The Madras High Court has warned the Salem-based starch and sago manufacturers Sago Serve that it would initiate contempt proceedings if the company caused any obstruction...
The Madras High Court has warned the Salem-based starch and sago manufacturers Sago Serve that it would initiate contempt proceedings if the company caused any obstruction to the officials of District Food Safety Department visiting its godowns to verify the presence of rejected sago products.
Hearing a PIL by Kallakurichi Vellalapatti Vivasayigal Munnetra Sangam of Namakkal District seeking to test the rejected sago material, the first Bench comprising Chief Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice R Mahadevan yesterday impleaded the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and the Food Safety Standards Authority of India as respondents and directed them to file counters within four weeks.
“Since the matter in issue relates to the purity of an edible product which is widely available and consumed, it is necessary that the above respondents bestow urgent consideration on the matter, taking the nine test parameter, so that we have the benefit of afinal view as to what should be necessary test to be followed.”
When it was brought to the notice of the court that the Managing Director of Sago Serve was not giving the designated officer District Food Safety office, Salem, access to the godowns to verify where the rejected product has been stored, the bench said, “We are not able to appreciate this obstructionism and thus must put the Managing Director, Sago Serve on notice that if any obstruction to the designated officer, District Food Safety office is pointed out to us in future, we will have no option except to initiate contempt proceedings.”
Directing the Designated officer, District Food Safety office, Salem to forward its views to Food Safety Standards Authority of India, New Delhi, it ordered the officer to be appear again on August 2 and posted the matter.
The matter relates to a PIL regarding addition of acid and other harmful chemicals to sago products.
The farmers’ association had submitted that the Tamil Nadu Tapioca Natural Sago Manufacturers Association of Salem, was purchasing tapioca from the farmers and adding acid and other chemicals in order to make it attractive.
The association had already made representation in this regard to the higher authorities on November 3, 2014, but there was no response, the petitioner said.
The PIL was filed seeking for an interim direction from the Court to conduct the prescribed test by the authorities of Referral Food Laboratory, Pune.