Tuesday, June 8, 2010


Honest citizens striving to lead a normal life and with an inalienable right to have access to good but safe foods, must have a mechanism to make his voice heard in a democratic society. Such rights are not honored or respected in many developing countries, many of them having very lax and weak safety enforcement regime with practically no commitment or seriousness. If a decent citizen comes across food contamination or adulteration or any violation of safety aspects in the market place, what is the course of action available to address this incident? Practically nothing! Here is an example of a common man's dream of a system for booking food laws violators without experiencing the hassles and hazards involved in dealing with the inflexible bureaucratic machinery that exists to day.

"The US Food and Drug Administration and the National Institutes of Health have launched a new Safety Reporting Portal, designed to allow concerned citizens to submit a safety report regarding food, drugs and veterinary products that may be a danger. Mandatory safety reporting by private manufactured and processors will also use the new portal, replacing other previous systems such as the Reportable Food Register. The system will also do away with the need to submit duplicate reports on products and adverse events to several federal agencies. A standardised report will now be submittable through the Safety Reporting Portal, reducing confusion and enforcement questions. The new system will allow anyone with internet access to report a safety concern. The simplicity and accessibility of the system means the FDA expects the number of reports will increase. This may lead to more information to sift through, but will also allow greater data-mining in the event of an outbreak or undocumented side-effect".

Under the prevailing conditions in India, the retailers seem to be enjoying a free run getting away with any and every violations nonchalantly leaving the consumer to suffer such indignities mentally as well as financially. The philosophy of these retailers seem to be that "once billed it is yours" and what ever be the deficiency it must be suffered silently. It is time the consumer affairs ministry at Delhi addresses this gross injustice meted out by the retailers to the hapless Indian citizens for so long and evolve an accountability mechanism immediately.


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