Food safety offenders will now be booked under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) with criminal charges while Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) will continue to conduct food safety drives in collaboration with the Enforcement Branch (EB) and state police.

The KMC health department on Thursday held meeting with state police and food safety officers in a bid to stop the vendors from selling spurious water in packages using labels of registered and widely known companies.

The civic body has decided to crack down against such vendors with the help of state police and Enforcement Branch. Criminal charges will be slapped against the offenders for violation of food safety guidelines and misusing brand names of other companies, said Mr Atin Ghosh, member mayor-in-council (MMIC), health.

Mr Ghosh speaking on the matter said, “We conducted a joint meeting on Thursday in the presence of DG Enforcement Branch (EB) West Bengal and DC, EB, Kolkata along with food safety officers to decide on measures that could be taken against unlicensed vendors violating food safety norms and misusing brand names of other companies.

“A decision has been made that KMC health department will from now on conduct food safety drives along with Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) officials and the collected samples will have to be submitted to the chief municipal health officer along with the concerned food safety authorities.

“The reports of the samples tested in the laboratories will then be submitted to the EB. Following which, the chief municipal officer will request the EB to begin criminal proceedings against the offenders and crack down on their production units to seal them” “The EB will then begin criminal proceedings under IPC sections 272 and 273 against offenders who are selling spurious water in packages using brand names of reputed companies.

The food safety officers in parallel will file cases against the offenders under the FSSAI Act 2006.Regular reports will be submitted to EB concerning food or water adulteration, ” the MMIC said. In addition to these measures, Mr Ghosh added, “The DG enforcement branch has also officially asked us to check for Pollution Control Board (PCB) clearance license for setting up factories. In order to set-up any factory, the PCB clearance is mandatory but it has come to light that several factories are functioning in the city without the clearance which is an illegal act.”