This Navratri, be careful of tainted cereal flour

Following cases of food poisoning in state, FDA seizes 2.31-L kg of adulterated flour, ask wholesalers to stop selling it

People keen on using cereal flour (bhagar) for their food preparations for Navratri, will have to stock up on it as Food and Drug Administration officials have called for a ban on flour across the state.

Bhagar will be a rare commodity this festival, as FDA officials
have sealed a total of five manufacturing units in the state

The ban has been called into action after authorities seized over 2.31-lakh kg of cereal flour following several hundred complaints of food poisoning across the state.

According to officials, they have seized flour worth Rs 77 lakh.

Confirming the raid, Suresh Deshmukh, assistant commissioner food, FDA, said, "We have seized flour from different parts of the state and have sent the samples for food testing.
As of now selling of bhagar has been banned. Once we find out which company has supplied the tainted flour, we will take action."

Deshmukh added that two manufacturing units from Thane and three from Nashik had been sealed and wholesalers in the city were asked to stop the sale of bhagar immediately.

"We do not want to take any risk and hence we have decided to seize the material."

The incident came to light when around 146 people in the Kothrud area were taken ill due to food poisoning after consuming bhagar on Wednesday night.
While 109 patients were discharged on Thursday, the others were still undergoing treatment in the hospitals.
Preliminary reports revealed that no one was seriously ill and a single unit in Nashik seemed to be the offender, as most people who fell ill had consumed the flour manufactured from the Nashik unit.

Deshmukh further added that stern action would be taken against the offender and in the meantime warned citizens to be cautious while buying the flour.

IITians suffer food poisoning
On Sunday, more than 500 students from the Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay (IIT-B) suffered from food poisoning after they ate Chinese food at the institute's mess. "We have sent the samples for testing and are awaiting the results," said an FDA official.

What is Bhagar?
Cereal flour or bhagar is most commonly used during Navratri to prepare Samo rice, which is used to break fasts that are maintained during the festival.

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