A total of 53 eateries were inspected by officials in the district, of which 11 were asked to stop functioning with immediate effect. This included a Kerala State Road Transport Corporation canteen at Neyyattinkara.

Eleven eateries that were found to be functioning in extremely unhygienic conditions were made to down shutters immediately by Food Safety Officers’ squads following widespread inspections in eateries and hotels in outer areas of the district on Friday.

The owners of these establishments were served legal notices under the food safety Act.

The inspections were being carried out for the third consecutive day across the State. However, on Friday, four squads were specially deputed by Food Safety Commissioner Biju Prabhakar to enforce food safety norms in the district.

Apart from district Designated Officer (DO) D. Shivakumar who headed one team, three more squads headed by DOs from Malappuram, Ernakulam, and Kozhikode districts were drawn up for the special drive. The squads visited eateries and hotels at Kovalam, Neyyattinkara, Balaramapuram, Nedumangad, Venjaramood, Attingal, Chirayinkeezhu, and Varkala.

A total of 53 eateries were inspected by officials in the district, of which 11 were asked to stop functioning with immediate effect. This included a Kerala State Road Transport Corporation canteen at Neyyattinkara.

Improvement notices were served on 35 establishments, while six eateries, including two at Kovalam, were made to pay fines to the tune of Rs.26,500 under Section 69 of the food safety Act that has a provision for compounding offences.

“Closure notices were issued to only those eateries that were functioning in such unsanitary conditions that these posed a threat to public health, while the rest were served improvement notices. All the inspections have been videographed and will be uploaded on our website if required so that none raises the allegation that they were deliberately harassed,” Joint Commissioner of Food Safety K. Anil Kumar said.

Meanwhile, the Food Safety Commissioner had a long interaction with the representatives of the Hotel and Restaurant Owners’ Association where many concerns were raised by the latter over the ongoing inspections and the implementation of the Food Safety and Standards Act. The toll-free number set up by the commissioner (1800 425 1125) is being flooded by phone calls from the public, officials said.