Ldh health dept has no record of surprise checks at eateries
Putting the lives of thousands of residents at risk, the local health department has severely failed to follow the guidelines during checks or inspections of eateries and sweetmeat shops in the district.
This not only highlights the lack of seriousness on part of officials of the food safety wing but also point out an apparent collusion between many officials and eatery owners. Accusations have also been made against the food safety wing officials who are accused of failing to keep a check on these eateries.
The matter has come to the fore through an RTI query filed by a local resident Dhiraj Kathuria, an MSc in food technology. Violations of the norms took place during August 1, 2012, to July 31, 2014. Kathuria has sought information regarding the record of the surprise checks from of the same period, but to no avail.
As per the norms, the food safety wing officials are supposed to follow a set of documentary procedures during the inspection of an eatery or a retail outlet. Their checklist contains different points, including the record of fruits, vegetables, fish, periodic cleaning and disinfection of store and availability of facility for keeping perishable food products among others.
The RTI reply from the civil surgeon office states there is no documentary record of any inspection or an audit of a food business operator (FBO) by the food safety officers between August 1, 2012 and July 31, 2014, Kathuria said.
Neither the district health department has prepared any inspection report of the FBO nor has a compliance report been filed during the same period.
Kathuria said with no authentic record of such surprise checks, the department is putting the health of thousands of residents at stake as they do not even know whether they are being served healthy food or not. “There should be a thorough inquiry into the issue to know why the rules are not being followed,”said Kathuria.
District health officer (DHO) Dr Abnash Kumar said he was unaware about any such RTI query.
CHECKLIST THAT NEEDS TO BE FOLLOWED
To check whether daily records of quantity of fruits, vegetables, fish, milk, etc is maintained or not
Whether periodic cleaning and disinfection of store is carried out and record thereof is maintained
To check if the facility for keeping perishable food products is available or not
No person handling food should be suffering from any infection of contagious disease.
The working area should be well-ventilated and lightened
Adequate facility for toilets, hand wash and foot bath