Over 20 per cent of food items served in restaurants and fast food outlets across the country have been found to be substandard or adulterated, according to government data.
Out of 46,283 food samples including milk, milk products, edible vegetable oil and spices tested at various government laboratories during 2013-14, as many as 9,265 samples were found to be adulterated and misbranded.
Uttar Pradesh reported the highest number of such cases in 2013-14, with a total of 2,930 vendors being prosecuted and as many as 1,919 of them convicted. A total penalty of more than Rs 4.47 crore was imposed on offenders in the state.
In 2012-13, a total of 2,551 cases were registered and there was conviction in 1,010 cases. Penalty amount of over Rs 3.70 crore was imposed on offenders.
Maharashtra comes second in the list, with government agencies carrying out 2,557 prosecutions and convicting 66 offenders.
Haryana registered 260 such cases for the period 2013-14, and conviction was awarded in 166 cases, while penalty amount of Rs 26,61,800 was imposed on offenders.
Other states like Uttarakhand registered 122 cases, Jharkhand 99, Bihar 90 and Delhi 61 cases of food adulteration.
Regular surveillance, monitoring and sampling of food products are undertaken by State or Union Territory governments under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 to curb the menace, said Union Health Ministry officials.
Random samples of food items are drawn by State Food Safety officials and sent to the laboratories recognised by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India for analysis.
In cases where samples are found to be not conforming to the provisions of the Act, actions are initiated against the offenders, the officials said.