The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has warned Diwali shoppers to be cautious when purchasing sweets after it detected substandard preparations during checks at various sweetmeat outlets and production units in the past fortnight.
Officials said on Friday, that they found vendors, particularly of milk-based mithais adding large amount of sugar to khoya and selling it as kalakand. “Kalakand is a proprietary food item, so errant vendors try to circumvent the Food Safety and Standards Act (FSSA), 2011, producing substandard khoya and mislabelling it as kalakand,” said Suresh Deshmukh, joint commissioner (food), FDA.
Khoya is dehydrated milk that, according to the food standards, should contain at least 30% fat. This year, FDA teams have seized samples of substandard khoya with a lower fat content of between 18% and 24% . “This is definitely substandard khoya, where sugar, vegetable oil, and at times mashed potatoes or maida, are mixed with the khoya to increase the weight,” a food safety inspector said.
Genuine khoya costs over Rs300 a kg, whereas the cost of the additional sugar is only about Rs40 a kg. Till date, 4,632 kg of khoya worth Rs9.5 lakh and 840 kg of kalakand worth Rs1.25 lakh has been seized at units in Kurla, Chembur, Dharavi, Bandra, Goregaon and Jogeshwari.
“Checks have been stepped up this festive season, with officials raiding sweetmeat shops and storage places not registered under the FSSA, for not having adequate permits or licenses,” said FDA commissioner Mahesh Zagade, adding that officials were focusing on interstate bus terminals and railway stations, through which substandard materials were also coming into the city.