Thiruvananthapuram: The office of the Commissioner of Food Safety has no cases of violation of food safety norms to report this Onam, even though there are many street food vendors at various Onam week celebration venues. But celebrating this might be premature because one has to factor in how short-staffed the office is. There are 16 Food Safety Officers in the district, for thousands of street food vendors.
The actual number of street food joints is not clear. Both the state-level and district-level officials said that they did not know the actual number. When asked whether the current number of FSOs was sufficient, a district-level official said they would not be able to talk to the media about it. Under Kerala Vyapari-Vyavasayi Samithi’s Fast Food Owners’ Association, there are 786 food truck owners as members in the district, according to its district president P Stanley.
Some truck owners own more than one food truck. So the actual number of food trucks in the district could be more than 786. He says that the number of ‘Thattukada owners’ under KVVS in Kovalam area alone is around 450. When asked if the officials will be doing the rounds to check the safety of food given out by the vendors, an official at the state office said that they would focus on their respective health circles. The FSOs are supported by the Food Safety intelligence wing. Still the total number of officials would not be adequate to cover the thousands of food vendors in the district.