The government on Friday informed the Kerala High Court that some samples of fish brought from outside the State and also the ice used as preservative were found to contain formalin traces on analysis.
In an action taken report filed by the Food Safety Commissioner on behalf of the State government, it had been pointed out that the food safety commissioners of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, and Goa had already been approached seeking immediate preventive action.
The government said it had ordered closure of 18 ice plants across the State for their failure to maintain the necessary standards and hygiene.
The report was filed in response to a writ petition filed by High Court lawyer Basil Attipetty, seeking a directive to restaurants and eateries to sell food in accordance with the provisions of the Food Safety and Standards Act and Rules.
The report said the officials of the food commissionerate had intensified inspection to ensure that the public had safe food.
The Food Safety Commissioner had issued certain guidelines for hotels, bakeries, fast food units, drinking water suppliers, and drinking water tanker lorries. Moreover, a special drive had been initiated to ensure quality of drinking water, vegetables, and other food sold in the State.
In a special drive during Onam, two tanker lorries suspected to be carrying cheaper oil for adulterating coconut oil had been confiscated and the licence of the consignee firm was suspended.
The report pointed out that absence of scientific slaughterhouses had been a major concern as the State was a major consumer of non-vegetarian food.
The Food Safety Commissioner had taken up the issue with the government for an immediate solution.
Apart from this, training was also being imparted to field officers to equip themselves with the latest developments in the food industry so that they could function effectively.