May 24, 2017
CM Jayaraman, President of the Citizens Voice Club, after his morning walk, strode into a shop to pick up some fruits on him fight the summer heat. A day later when he cut the fruit, he had the shock of his life as there came out strange fumes with pungent chemical smell. It took no time for him to realize that some drug was injected into the fruits either as a preservative or a colour enhancer.
He told Covai Post that when to the shop accusing the vendor of selling adulterated material, the vendor put the blame on the wholesaler. Jayaraman admits that it could be the wholesaler who must have injected the drug in his godown. “Even if someone else has done the adulteration, it is ultimately the seller who is responsible,” he adds.
When the Centre for Food Safety was notified, this product was inspected by the district head and put the issue on its website. After consulting experts, the centre has come out with a statement: “For the sake of prudence, the CFS advises the public not to eat watermelon which is `foaming’ and is of dubious quality.”
Jayaraman says maximum penalty to the adulterator and financial retribution to the consumer is what the law says. A shutting down of the shop for three days between the penalty settlements along with a notification to consumers will help create greater awareness.
An expert at the food testing laboratory of National Agro Foundation said that though this may be an isolated incident, the consumer’s rights grievance cannot be ignored. He confirmed that traces of colouring chemicals and toxins like sulphate can be found on the watermelon surface. Long-term consumption of such items can cause allergies and later cancer, he said.