FDA officials hunt down shops storing or selling banned tobacco substances

Aug 18, 2013, 08:58 IST | Richa Pinto

Send seized tobacco to factory in Pune, where they are burnt to generate electricity for the region

Tobacco addicts beware. If anyone is caught chewing tobacco that is either flavoured, scented or mixed with any addictives, officers of the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) could lodgean FIR against the individual from now on and get him arrested.After the state government called for a ban on these products for a period of one year recently, the FDA Thane officials have launched a mission to seize such products. So far gutkha and tobacco products worth Rs 4 lakh have been seized from nine different shops in Mumbai.

The FDA Thane officials have seized gutka and tobacco products worth R4 lakh from nine differnt shops in Mumbai. Pic/ Richa Pinto

On July 20, the state had banned the sale of certain tobacco products for a period of one year under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 -- prohibiting the manufacture, distribution, sale and consumption of these products. Speaking to SUNDAY MiD DAY, SK Shere, Thane Joint Commissioner, FDA, said his colleagues have the authority to lodge an FIR against any person caught with the banned products. “In our recent drive, we seized products worth Rs 4 lakh from various manufacturers and suppliers of gutkha and flavoured supari,” he said.

He said while owners of several pan shops had staged a protest against this ban, the authorities are determined to crack the whip on anyone found in possession of these banned substances. The tobacco products that are seized are generally sent to a factory in Pune where they are incinerated to generate electricity to power homes. On Saturday, the FDA officials were seen sending 25 tonnes of tobacco seized by them to the Pune factory. “It is good if some homes benefit from these seized and illegal products,” said Shere.

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