KOCHI: If the recent raids are any indicator, this is what the city has become - hotels serve stale food, markets sell rotten meat and water-tankers carry nothing but contaminated water.
Four days ago, four eateries in the city were ordered to shut down by the Food Safety Department for not maintaining hygiene and for not having food safety registration. A week before that, the officials of the Health Department seized five tankers with contaminated water. A few months ago, Corporation officials seized around 1000 kg of rotten meat, which was infamously called ‘Tsunami meat’. However, the rotten meat was reportedly sold in the market for many months even after the raid.
These incidents make it hard for the public to believe the Health Department’s claim that enough actions had been taken to ensure the safety of food, water and meat. Apart from the routine raids, the Health Department has not rose to the occasion by conduct special raids at main markets, hotels, restaurants and on tankers carrying drinking water.
Meanwhile, Health Department officials have come up with an interesting explanation for not being proactive in ensuring hygiene and food safety.
“Those who operate the food business are bound to fulfil 30 guidelines on safety, hygiene and sanitary conditions. When the Corporation Health Department try to enforce them, they raise all sorts of complaints against the civic administration. The allegation is that the Department was trying to trifle them with raids. But if it’s the Police that conduct the raids, they will willfully obey the rules,” said sources in the Department.
Meanwhile, a verbal dispute erupted between the Police and the district food safety officials during the raid.
The police alleged that though the food safety officials were informed , they arrived an hour late. But the officials refuted it.
“We were just half-an-hour late. Besides, we have only one vehicle to travel the entire the district. Still, the officials were designated from different parts of the State to undertake raids. As it was Sunday, we did not expect such a turn of events. Our officials reached within half-an-hour and collected the sample,” said a food safety official.