Hyderabad: Non-packed sweets for all its mouth-watering tastes have been cause of complaints on the health front as there is no mention about the manufacturing and expiry dates. In order to address this lacuna, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India has mandated that outlets selling sweets in loose ensure “Date of Manufacture” and “Best before Date” of the product. This will be effective from June 1.

Parveen Jargar, Joint Director of RCD said, “The FBO shall decide and display the “Best before Date” of sweets depending upon the nature of the product and local conditions. An indicative list of shelf life of various types of sweets is given in the guidance note on the FSSAI website”

While speaking about the feasibility of the guidelines, consumer rights activist and president of NGO Know Your Rights Society, Srikhande Umesh Kumar told NewsMeter, “This is a welcoming initiative. However, the feasibility of the new regulation is something we need to think about.”

Mr Kumar opined that regular inspections can only help in this regard. However, in the context of Hyderabad, the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation has only four inspectors in its ranks thereby ruling out an appropriate mechanism to keep tab on erring shopkeepers.

“To ensure that the food outlets does not serve stale, unpacked sweets we need regular inspection. At least, once in every quarter samples need to be collected and tested. However, for the entire GHMC we have only four food inspectors. Hence the feasibility of a regular inspection is obviously less. Even when we register a complaint on GHMC app they say they will look into it because there are already several cases pending with them,” he said.

Mr Kumar further added that hygiene is another rising concern these days with restaurants and food outlets. “On social media most days we see a complaint of finding a cockroach in served food. But they are just reported cases. So you can imagine how many such cases go unreported everyday. Food can easily go stale during summers. In such situations the outlets mix old food with fresh ones. In such cases we need continuous vigil to ensure food safety,” he added.

Dheeshma Puzhakkal

Dheeshma Puzhakkal is currently a Reporter with Newsmeter. An alumnus of Hyderabad Central University, she has interned with Greater Kashmir newspaper and NDTV. Dheeshma has also made short films and documentaries. Her documentary ‘Still I Rise’, which is based on sex-trafficking in Hyderabad’s Old City, has earned accolades in several film festivals, such as International Documentary and Short Film Festival, Kerala (IDSFFK). An avid foodie, she loves to travel and listen to stories that others tell. Photography is one of her all-time interests. She has extensively written on satellite-based journalism, health, consumer, and data stories besides covering anti-crime investigative agencies.