Experts against oil AVMs
Sale through automated machines not a safe way
Food safety experts apprehend that the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) order allowing sale of edible oil through Automated Vending Machines will not stop adulteration as claimed.
On May 24 an FSSAI order said that as edible oil is not available in small packages, like sachets and pouches, at prices which are affordable to large sections of consumers, the latter tend to buy the product that is sold loose, which is of suspect quality.
Automated tamper proof vending machines (AVMs) will thus provide good quality edible oil to these small consumers and reduce unauthorised sale. FSSAI director (regulatory compliance) S.K. Yadav said that the oil made available through AVMs will be packed in a manner which is tamper proof and adheres to packaging and labelling regulations.
Chief public analyst of TS and AP Food Laboratory N Ravindra said that usually dairy products like milk are sold in ATMs by the federations and departments concerned. "But here, if private individuals or shops are selling oil through AVMs, there is a possibility of adulteration as there is no specific department to check them. We have been receiving around 150 samples of edible oil for adulteration checks every month and several cases turn out to be adulterated.”
He added that the most common violation is exaggerated claims by the companies that sell the oil. “We have asked several of the major brands to remove the exaggerated claims, such as, oil is good for health. They were also asked to print the contents, including saturated fatty acids, on the label. Many of them have removed and some of them are yet to do. The act clearly says that edible oil sellers make exaggerated claims about the health impact of the oils.”
GHMC food safety inspectors say that the order says that the machines must be tamper proof, but it is difficult to ensure that they are tamper proof when AVMs have come up in every nook and corner of the city.
A food inspector on condition of anonymity said, “Edible oil adulteration has increased a lot. Sale of loose edible oil was banned earlier, but due to political pressure, traders are allowed to sell loose oil in certain areas.”
Oil made available through AVMs will be packed in a manner which is tamper proof and adheres to packaging and labelling regulations.
— S.K. YADAV SSAI director (regulatory compliance)