the need to standardise laboratories of DoFTQC and make its services competitive in the global market.

Sanjeev Kumar Karn, director general of DoFTQC, said that the department will seal all the firms that are reluctant to improve the quality of their food products. However, Karn admitted that the department has not been able to intensify market inspection across the country due to lack of enough resources.

As per DoFTQC’s report, 354 sample of food items out of the 2,813 collected in the last fiscal year for tests did not meet the quality standards set by the government.