Hyderabad: The Secunderabad Cantonment is considered one of the largest cantonments in the country in terms of population and area. But it has no designated food safety section or even a food inspector to conduct regular inspections of the food and its quality.
There is no one to check the adulteration of milk, oil and food products or even the artificial ripening of fruits, all of which have a direct bearing on the health of citizens.
Cantonment has over five hundred eateries in the form of hotels, restaurants, tiffin centres, bakeries etc. Other than these there are several ‘curry points,’ milk booths, fruit shops and roadside ‘bandis’ selling fast food and snacks.
According to Food Safety and Standards regulations, there should be at least one food inspector for every 50,000 population in urban areas.
The Cantonment population is roughly 3 lakh, but it does not boast of a dedicated food inspector.
Former vice-president Jampana Pratap felt SCB top brass should focus on food safety measures now that the population is on the rise every year and so are the revenues in the form of different taxes.
“A separate wing has to be created and professionals who have the requisite training and certification have to be recruited if needed. The health of citizens should be of paramount importance,” he stressed.
At present if any complaints are received by the board, the health and sanitation wing swings into action and conducts inspections in hotels or eateries because of the lack of a dedicated wing.
Experts say fines can be imposed based on poor hygiene conditions because as per rules, the quality of food has to be checked by a food safety officer, who alome has the authority to take action.
Otherwise, officials’ arguments will not stand in a court of law. SCB sources said that one of the health department officials obtained the necessary certification, but food inspector designation was not given. A letter was written to Southern Command in Pune to give permission to SCB to use the staff member’s services as a food inspector, but no clearance was given. Meanwhile, CEO S.V.R.Chandrashekar said that he was not aware of any such development.
SCB vice-president J.Rama Krishna stated that a food safety wing ws the need of the hour. “We are working on cadre restructuring and part of this is appointing a licenced food inspector,” he said.