Visakhapatnam: The restaurants or canteens run at the government establishments violating the food safety and hygiene norms are facing the heat, not because of the food safety officials, but consumers who have become proactive in registering complaints. The food safety officials have raided seven hotels in the last two weeks based on the consumer complaints.
A consumer moved Consumer Forum against a hotel at Jagadamba junction for serving chicken kabab fried with substandard oil. As per the direction of the forum, the food safety personnel raided the restaurant and sent the sample for testing. The hotel’s kitchen was also in unhygienic condition. Similarly, a fast food counter at Siripuram was imposed fine as a consumer raised a complaint as he found a fly in the soup served to him. Moreover, a canteen run at the KGH hospital was also raided as some patients complained of poor quality of food. Samples have been collected from four hotels in Gajuwaka for serving stale non-vegetarian food.
“The restaurants we raided in the last two weeks are flouting the food safety norms such as serving stale meat and fish and not maintaining hygiene in their kitchens. We have sent the samples to food testing laboratory and will take action once the reports come in. Consumers can register their call or send email too. The awareness of consumers will help to check the bad practices of the restaurants,” said M. Srinivas, Food Controller at Food Safety department.
“The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India has laid out mandatory guidelines for all restaurants and food establishments. Raw chicken should be kept inside the freezer while the cooked meat could be stored for one day. But, the restaurants have been keeping it for more than one day,” he said. “The restaurants should have storage rooms/deep freezer facilities and should be impervious to moisture, clean, free from pest infestation and well maintained. But, some restaurants are found storing the meat and meat products in a normal fridge,” he added. It is learnt that the popularity of ‘Take Away’ parcel food counters is also posing as health hazards for the consumers. Most of them are preparing the food else where and selling at roadside counters. The roadside non-vegetarian eateries are also seen keeping the fried chicken in polythene.