Over half of city’s eateries lack food safety licence

Photo: Twitter/@fssaiindia  

Over half of the food business operators in the city are outside the ambit of the food safety licensing regime, a survey conducted by the Commissionerate of Food Safety has found.

Food safety officials found a majority of the 5,200-odd eateries in the Thiruvananthapuram Corporation limits did not possess the license and registration mandated by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) rules. The anomaly came to light during a survey undertaken in the city as part of the nationwide ‘Eat Right Challenge’ that is spearheaded by the FSSAI.

The survey, which was conducted across the Thiruvananthapuram, Kazhakuttam, Vattiyurkavu and Nemom food safety circles through Kudumbashree workers, incorporated data collected from hotels, restaurants, bakeries, tea-stalls, wayside eateries (thattukadas), casual food business operators and vendors of fish and other products.

According to Alex K. Isaac, Assistant Food Safety Commissioner, Thiruvananthapuram, the violators were mostly the casual food providers who constituted a major portion of the food business in the city. The lack of awareness regarding the licensing system was found to have led to the low licence coverage.

Besides awareness programmes, special licence and registration drives will be held across the city to ensure all food providers were brought under the food safety system.

Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi and Kozhikode cities and Kasaragod district were selected by the FSSAI’s Eat Right Challenge from the State. As many as 150 cities and districts have been provided seed funding of ₹5 lakh for participating in the drive aimed at strengthening food safety and to provide healthy food options for the customers.

As part of the challenge, food safety officials have also been collecting random surveillance samples of seven food commodities, viz., milk, water, edible oil, jaggery, rice, pulses and fish from shops and markets in the city.

Around 500 out of the targeted 700 samples have been collected and sent for tests to detect food adulteration and other quality hazards. Another 60 statutory samples – 15 samples each from the four circles – will also be collected and legal action will be initiated against the food business operators if they fail the quality tests.

Pooja Ravindran, district nodal officer for food safety, said the Eat Right Campus, another component of the FSSAI-run programme, has been launched in the Thiruvananthapuram Government Medical College where its six canteens were being audited. Following a training for the canteen staff, a third-party audit will be undertaken by an independent agency. Water samples have also been collected from the campus.

Discussions were under way to conduct the programme at the Poojappura Central Prison that runs a main kitchen for its inmates and staff as well as another for its ‘Food for Freedom’ endeavour. There is also a proposal to bring a major private hospital having considerable patient inflow under the ambit of the programme.

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Printable version | May 11, 2021 11:07:20 AM |

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