KOCHI: Who doesn’t love spicy tangy ‘pani puri’ or the mouth watering masala chaat. They are perfect snacks during a casual outing. There, however, is a glitch. The gastronomic delight may soon turn into a stomach churning nightmare if you are not careful from where you are buying them.
In a recent raid carried out in the city as part of ‘Operation Ruchi’, which is a statewide initiative for food safety, the district food safety authorities issued closure notice to three units at Kathrikadavu near Kaloor for functioning in totally unhygienic condition.
According to the District Food Safety Officer K V Shibu, these snacks are prepared by the vendors at their homes. They then sell these items at the wayside eateries in many parts of the city. “The ingredients, like masala, buns, samosa, sev, paapdi and sauce, that go into the making of these North Indian delicacies are being prepared in unhygienic conditions and hence pose danger to the health of the connoisseurs. The public is ignorant about the dangers that such stalls pose to their health and hence it is necessary to spread proper awareness in this regard,” he said.He also said that the attitude of the public needs to change. “Even after the news of raids were carried by the media, many people consume these roadside snacks without checking the quality of the food offered. We are not against consumption of these items. But before having the food, they should make sure that the it is served in hygienic conditions,” Shibu added.
Meanwhile, Kochi Corporation Health Standing Committee Chairman T K Ashraf said that the chaat waalas are only small vendors and not much in number in the city like the ‘thattukadas’. “The civic body had taken a favourable stand towards them in the past and these eateries were not being inspected in a strict and regular manner. But with the Food Safety Department’s raids revealing major issues like unhygienic conditions, we have decide to conduct regular raids on these stalls,” he said.
Ashraf said that the Corporation is also planning to launch a scheme to regularise the way side eateries including thattukadas. “We have launched some programmes including the distribution of 50 hygienic advanced carts for setting up thattukadas."