The Kerala High Court on Wednesday allowed Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC), Thiruvananthapuram, to reopen its outlet that had been closed down after worms were allegedly found in the chicken served there.

Justice T.R. Ramachandran Nair, however, made it clear that Food Safety officials could conduct inspections in the outlet to find out whether the restaurant was complying with the food security requirements and keeping the kitchen and its premises hygienic.

The court issued the order on a writ petition filed by Yum Restaurants India private Ltd., the Indian arm of the US-based corporation. The officials had suspended the license of the KFC outlet on the basis of a complaint by a family that there were worms in the chicken served to them.

The officials had reportedly found stale food items when they conducted a search at the outlet. The court also ordered that the analysis report of the seized food be produced in a sealed envelope. No action should be taken against the outlet before submitting the report in the court.

The court said the petitioner should strictly follow the food safety standards and ensure that quality food was served at its outlet. Food safety officers were also free to insist on hygienic condition on the premises, the court said.

The petitoner alleged that before suspending the licence, they had not been heard. Therefore, there was violation of principles of natural justice.

The Food Safety Commissioner, in a statement, said the designated officer examined the chicken and worms were found in them. This was because of the decaying of chicken.

No quality food was found at the outlet. The food items were not kept at the right temperature. The officials were competent to seize, suspend the licence of the outlet, and seal the premises.

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