HYDERABAD: Food adulteration has been reported not only in small hotel players, but also in some popular star restaurants, according to the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation, which conducts surprise checks on hotels and restaurants on a regular basis to check hygiene levels and food quality.
While online delivery apps have been a boon to people, E. Sudarshan Reddy, food safety officer at GHMC, claimed that they leave room for food adulteration because restaurants dump all kinds of “rotten food” when orders are placed online. Another major reason it is harmful is that people do not remove the food from the packet. It is also harmful to consume the same food purchased in the morning and eat it at night from the same packet.
“Several complaints (60 to 70 percent) are reported from customers who order food online. Sometimes it is also because they may have some personal issues with the management. There are food adulteration cases found everywhere you go, restaurants, bakeries, sweet shops and from cafes as well. However, there is some positive change seen in GHMC but in the districts, there is still a lack of awareness,” he said.
According to the GHMC official, the civic body conducted over 8,000 food safety inspections from January 1 to June 30, and 1,018 food samples were lifted, with 143 samples reporting violations. He said violations are classified as high risk, misbranded, or substandard.
If there are any complaints about food adulteration from these locations, samples are taken directly from the storage and kitchen. However, when it comes to food hawkers, food safety inspectors give them two warnings before collecting samples and filing a case, he said. Following Dussehra, food inspectors plan to conduct a special drive focusing on food hawkers, particularly fast food hawkers, and conduct regular inspections.
Sudarshan Reddy told Deccan Chronicle that food inspectors in GHMC have been asked to submit only three samples each month. “Collecting one sample takes three hours, and finishing the paperwork takes another two hours.” The results can easily take a month to be released, but if there are illegal samples reported, the results are pushed to be released within 14 days,” he said.
While the GHMC has been conducting inspections to check for food adulteration, another food safety officer claimed that because there is only one food inspection laboratory for the entire Telangana region, the results take a long time. She added that immediate action cannot be taken because the results of the collected samples take at least 30 days to be released. Other districts also have a shortage of Food Safety Inspectors.
>>> 22 food safety officers working in GHMC.
>>> 8 more food inspectors required to work one in each of 30 circles.
Food inspections between June 1, 2021 to December 31, 2021S
>>> Inspections on food establishments: 12,375
>>> Food samples collected: 978
>>> Violations: 126
>>> Unsafe: 36
>>> Sub-standard: 58
>>> Misbranded: 32
Food inspections between January 1, 2022 to June 30, 2022
>>> Inspections on food establishments: 8,402
>>> Food samples lifted: 1,018
>>> Violations: 143
>>> Unsafe: 21
>>> Sub-standard: 87
>>> Misbranded: 35