India’s State Food Commissioner has made it mandatory that, effective immediately, fruit and vegetables with stickers on them should not be sold in the market. However, as many are still unaware of the guidelines, fruit and vegetable suppliers, vendors and retailers are still selling fruits and vegetables with stickers on them.
Vendors say they were receiving items with stickers from the mandi suppliers and they were not told to remove them. Commissioner Kahan Singh Pannu said: “These stickers, pasted on fruits and vegetables, usually contain harmful chemicals and buyers consume them without knowing the toxicity of the chemicals. Therefore, to maintain the safety standards, the decision has been taken by the Food Safety and Standard Authority of India (FSSAI) at the central level.”
The Commissioner said: “The suppliers usually apply these stickers to make the eatables look genuine and earn extra bucks from them. However, these stickers were not needed to reflect the premium quality of the fruits. Sometimes the stickers were applied on the fake products as well.”
Secretary, Mandi Board, Rupinder Minhar: “Usually the imported high-quality food items have stickers applied on the items. But to sell their items on beneficial rates the retailers apply stickers on their items. In other countries such stickers are applied using wax. However, local traders use harmful adhesives, which are used for commercial purposes.”
Tribuneindia.com further quoted Pannu as saying: “The food safety teams have been directed to check the sale of such fruits and vegetables and apprise the traders aware of the provisions of the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006, as per which no food business operator will store, sell or distribute any food article which are unsafe.”