06/05/2015, 00.00
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Tons of spoiled food for Nepal’s earthquake victims

Five tons of rice covered with mold, dozens of pounds of bread, spaghetti, flour, oats and snacks long past their expiration date. They come from India, Bangladesh and the UK. Several stores which offered expired food closed down.

Kathmandu (AsiaNews / Agencies) - A large amount of food sent by India, Bangladesh and the UK for the victims of the earthquake is unfit for consumption. These are the findings from the inspections carried out in May by the Department of Food Technology and Quality Control of Nepal (Dftqc), which led to a  widespread inspection of foodstuffs given with aid to the people devastated by the quake.

The Dftqc inspected several warehouses, aid collection centers and food stores and found numerous irregularities in the products tested. In Birgunj, the department destroyed 120 kg of rotten food from India, of which 30 kg of homemade bread, 10 kg of packaged bread, 30 kg of sweets and 50 kg of expired snacks, flour and oats.

Government agents also found 5.35 tons of rice - sent from Bangladesh through Kakkarbhitta customs and stored in the warehouse of Nepal Intermodal Transport Development Board - moldy and unfit for consumption.

Purna Chandra Wasti, Dftqc spokesman, said that the department has also banned the distribution of spaghetti sent by two NGOs in Calcutta, because they had no expiration date. Ruhil brand product's, sent from India for distribution to Kavrepalanchok were blocked because not correctly labeled: "The products found in the packages were different from the labels on the outside - said Wasti - and the expiry date was not shown clearly. "

In tests carried out on samples of food, the department found that even Lemon Puff and D-Elite biscuits from Kamala Baganan (India) and four boxes of semolina from New Delhi were not fit for consumption.

For the same reason 25 cans of packaged food from the United Kingdom were destroyed.

The government controls have found several irregularities in some stores, in relation to the 1967Food Act. The Dftqc did closed the Tandoori Staff Hotel and Lodge on charges of selling stale food to customers. In addition, 18 cans of coconut oil have been requisitioned from Bhatbhateni Superstore Koteshwor because expired.

The department has started a legal action against the Thakur Agro Industries of Dhangadhi in western Nepal, for distributing poor quality rice exploiting aid from the World Food Program.

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