The Kathmandu Post, 26 May 2018
The Department of Food Technology and Quality Control (DFTQC) filed cases against 135 firms in the first 10 months of the fiscal year for selling substandard food products that pose a risk to human health, mainly edible oils, bottled water, pulses and dairy products.
DFTQC spokesperson Purna Chandra Wasti said the errant firms were booked under the Food Act 1967. Their cases have been sent to the concerned District Administration Office. According to him, 38 firms are from the Kathmandu Valley.
Likewise, the department booked state-owned Dairy Development Corporation (DDC) on the charge of selling milk contaminated with coliform bacteria.
The DFTQC also took action against well-known private manufacturers of milk products like Sujal Dairy, Pokhara; Asian Thai Foods, Sunsari; Nepal Dairy, Lalitpur; Kathmandu Dairy, Kathmandu; Nandan Mithai Bhandar, Lalitpur and Agro Processing and Industries, Bara.
This is not the first time that DDC has been caught for selling inferior dairy products. Two years ago, it was found using 4,000 sacks of powdered milk without labelling and two sacks of expired sugar for producing dairy products.
Among the 135 firms booked by the department, 31 are makers of edible oils and ghee, 20 are bottled water plants, 10 are producers of pulses and related foods, 17 are manufacturers of dairy products and six are confectioneries. The other firms are manufacturers of packaged foods, animal feed and carbonated beverages.
Most of the substandard edible oils were produced by private firms based in Bara and Rupandehi districts. Among them, 27 are from Makwanpur district, eight from Sarlahi, six from Sunsari, four from Kailali and three each from Kailali and Sindhuli.
According to Wasti, the most common problem is the presence of coliform bacteria in bottled water. Similarly, processed milk was found to be contaminated by coliform bacteria and had insufficient solid-not-fat while cooking oil had a high concentration of fatty acids and peroxides.
A study carried out by the Nepal Academy of Science and Technology (NAST) this year had also found drinking water including bottled water sold in the valley contaminated by coliform bacteria. Of the 925 specimens tested by NAST, 740 were found to be unfit for consumption.
According to Wasti, offenders can be fined up to Rs10,000 and jailed for up to one year. The DFTQC has planned to revise the existing act saying it lacks teeth. The new act that the department has envisioned has fixed a maximum fine of Rs50,000 and a maximum prison term of five years.
Private dairy firms booked by DFTQC
Sujal Dairy (Pokhara)
Asian Thai Foods (Sunsari)
Nepal Diary (Lalitpur)
Kathmandu Dairy (Kathmandu)
Nandan Mithai Bhandar (Lalitpur)
Agro Processing & Industries (Bara