It's not noodles and pasta contamination alone that is catching the attention of the food regulators. Widespread adulteration and wrong labeling have been found in bottled water and milk tested across India as well. Chandigarh, Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu are among the top offenders in selling contaminated or fake bottled water, going by the data for 2014-15 provided by states and union territories to the Union Health Ministry. In milk, Himachal Pradesh is the worst performer, followed by Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Jammu and Kashmir and Madhya Pradesh, according to answers tabled in Parliament.
In water, Chandigarh showed 100 per cent adulteration, Jharkhand 75 per cent, Andhra Pradesh 70 per cent, Karnataka 66 per cent and Tamil Nadu 58 per cent out of the samples collected for testing from each state or union territory. A comparison with the previous year shows that the level of contamination has come down in many states including Andhra Pradesh, Assam , Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Puducherry and Chattisgarh. In Tamil Nadu, the level of contamination has risen from 42 to 58 per cent.
However, many states, which had showed considerable levels of adulteration in bottled water in the previous financial year, have not given their data for this year.
Gujarat at 40 per cent, Haryana 30 per cent and Uttar Pradesh at 28 per cent contamination last year, are among the states with no data for 2014-15, as per Parliament reply given on July 24.
In milk too, there are many absentees in 2014-15 including Gujarat, Delhi, West Bengal, Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, with these states offering no data. Himachal Pradesh showed 92 per cent of its milk samples being contaminated, while others with high level of adulteration were Jharkhand at 45 per cent, Chhattisgarh at 38 per cent, Jammu & Kashmir at 32 per cent and Madhya Pradesh at 28 per cent. Among the least offenders were Kerala at 4 per cent, Andhra Pradesh at 9 per cent, Arunachal Pradesh at 14 per cent and Chandigarh at 15 per cent. Comparable figures were not immediately available for 2013-14 in milk contamination. Water adulteration
Even as milk production in India was estimated at more than 146 million tonnes in 2014-15, there's been large-scale import of milk and milk products in the past few years, according to government data. The countries from where India imports milk products regularly include Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Egypt, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Japan, Poland, Singapore, Ireland, Spain, Saudi Arabia, Switzerland, Taiwan, Turkey, USA and UK.
While the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) draws samples from each imported food consignment referred to it for testing, the government is considering the option to switch over to the international norm of risk-based inspection. ''The legal permissibility of introducing risk-based sampling of imported food under the Food Safety Act is being examined in consultation with the Department of Legal Affairs,'' according to a reply given by health and family welfare minister J P Nadda.