The Public Health Wing of Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) has served notices to four popular food establishments in the city for poor sanitation in and round their premises and the hygiene of their workers who serve the food.
Sources in the corporation said that taking a strong exception to the poor sanitation and hygiene in and round the food establishments in the city, Dr Shafqat Khan, the health officer of the corporation shot notices directing the owners of these food joints to improve their sanitary conditions within seven days or else action under the relevant provision of Food Safety Standard Act 2006 shall be initiated against them.
Talking to a local news agency, KNS, Dr Khan when asked about the possible action in case of non compliance of Corporation’s warning, said, “If these food establishments don’t abide by the law, the action will be taken against them which means a fine of Rs. 1.00 lac or imprisonment including sealing of their premises.”
He informed KNS, that so far notices have been issued to Shakti Sweets (Residency Road Srinagar), Mughal Darbar Karanagar, Modern Sweets (Residency Road) and Hollywood Bakery (Residency Road).
It may be mentioned that workers at the food premises who come under direct contact with food have to demonstrate “fitness for work” certificate following concern shown by the many NGOs and government agencies that people are getting low quality and unhygienic food in the city.
Dr Khan told KNS that serving notices is a part of the already ongoing food safety audit which the public health wing of the SMC is conducting in the city. This programme, he informed is based on main four points which include cleanliness and hygiene in food establishments, pest and rodent control, uniform and other related for workers and medical and health fitness of the employees working in the food joints.
“We are inspecting hygienic condition of the premises but educating the food operators regarding the Food Safety Act is also necessary. Whenever we have pointed out the problems, owners of eateries have been assuring us that they will take steps. But this time, we have served notices to these food joints and if they fail to comply with our directions within a week, they may face closure of their establishments,” Dr Khan told KNS.
He said it had been decided to ban the issuance or renewal of the licenses without production of the fitness certificate to ensure that these food sellers, regardless of the safety precautions they take at work, undergo mandatory medical examination.