Maharashtra government on Thursday said that it would make food adulteration a non-bailable offence and provide for life-term to the offenders.
Food and Civil Supplies Minister Girish Bapat informed the Legislative Council that the government would amend the existing law, to provide for life imprisonment to offenders.
Bapat said amendments to the Prevention of Food Adulteration (Maharashtra Amendment) Act will be tabled in the House before the ongoing winter session of state legislature ends.
Responding to a calling attention notice by Congress MLA Bhai Jagtap, the minister said the government was aware of the consequences of food adulteration and is committed to stopping the malpractice.
Jagtap said milk processing companies collect milk from farmers but the liquid turns “poisonous” by the time it reaches consumers.
“Substances like detergent powder, urea, skimmed milk powder, caustic soda, glucose, refined oil, salt, and starch are mixed in milk to preserve it, thereby endangering lives of people who consume it,” he said.
People cannot detect food adulteration easily and despite surprise checks by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), such malpractices continue unabated.
The minister said amendments to the Prevention of Food Adulteration (Maharashtra Amendment) Act, 1969 will be tabled before the end of the session.
“Apart from making the offence non-bailable, the law will also provide for life-imprisonment to the guilty,” Bapat said.
Earlier, those found guilty of food adulteration could face imprisonment of six months but the government now plans to amend the Act, which will provide for life imprisonment to them, an official said.