City varsity’s canteen at Kalina caught operating without health licence
A surprise check of two canteens at the University of Mumbai’s Kalina campus by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) officials on Saturday revealed that one of the canteens did not have the mandatory health licence issued by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).
FDA officials conducted the surprise check acting on a tip-off given by university senate members that six of the seven canteens in the Kalina campus did not have the licence for quality and hygiene standards.
“We have warned the canteen operator and asked him to obtain the BMC license,” said RK Jaiswal, a food safety officer, FDA.
When asked why the canteen had not been sealed, Jaiswal said he would take up the matter with his seniors. The FDA will conduct checks on five other canteens in the university’s Kalina campus, which houses administrative offices, students’ hostels and a post-graduate department.
According to the BMC rules, it is mandatory for every canteen to have two licences — a registration licence under the Shop and Establishment Act, 1959, and a BMC trade licence under the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954 for quality control.
Students staying in the Kalina hostels have often complained of the unhygienic food served in the canteens. “I am not surprised to know that our mess does not have a licence. We have complained to several authorities but no action has been taken,” said a student who lives in the Karamveer Bhaurao Patil Boys’ Hostel.
Last September, more than 500 students at the Indian Institute of Technology- Bombay (IIT-B) suffered from food poisoning after eating in the mess. Six students were hospitalised.
Following this incident, the university appointed a four-member panel, which inspected the canteens and mess operators to improve food quality. “We will look into the matter and take necessary action. We too are concerned about hygiene standards,” said Mridul Nile, director, students’ welfare and a member of the varsity canteen committee.