KOCHI: As Kochiites sweat in this year’s sweltering summer, the heat is also on the lassi and juice shops in the city. During the sudden inspections by the Health Department and the Corporation officers, these shops were found selling unhygienic drinks to unsuspecting customers.
After the raid, which was carried out in the recent days, one lassi making unit was sealed at Karukappilly for operating in extremely unhygienic conditions, while 14 shops have been stopped from selling or distributing lassi and related products.
“We have asked 14 shops to stop with immediate effect the sale of lassi or associated products. We are conducting inspections across the city. Only four shops in Edapally and five shops in Palluruthy remain. Inspections will be conducted at these places by the end of Monday,” said V K Minimol, Health Standing Committee chairperson, Kochi Corporation.As far as juice shops are concerned, she said the Corporation is checking the quality of the water and ice being used by them. “We have asked the lassi shops to stop the sale of lassi items till the inspection report gives a green signal,” she said. Minimol, however, added no shops have been sealed. “They have been only asked not to sell lassi and lassi-made items.”
District Food Safety Officer K V Shibu said all lassi and juice shops which are operating without license from the Food Safety Department have been asked to close. “There were six to seven lassi shops, which were functioning without license. All these units have been closed down by the food safety department,” he said.He said samples collected from various lassi shops have been sent to the Regional Analytical Lab at Kakkanad for inspection. “It will take more than a week to get the report from the Lab. We have asked them to speed up the report,” Shibu said, adding the future course of action depends on the findings in the lab report.
The lassi manufacturing unit at Karukappilly was sealed on last Wednesday after the officers found dog poop, artificial chemicals and worm-infested vessels adjacent to the area where the drink was being prepared. The sealed unit used to supply the popular refreshment wholesale to the city outlets.
Meanwhile, Minimol said the Corporation was able to locate the name and the details of the ‘licensed-owner’ of the sealed lassi manufacturing unit at Karukappilly. She, however, did not divulge further details.
Earlier, Mayor Soumini Jain said strict action will be taken against the person. The Corporation will also register a case against him, she had said.An inspection by the State Goods and Services Tax (SGST) Department had found over 100 lassi shops had opened within the city limits recently. The surprise raid came after the SGST Department observed the mushrooming of lassi shops here within a short span of time.Health officers said the artificial powder used for making curd was seized from the godown. The water for making curd was being collected from the toilet.