FSSAI inspection finds flaws in preparing shawarma in Coimbatore restaurants, seizes old meat

September 20, 2023 09:50 pm | Updated 10:09 pm IST - COIMBATORE

Food Safety and Standards Authority of India officials inspecting a shawarma counter of a restaurant in Coimbatore on Wednesday.

Food Safety and Standards Authority of India officials inspecting a shawarma counter of a restaurant in Coimbatore on Wednesday. | Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

An inspection by officials of the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India in several restaurants serving non-vegetarian food in Coimbatore district on Wednesday found that many workers engaged in preparing shawarma, a popular meat-based dish of Arabic origin, lacked proper training.

The officials, who inspected a total of 54 restaurants along with Corporation officials, seized a total of 102 kg of old meat and 2.5 kg of cooked substandard shawarma.

“Meat used in shawarma should be cooked well by rotating the meat stack to ensure that all parts are equally cooked. However, when a restaurant gets bulk orders, shawarma masters tend to slice uncooked meat parts, too, to attend to the orders. This has to be avoided,” said K. Tamilselvan, designated officer of FSSAI in Coimbatore.

To ensure proper cooking of the dish, restaurants should appoint a dedicated person at the shawarma counter who should rotate the meat stack exposing all sides to the flames and ensure hygiene, he said.

According to him, unhygienic handling of the dish and using old meat could lead to contamination involving bacteria such as Salmonella and Shigella.

“Restauraters are advised to procure the required quantity of meat for the day, based on their average sales. This will help them avoid storing the leftover meat. If a restaurant is preparing its own mayonnaise, it should be fresh and not kept for more than three hours. If more quantity is needed, it can be prepared again,” said Dr. Tamilselvan.

Restaurants should also ensure that food handlers have undergone the Food Safety Training and Certification (FOSTAC) programme offered by FSSAI to learn best practices in the making and handling of foods.

A total of nine teams inspected restaurants at Kovaipudur, Ganapathy, Saravanampatti, Ramanathapuram, Vadavalli, Avinashi Road, Peelamedu, Sulur, Singanallur and Pollachi, in the wake of the death of the death of a 14-year-old schoolgirl in Namakkal district after consumption of shawarma on September 18.

The officials also seized 15 litres of unlabelled milkshake, lifted food samples from two restaurants and served notices on nine restaurants.

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