Throwing caution to the wind, street vendors in the city are putting the health of residents in danger by not using gloves while preparing and serving food items. The health department, too, has miserably failed to take action despite open violation of food safety norms by these vendors.
As per the food safety norms, the street vendors are required to wear gloves, while preparing and serving food. The health department is supposed to raid such establishments, including the roadside vendors, violating such norms.
In Patiala, a large number of residents visit Sheranawala gate, Leela Bhawan, Adalat Bazar, Anardana chowk, Arya chowk and other places, especially during evening time where roadside vendors are present in hoards. The residents without knowing the ill-effects consume food products, including snacks prepared by these vendors without caring about the hygiene of the consumers.
Even as the health department has three food inspectors in the district and one food inspector for the city, checking and raids are a rare phenomenon, which only encourages such eating establishments to flout the norms.
“It has become a regular practice and people are not raising questions on such vendors. It may become the cause of different diseases. Sometimes, I have questioned the vendors, but it is worthless to argue with them because they are not ready to follow these norms,” Daljit Kaur, a consumer said.
Jagdev Singh, another consumer, said, “Such unhygienic food can create jaundice and other diseases like diarrhoea. Though the food products are being sold at unhygienic places and forms, the administration is not taking action against it.”
District health officer Dr MS Dhaliwal, said, “Guidelines are issued to those vendors who prepare food in unhygienic conditions. Gloves are mandatory for the street vendors. I will look into the matter and if we find vendors serving food without gloves, action would be taken against them.”
“We always collect samples and send it to laboratories for purity tests. Soon we are going to collect samples and check whether the norms are being followed or not,” he added.