Adulterated goods flood Ukhrul market
R LESTER MAKANG
UKHRUL,6th Sep: Are the authorities concerned only to blame? Or is it our own insensitivity that is contributing to the mess? Apparently, the blame for the miserable failure of the so-called ban on adulterated goods is extending far beyond the flippancy of the department concerned which has been unable to keep close tabs on import, stocking and selling of adulterated goods in the town market.
Despite the current ban imposed on hazardous goods, the sight of a vast variety of unlabelled goods, especially from Myanmar being displayed in small kiosks and grocery shops continue to greet the public in every nook and corner of Ukhrul town. Even some goods, including medicines that were beyond their expiry dates could be found openly displayed on the shelves.
Worse still, a growing number of shops selling such edibles have sprouted in the vicinity of schools and educational institutions. So much so, small school going children have grown addicted to these foods that come in colourful and attractive packages.
During the course of an independent survey conducted by The People's Chronicle here, most of such goods from Myanmar including toffees, fruit juices, wafer chocolates and other edibles in smaller packages were found to have no labels of manufacture and expiry details, while the labels on some ready-to-serve beverages like Sunday Coffee etc., were hardly legible.
Consciously or otherwise, many consumers in the town have helplessly gotten into the habit of consuming the dross. Many parents and guardians who came to drop their children at a school at Phungreitang said that in spite of their hesitation, they often buy the crappy stuffs at the insistence of their children.
A mother of a school kid said that she wanted the shops operating in the vicinity of the school stop selling any stuff that could be bad for the health of children. "Once the kids insist, it is hard to stop them from getting what they want. It is not good that our children have these Moreh stuff (meaning Myanmar-made goods) regularly but we are helpless," she added.
In contrast, there are some hardened consumers who have no qualms about consuming the stuffs on a regular basis. A shopkeeper who sells such Myanmar imported goods at Phungreitang said that she is regularly stocking these stuffs because children have a great liking for them.
A large chunk of edibles including the Myanmar imported ones, available in the market are cheap and tasty in as much as they are hazardous to public health. "Majority of these food stuffs are attractive and tasty, but the flavouring agents used to give the taste and flavour of different fruits, are artificial and spurious, and could have bad impacts on health," said a medical practitioner.
In some other cases, medicines that were due to expire within days or beyond their expiry dates were found still on the shelves of some pharmacies, while some grocery stores had sold expired goods to unsuspecting consumers.
Meanwhile, the Food Safety Enforcement Wing, Ukhrul which had conducted a special drive for food safety in the town last year, is seemingly staging a vanishing act, much to the angst of the discerning consumers of the town. It may be recalled that the Food Safety Enforcement Wing, Ukhrul carried out a special food safety drive for two consecutive days at Ukhrul headquarters as part of the first 100 days of governance of the incumbent government in 2017 and had seized different adulterated food items including unlabelled Myanmar goods and tobacco items.