Vizag will soon get the state’s first fully-fledged food laboratory to conduct food tests on the samples obtained from raids throughout the state. So far, for any raids conducted in the city, the concerned department has to send samples to Hyderabad for a final report on the food quality. On Wednesday, P Manjari, Director of the Andhra Pradesh State Food Control Department, announced the setting up of a food processing lab in Visakhapatnam. The announcement was given during an inspection at Mandapeta in East Godavari District.
This new food lab in Visakhapatnam will be the first in Andhra Pradesh, doing quality checks on the food samples brought from surprise raids made at restaurants, food points and eateries. The laboratory will be set up with an estimated budget of Rs 20 crores. Also, two mobile laboratories are proposed to be set up in the city. According to Ms. Manjari, with a total of 135 staff recruited in the Food Control Department, currently, only 45 members are working. The State Government is said to be giving the nod for appointing 75 inspection and technical staff.
Speaking to Yo! Vizag, Mr. Srinivasa Rao, Assistant Food Controller of Vizag, said “A building behind the Food Control Office near ENT Hospital, Pedda Waltair has been proposed to be made as to the food processing laboratory. This will be the first lab in Andhra Pradesh for checking food quality and control. It might take 6-7 months to start the laboratory.”
Andhra Pradesh is yet to get a quality control laboratory of its own. So far, the food samples are sent to a laboratory in Hyderabad getting a report in a month. By that time, the restaurant or food point which has been raided continues running, without following any food quality norms. Once the laboratory in the city starts functioning, it will have food samples received from all the districts in Andhra Pradesh for testing, giving a report within a week. Currently, the state has three regional laboratories, located in Guntur, Vizag and Kurnool, which function only for conducting tests on food samples collected from Angwanwadi centres, government hostels and temples.