The Centre has passed its populist food security bill, promising subsidised food grains to more than two-thirds of the country’s population -- over seven crore in the state. But food consumption for a miscellany of citizens in Mumbai is far from secure, or sanitised.
Here are the sickening facts: 19 students showed symptoms of food poisoning on August 14 after consuming toffees distributed by a classmate on her birthday in Manpada, Thane. Last year in April, 148 took ill at a wedding banquet after having food cooked in sordid environs, some 10-12 feet from a public toilet. The hygiene of snacks vended at Juhu or Girgaum chowpatty and other roadside stalls is a myth this paper has busted many times in the past.
Agencies like BMC or FDA have learned zilch from the lethal apathy which in July sent 31 children who ate midday meals in Dhule to hospital, not long after 28 kids were killed in Saran, Bihar after eating under the ‘flagship’ meal scheme.
The municipal corporation or the food watchdog, responsible for checking adulteration and maintaining quality, are known to wake up only after incidents of illness, or right before festivals, when wary consumers can smell spiked food.
Authorities invariably wait to be discredited by a media exposé or rapped by the judiciary to do their job.
A necessary push to galvanise authorities came on Monday, when Mayor Sunil Prabhu instructed health officials to coordinate with the FDA to check for adulterated mawa, amid festivities of Janmashtami and Ganpati. Let this be an advisory for the authorities to wake up, before somebody throws up.