The Delhi High Court was today informed by the Centre and Food and Safety Standard Authority of India (FSSAI) that it has not closed down its Central Food Laboratory (CFL) in Ghaziabad as alleged by an NGO.
The submission was made before a bench of justices Badar Durrez Ahmed and Siddharth Mridul which had on July 9 sought an affidavit from FSSAI indicating whether it has closed down its lab.
Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Jain, appearing for the Union Health Ministry and advocate Mehmood Pracha, appearing for FSSAI, told the bench that the lab has not been shut down as contended by the NGO, Lok Jagriti.
“We have not closed down the testing lab in Ghaziabad,” they said.
Pracha also submitted that the reason for less number of cases being referred to the lab for testing is due to the fact that it deals only with appeals of cases where a food sample has already been tested by a primary testing facility.
He denied the allegation, of the NGO, that the less number of referrals to the Ghaziabad lab is because the authority is outsourcing the testing work to private labs.
He also said that he had already filed his affidavit on the issue as per the court’s direction on July 9 but the same was not on record due to some objections raised by the registry.
The court, however, listed the matter for further hearing on August 27 after advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for the NGO, sought time to go through the report.
The NGO had dragged the ministry and FSSAI to court alleging they had closed down the lab and are outsourcing testing work to private entities.
It had also challenged the appointment of the then Chairman of FSSAI, K Chandramouli. However, this issue has become infructuous with the appointment of a new chairman on August 5, 2013.