Food for thought: Snake in peas curry - The New Indian Express

Food for thought: Snake in peas curry

Published: 12th September 2013 08:30 AM

Last Updated: 12th September 2013 11:17 AM

Snake meat, a delicacy in East Asian cuisine, is said to be relatively low in calories, high in protein and some consider it a rising star in the food industry. But an elderly woman who bought peas curry from a canteen on the Medical College campus on Wednesday was in for a rude shock to find a dead baby snake in the food item.

Food Safety Commission officials have taken samples of the food and shut down the canteen. ‘’We have had to close down the canteens on the campus on various occasions. We are looking into this issue of snake in food and are waiting for external assistance to confirm,’’ said Food Safety Commissioner Biju Prabhakar.

The canteen is run by the Medical College Teachers’ Credit Co-operative Society and the day-to-day operations have been given to a person named Basheer. Dr Shanavas, who is the vice-president of the Medical College Teachers’ Credit Co-operative Society, said that he is open to any kind of investigation. ‘’Let the lab results come,’’ he said.

Biju, an employee at the canteen, said that the woman had bought the food parcel around 6.30 am. ‘’Then, around 10 am, we saw a group of people alleging that there was a snake in the food,’’ he said.

Dr Shanavas, who suggested that they might have seen a coriander stem, said that the whole case could be manipulated. ‘’How can anyone make such an allegation three or four hours after buying the food? And even before they came back here, media had come to know about it. There is a section here who have been out to get this place closed for sometime now,’’ said Dr Shanavas.

Medical College Principal Dr Ramdas Pisharody, who said that there are a whole lot of snakes on the campus, also said that the canteen was not an authorised one and was functioning out of an old building that was being brought down.

Medical College Hospital Superintendent Dr Mohandas admitted that some ‘reptile’ was reportedly found in the curry, but he was not sure if it was a snake. ‘’Anyway, the place has been closed down,’’ he said.

Along with the canteen, a photocopying centre, a courier service and a typing centre have also been shut down as they share a common entrance. ‘’With this, eight people who are employed here are going to lose their jobs. It is sad,’’ said Dr Shanavas.

‘’We have been doing a big service to the doctors as well as patients and we have been following the instructions of the Food Safety people who come here almost every month to check,’’ he added.

Whether the issue is manipulated or not, whether the  canteen had authorisation or not, whether the Medical College campus is a breeding ground for snakes, whether the patients who come to the hospital are at an even bigger risk are all enough food for thought for health officials this Onam season.

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