KATHMANDU, Dec 29: Market inspection and quality test conducted in the first four months of Fiscal Year 2017/18 has found that 17 percent of food and beverages available in the market are unfit for consumption.
According to the Department of Food Technology and Quality Control (DoFTQC), 115 of the 903 samples of drinking water, dairy products, food grains and cereals, edible oil and ghee, sweets, fruits and vegetables, among others, collected from the market and duly tested in the laboratory, were found unfit for consumption.
Of the 115 samples, 38 are of bottled water, 20 of milk and dairy products, and remaining 18 of food grains and cereals.
According to DoFTQC, the department had received 50 complaints against companies selling substandard or expired and unlabeled products in the review period.
Issuing a statement, the department said that it conducted 1,688 market inspections in the review period. Most of the inspections were carried out at hotels and restaurants and manufacturers of food products.
Kathmandu leads other cities in terms of number complaints. Ten complaints were received against firms based in Kathmandu in the review period, followed by seven complaints against firms based in Rupandehi, and six and five against firms based in Bara and Makawanpur, respectively. Other complaints are against firms based in Lalitpur, Bhaktapur, Bara, Sarlahi, Dang, Banke, Kanchanpur, Bajhang, and Kaski, according to the statement.
Permission from DoFTQC is mandatory for import of food products as per the Import and Export Directives. In the first four months, the department issued 13,804 permissions for import of food products.
Similarly, the department conducted school-level Food Sanitation and Nutrition Awareness Program in 43 schools in the first four months of FY2016/17. The department believes that such programs will be instrumental in raising awareness among students regarding food sanitation and importance of nutrition to human body.