Action came on the heels of a complaint lodged by the parents of a seven-year-old girl, who had a glass of rose milk from the popular outlet and started vomiting soon after.

Food Safety officials suspended the licence of the Indian Coffee House outlet at Spencer Junction here on Tuesday, asking the outlet to down shutters from Wednesday till further notice, following a complaint that stale beverages were being sold there.

According to District Food Safety Officer D. Sivakumar, the action came on the heels of a complaint lodged by the parents of a seven-year-old girl, who had a glass of rose milk from the popular outlet and started vomiting soon after. She had to be taken to a hospital.

An inspection of the outlet revealed that beverages, including rose milk, cold coffee, and juices, were made and preserved in unhygienic conditions, with the kitchen stated to be in an ‘appalling’ condition. Officials have sent a sample of the rose milk for laboratory analysis, and have served a notice on the outlet for temporary suspension of the licence under Section 36 (3A) of the Food Safety and Standards Act, asking the outlet to shut down from Wednesday and to make necessary rectifications. Further operations would be allowed only after another round of inspections.

The officials said the outlet was allowed to remain open on Tuesday after the inspections in order to avoid cooked food from being wasted. They said the issue appeared to be only with the beverages and the manner in which they were made and stored. However, the standard of hygiene in the kitchen was ‘pathetic,’ with the deep freezer in which the beverages were stored being rusted and corroded, the dish-washing corner being dirty, with flies all over. There were no fly-traps, nor was the floor clean.

This is the second outlet of the Indian Coffee House in the city to face such action after the outlet at Thampanoor was closed for nearly two months last year. The situation in that outlet at that time too was ‘appalling,’ according to officials, who pointed out that the proximity of the kitchen to a drainage outside had given ‘unrestricted access’ to rats, flies, and even crows to the kitchen and the food there. The outlet’s licence was cancelled and was allowed to function after it took about 45 days to rectify the shortcomings.