SHILLONG, June 4 � Meghalaya does not have a food or a drug analyst for the past several years and therefore all the legal samples of Maggi had to be sent to Guwahati for tests.
The Food and Drug Testing laboratory at the Pasteur Institute here has the capability only to �test water.� The post of food analyst has been lying vacant from 2007, while that of drug analyst has been lying vacant for over five years.
The incident came to light after the Civil Society of Women�s Organisation (CSWO) took legal samples of Maggi for test at the government-run laboratory.
�There are only a few assistant chemists and an assistant analyst. Further, we were informed that there was no reagent and also no method to test simple ingredients like monosodium glutamate. They are able to test only water,� CSWO president Agnes Kharshiing said.
It is for this reason that the State government had to send Maggi samples to Guwahati, as it does not have the basic skilled manpower in the State.
The situation is precarious, as not just food but spurious drugs, too, have got into the market time and again in the State, and without the analyst(s) it is still not known how the Health Department goes through its responsibility of safeguarding public health.
Recently, there were reports that the Directorate of Health Services disposed of medicines worth crores of rupees because the medicines� date of use had expired. The Health Department has ordered an inquiry into it and the report is being awaited.