A live rat was found inside a sealed packet of bread at the premier All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), prompting authorities to blacklist the supplier for three years.
AIIMS medical superintendent DK Sharma said authorities received a complaint about the incident on July 29 that was forwarded by professor Govind Makharia of the gastroenterology department.
The brown high fibre bread was served to patients admitted in various wards of AIIMS, including patients who had undergone surgery or were suffering from severe infections.
“Consumption of rodent-infected food could lead to fever (and) diarrhoea and even cause blood infection,” said a doctor at AIIMS.
“Immediately after receipt of the written complaint, the said sealed packed of bread slice in which the live rat was found was taken in custody and the vendor was called for an urgent meeting which was held on July 29...,” said a statement issued by AIIMS.
“After long discussions and deliberations in this matter, the representative of the vendors intimated that long sealing/bottom sealing of the packing material of bread slice was not intact to almost 2-3 inches and apprehension was that the rat must have entered through this opening somewhere in the transit and needs to be investigated,” the statement said.
Sharma said the vendor’s contract was cancelled on August 5 and a performance security amount of Rs 25,000 was forfeited. The vendor was served a notice asking to explain why action should not be taken against on September 9 and the firm responded on September 17.
The vendor’s reply was not found satisfactory, he said.
“Thus, we have blacklisted and debarred the company from AIIMS for a period of three years for dealing in all tenders and contracts,” he said.
AIIMS posted a notice about the cancellation of the vendor’s contract on its website.
According to the notice, the company failed to observe “good manufacturing practice”. It added, “The quality wing of the company has failed in detecting such incident before the supplies were packed in cartons.”
The bread manufacturer, Bonn Nutrients, on Wednesday accused the premier medical institute of trying to shift its “act of negligence” onto the company.
The company claimed that its facility located in Punjab’s Ludhiana district is ISO certified and FSSAI approved and follows best industrial practices concerning health, safety and hygiene.
“We wish to assure that the facts as alleged by AIIMS in their notice are imaginary and cannot be possible by any stretch of imagination. By the alleged incident perhaps AIIMS has tried to shift its own faults and negligence or acts of sabotage by which perhaps a rat was claimed to be found in the sealed packet,” the company said in a statement.
(With PTI inputs)