Whatever the facts, but doubts have crept in!
Spurious medicines, substandard pesticides and now adulterated food products! This is how Kashmir is marching towards modernization. Adulteration of food is a serious issue and a heinous crime against mankind as it involves collective wellbeing of public. Food adulteration in Kashmir is not new as during my childhood I would very often overhear people talking about adulterating ghee by adding well cooked and finely mashed potatoes. However, there were rare incidents of food adulteration until recent past and adulterators were condemned as worst part of the society. But presently, with materialism dictating every aspect of our life, unchecked food adulteration is flourishing and has turned into a lucrative business for many unscrupulous traders and manufacturers.
Much talked about current food adulteration episode, where a leading milk supply business house and a reputed spice manufacturing group were accused of adulterating has raised several issues. On one hand, genuineness of most of the food manufacturing and processing business establishments in Kashmir and their trade practices have come under scanner and their credibility is now bound to be disputed by the common man.
On the other hand this sudden exposé about adulteration has cast aspersions on integrity and working of quality control monitoring and regulating agencies. After a long time monitoring agencies sprung from somewhere and uncovered an adulteration scam, otherwise enacted almost daily at every nook and corner of the state with impunity under the nose of these agencies! Isn’t this unexpected over enthusiasm confusing?
This scam has certainly shaken the confidence of common man and people are unable to decide how to react in such unique situation of cheating and mistrust. Brands, particularly food brands don’t create and consolidate their position in the market overnight. It is a gradual process and takes years to gain the trust and confidence of consumers. And if a brand fails to keep its promise the edifice of trust and confidence gets shattered within no time and it takes much longer time to regain the confidence of consumers. In present case it is alleged that the brands have not only failed but have violated the fundamentals of humanity by adding harmful life threatening chemicals and additives. The killer (carcinogenic) adulteration found in their prouducts speaks volumes of their materialistic mindset and inhuman frame of mind. Adulterating milk, the essential part of our daily food is an atrocious crime amounting to annihilation of entire humankind by inducing slow but excruciating death of whole population. Such felony cannot be pardoned in any case, either on the societal level or within the existing legal system. Any support to such shameful act of pushing people into agonizing state should be resisted by one and all. Beyond prosecution adulterators should be subjected to social boycott and declared as social outcasts.
Now the other aspect of this disgraceful act! Supervising quality of all food products through its monitoring agencies is duty of the state. It is a continuous process and any negligence in this regard on part of the administration is not only dereliction of assigned job but tantamount to connivance with deceitful elements. Monitoring agencies and their testing facilities being notified under law can check any food processing factory, godown or outlet for quality and can take sample at any point of time. However, the monitoring agency has to be judicious enough and treat every manufacturer, supplier and dealer evenhandedly with the sole motive of stopping and discouraging adulteration and ensure supply of quality food products to people of the state. Selective sampling or resorting to referral sampling only for few selected companies makes the whole issue of monitoring and sampling shoddy and will invite criticism.
However, giving rest to all contentions, speculations and apprehensions present allegations of adulteration against these companies should be investigated thoroughly and public at large made aware of the facts uncovered by the quality control agencies. Because every citizen has a right to know what he consumes as food. Any cover-up in this matter will not only put the monitoring agencies in dock but it will blemish the image of whole administration.This incident has created an opportunity both for the public and the administration to rise to the occasion; fight collectively against the menace of food poisoning (adulteration) ; isolate the criminal adulterators and cull these beasts out of the society.