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FSSAI destructs almost 60,000 kg of spurious camel meat in Delhi, HC to hear cold storage plea

By Shreya Agarwal      08 December, 2023 06:19 PM      0 Comments

NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court will be hearing on Monday a plea by one Jagdish Ice Factory and Md. Laeeq of Al Zubair Foods for de-sealing of its ‘cold storage’, after the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) sealed its premises and destroyed nearly 60,000 kg of spurious, rotting meat (allegedly camel meat) seized from there.

The plea was preferred by the factory and the exporter ‘Al Zubair Foods’ with whom it claimed to be under a ‘business arrangement’. The two have sought the relief of quashing the sealing order against them.

The Delhi High Court today adjourned the matter for further hearing on Monday. However, in a previous hearing the bench of Justice Subramonium Prasad pulled up the FSSAI officer Dr. Manisha Narayan for going ahead to destroy the meat, though the civil writ petition was pending before it.

It noted in its order dated December 6,  that although no order was passed staying precipitative action against the petitioners, the Court was assured by the respondent counsels that ‘no coercive action’ would be taken.

The concerned FSSAI officer, one Dr. Manisha Narayan informed the Court that she had not received any communication from the police regarding any such order, and had proceeded to destruct the seized meat as the same was found to be unfit for human consumption.

The Delhi Police represented by Inspector Bhupendar Kumar initially informed the Court that the FSSAI had been informed of the case's pendency as well as the Court's oral direction, however, it changed its stance in the second hearing on the matter the same day. He informed Court that the FSSAI's officer had merely been informed of the listing of the matter.

Observing the inconsistencies of the Inspector's statements, the Delhi High Court directed both the Delhi Police and the FSSAI officer to file their affidavits in the matter.

Brief facts of the case

The FSSAI was acting on complaints to the Delhi Police made in this regard by one Sidharth Malhan (Honorary Animal Welfare Commissioner) of Scouts and Guides for Animals and Birds, and OIPA: Indian People for Animals on December 3 to Keshavpuram PS.

The complaints alleged illegal possession, storage, supply of meat unfit for human consumption, which was found to be transported to the ice factory by HR-66C-5689 and HR-2023NP-2419C. Jagdish Ice Factory provides storage services to exporter Md. Laeeq's Al Zubair Foods under a business agreement in this regard.

FSSAI was allegedly involved in the matter as the meat was intended for human consumption. Therefore, following the complaint Dr. Manisha Narayan of FSSAI directed Delhi Police to unlock the said vehicles and allow drawing of samples of the same for lab testing.

While the cold storage has tried to pass off the raid & sealing of its premises as an "extortion" attack in the name of "cow meat", the written complaint with the police is in fact lodged for camel meat. Picture of a sample of a camel tail found during raids is attached.

Further, while Jagdish Ice Factory has claimed that it did not receive any notice regarding the sealing of its premises and destruction of the suspected camel meat, the following notices were found stuck outside its premises.

Jagdish Ice Factory has stated in its petition that it was not served any notice by FSSAI for sealing of its premises or destruction of the rotting meat found on its premises. However, notices were in fact found stuck outside its factory gates.

The cold storage faces several other cases for storing and dealing in spurious meat (found unfit for human consumption) in general, and contraband cow beef in particular.

On the cold storage's plea, the Delhi High Court has called for affidavits of Delhi Police and FSSAI on whether its oral direction to not take any precipitative action in the case was communicated to the FSSAI, which has destroyed the spurious meat found.

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