THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Following complaints regarding the poor quality of food being home-delivered during pandemic, food safety dept and corporation’s health wing have been inspecting outlets and found several instances of poor hygiene and stale food being sold
The city corporation and the food safety department have stepped up surveillance in the capital to deal with increasing complaints regarding the safety and quality of food. The health wing under the civic body has served improvement notices on many eateries for not maintaining hygiene, serving stale food and storing food materials in inappropriate conditions.
The food safety department had conducted inspections at 26 eateries while the civic body’s health wing carried out inspections at 13 hotels and found various violations, including storage of stale meat and unhygienic handling of food. With restrictions continuing on dine-in, the hotels are not getting business like before and, fearing loss of money, a section of eateries have compromised on the quality of food being served via delivery platforms.
A senior official of the health wing said they have been getting calls from customers complaining about the delivery of substandard food from eateries in the city limits. “It’s not a good time for doing business because of the pandemic but serving stale and substandard food cannot be encouraged. We carried out a lot of inspections and seized stale food and found unhygienic handling of ingredients. They freeze fry the meat and use it the next day.
“After paying huge sums for food parcels, the customers are getting delivered stale and substandard food. We fined two eateries Rs 10,000 each for the violation. We want to send a message so that food business operators would be careful from now on,” said Health Inspector S S Minu. He said the hygiene standards have dropped at the eateries since dine-in services closed. “We have slapped improvement notices after inspecting 13 eateries and we will be carrying out follow-up inspections after seven days. These will be allowed to reopen only after that,” he added.
SPECIAL DRIVE TO SCREEN FRUITS AND VEGETABLES
In an effort to ensure quality of fruits and vegetables, the food safety authorities are gearing up to launch a special drive to screen the items sold at the shops and stalls. The plan is to collect samples and check the presence of pesticides and other harmful chemicals. “Our aim is to make source-level interventions to prevent the flow of chemical- or pesticide-laced vegetables and fruits in the market. We will be asking the traders where the vegetables and fruits are brought from. A large quantity of the vegetables come from neighbouring states,” said Issac. “We will be submitting our report along with the results to the food safety commissioner so that the government could take up the matter with the respective food safety authorities of other states to make effective interventions to prevent the flow of contaminated fruits and vegetables to the state,” he added.