Almost three-quarters of the dairy products and half of the bottled water are adulterated, according to survey.
“Some seventy-four per cent of dairy products and 44 per cent of bottled-water in the market were found to be substandard and adulterated in the last fiscal year 2013-14,” reported the survey by Department of Food Technology and Quality Control. The department had surveyed the market over the year and reported that 37 out of 50 samples of dairy products, including milk, and 49 out of 112 bottled-water collected from the market were adulterated and substandard.
The department had collected 502 samples of milk, ghee, spices, rice and cereals, beans and fruits to check the adulteration level. “Of the total samples, 21.1 per cent items were below the national standard,” senior food officer at the department Pramod Koirala said, adding that bottled-water and dairy products in the valley contain comparatively more coliform bacteria than outside the valley. “But rice, cereals, biscuits and spices are more adulterated outside Kathmandu.”
The department’s annual report also revealed that 10.4 per cent of tested oil and ghee products were substandard. “Of which six out of eight ghee items and six out of 63 edible oil samples did not meet the required standard.”
The processed milk items also did not meet minimum standard as some 29 out of 39 processed milk items were found to be adulterated or substandard, whereas one in 11 sweet products did not meet the minimum standard, he said, adding that few besan and instant noodles – only three out of 10 items – were found to be below national quality standard.
Due to lack of manpower, the department’s monitoring and sample collection from its regional offices have also decreased over the last four years, Koirala added. “The department collected some 3,072 samples from across the country in the last fiscal year 2013-14, whereas some 3,364 samples were collected a fiscal year ago in 2012-13 and some 3,604 samples were collected in the fiscal year 2011-12,” he informed, adding that the department had filed cases against 279 firms in the last fiscal year for adulteration and failing to meet the national standard. “Of the total cases, some 103 firms – majority from the hotels and restaurant business – were from Hetauda regional office.
Likewise, the department has filed some 24 per cent cases related to food items including cereals, legumes and their products, whereas 19 per cent were related to fats and oil products.