Suspicious about the quality of the food stored by the World Food Programme (WFP) here the Central Department of Food Technology Quality Control has put on hold both selling and distribution of the stored food.
The office has written to WFP stating it not to sell or distribute the stored food, stored without informing the government, until further notice. “Edible items looked suspicious during inspection and we inform you not to sell or distribute the food under further notice,” reads the letter signed by Department of Food and Technology Quality Control officer Purna Prasad Paudel to the WPF on Monday.
The office has started investigating by taking a sample of 541 metric ton of yellow split peas pulses stored here. Regional head Bimal Kumar Dahal informed that it will take a week for the report of the sample to come out.
The pulses were found by the investigation team of the constituent Committee formed after the rice distributed by WPF in the earthquake affected areas was found to be substandard. The Department of Food Technology Quality Control wrote to WFP after the Disaster Management and Monitoring Committee of the Legislature- Parliament returned after completing its inspection.
Meanwhile, it has also been revealed that the substandard rice and pulses for relief distribution were brought by the WFP through the fast track system from Nepalgunj border on May 26 and 28.
At the time Department of Food Technology Quality Control’s technical team had stated the food ‘good enough to eat’ by just giving a brief glance at it. According to Dahal, those foods had then been brought into Nepal through the report provided by the technical team.
The Department of Food Technology Quality Control defended its act saying it was not possible to carry out quality control inspection of such large quantity of food during time of disaster as the target was to get the relief as quickly as possible to the quake victims.
“We had stayed up late until nine at night to inspect the quality of the food. The food we had looked at with our own eyes and passed as edible has turned suspicious now,” said a technician involved in the inspection of the food.
WFP on the other hand has not provided any information about the quantity, quality and supply plan of the stored food to the government.