Collect fruit samples from all districts: D&FCO to Officials

Srinagar, March 13: The Drugs & Food Control Organisation has started sampling in all the districts of Kashmir Valley to check any kind of presence of chemicals in fruits following reports of the sale of early-ripened fruits especially watermelon in markets.

Commissioner of Food Safety & Controller, Drugs & Food Control Organisation, Hashmat Ali Yatoo said that the department has issued instructions to all the district headquarters and other places to collect samples of fruits.

“We are collecting samples and sending them to the labs. So far there is no such report which would have proved any kind of presence of chemical in fruits,” he said.

The Drugs and Food Control Organisation is routinely carrying out the market checking in all the districts of Kashmir to check whether any fruit or vegetable has been adulterated or contaminated, ensuring the safety of consumers.

“We are monitoring the situation across places. We have been taking samples of other foods also like mutton, chicken, adulterated milk, packed foods etc. We take samples and then send it to the concerned labs,” he said.

Yatoo also mentioned that mobile testing facilities are being utilized to ensure timely sample collection and testing at the labs. He also said as of now they did not have any reports of fruit being adulterated adding that they will get a clear picture within two days.

The move has come following complaints on social media that artificially ripened watermelons have flooded the Kashmir markets ahead of the holy month Ramadan.

Bashir Ahmad Bashir, chairman of Kashmir Valley Fruit Growers Cum Dealers Union said that they are not aware of any artificially ripened fruits. He emphasized that the relevant authorities should test the fruits to ensure their quality and safety.

He said that Kashmir valley receives watermelon even in winter, but people usually consume it during Ramadan. Bashir said they can’t determine whether the fruit is ripened artificially or mature adding that it can be scientifically checked by concerned authorities only.