With residents as well as elected representatives of the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) urging the civic administration to restart issuing of licences and testing quality of food at eateries, Municipal Commissioner Sourabh Rao said it could be implemented under the Food Safety Act if the state government issued a notification declaring the health officer of civic body as designated officer for the purpose.
“The PMC legal department has informed that the civic body can take up the implementation of the Food Safety Act if the state food safety commissioner issues a notification declaring civic heath officer as designated officer. It will be possible only if the state government issues such notification,” said Rao.
Shiv Sena corporator Pramod Bhangire had proposed the PMC to restart the system of reissuing of licences to food joints. Sources said the civic health department has been receiving at least 10 such demands every month from residents, which were being forwarded to the district Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as the implementing authority for the Food Safety Act.
The PMC had been implementing the Food Adulteration Prohibitory Act 1954 till August 4, 2011. Under the Act, the civic body had been issuing licences for sale and storage of food items in civic jurisdiction. It was also responsible for renewing the licence and testing the food items besides taking legal action against those responsible for selling adulterated or bad quality food.
However, the Food Adulteration Prohibitory Act 1954 was dissolved and the Food Safety Act 2006 came into existence from August 5, 2011. As per the new law, the responsibility of selling and production of food items was with the Food and Drug Administration department.
According to Bhangire, there were large number of eateries operating in the city, which were increasing every day, including the illegal ones. “It is important to issue licences to eateries operating illegally while testing the quality of food items sold by them. But, it is not being done as there is shortage of staff with the Food and Drug Administration department. This has led to serious health concern of residents and also increased the negligence of traders,” he said, adding that the PMC should restart the system.
In the complaints received from residents, the PMC has been informed on the bad quality of food, adulteration, unhygienic condition at the place of preparation, problems caused to residents due to smoke and bad smell from eateries.