KOCHI: Festivals, like Onam, are the time when businesses rake in the moolah, especially the restaurants. However, it is also the time when many establishments use underhand means to rake in profits at the cost of the health of the unwary foodie. To reign in and deter such offenders, the district Food Safety Department carried out an inspection drive in which around 187 eateries and manufacturing units were found to be flouting rules.
According to a food safety officer, those eateries and manufacturing units that were found flouting rules have been served notices. “We carried out inspections in around 367 establishments. Of these, 187 were found flouting food safety rules and guidelines,” he said. These establishments have been served notices, he added. “The drive which began on August 22 was on till September 7. Those establishments which had been served notices can restart operations only after they rectify the failings and are cleared by the Food Safety Department following a re-inspection,” he said. Around `2.5 lakh was collected as fine from 53 establishments, he added.
“We found 10 establishments that were operating by completely flouting all the rules. These establishments were directed to down the shutters temporarily,” said the officer. According to him, the drive saw four squads of food safety officers carrying out the inspections. “Customers, who have any complaint regarding food served or the hygiene followed by the eateries, can notify the Food Safety Commissioner using the toll-free number 1800-425-1125,” he said.
According to him, those who fail to abide by the rules and guidelines set by FSSAI are liable to be punished severely. “The severity of the punishment will depend on the gravity of the violation with severe violations eligible for trial as per civil and criminal cases,” he said.