Green Poison
On People’s Platter

Traders play with people’s lives in Punjab, India, sell vegetables laced with chemical dye that causes cancer. Jai Kumar, the correspondent of this video says that in his city Ludhiana of Punjab, illegal business of food adulteration is going on in broad daylight. In markets across the city, traders are selling vegetables thickly covered with hazardous synthetic dyes. Jai has personally suffered from consuming such health hazards. A few weeks ago, Jai had bought Okra/Ladies Finger from the market in Gurubagh colony. Once he ate that, Jai and his family members had stomach ache, diarrhea and weakness. Those Okras were polished with dark green colour which he suspects was Malachite Green – a chemical that is used to dye fabric and if consumed, can cause multiple ailments including cancer. To see Jai Kumar’s personal profile, click here. This experience made Jai realize how vulnerable people of his community were – most of who are uneducated and too poor to travel far and buy vegetables from big retail outlets. Jai did this video to bring in light the issue. Food adulteration and use of dreaded drugs or banned substances in food/agricultural products is a major health issue in India, though the country has a very clear law against food adulteration of any kind. Under the law - Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954 and Rules, 1955 - people found guilty of adulteration/tampering will face fines, as well as imprisonment up to 3 years’ Implementing the law is the responsibility of the state or union territories. This means, even if the Okra/Parwals that sell in Ludhiana were tampered with in Delhi, local government can still take action against the retailers who brought them there and distributed among local vendors. Because in this case, the crime is happening in Ludhiana and locals are affected by it. Jai says that despite the law if traders are continuing to sell the chemical-laden vegetables, it is because they know the administration isn’t serious about enforcing the law. This has emboldened the traders, feels Jai, who has also received threats from some of the traders for shooting the video. Please let us know what you think of this video by clicking here. If you are an NGO, campaigning on safe food, write to us for your need of more information and more such community-produced content.
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