Extensive raid on hotels

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The food safety authorities launched extensive raids on hotels and eateries in the city on Wednesday and found many of them functioning in indescribably unhygienic conditions and serving poor quality food.

They inspected 14 hotels and brought down the shutters on three of them. Notices have also been served to a few hotels to initiate steps to improve the facilities. If steps were not taken in within a fortnight, they would be closed down, the officials said.

The raid also found five hotels operating without food safety licence. The inspection was in the backdrop of the death of a youth and a few others falling ill after eating ‘shawarma’ from a restaurant in Thiruvananthapuram. The raid was conducted at hotels near KSRTC bus station, south railway station and Palarivattom.

The three hotels asked to close down were Cochin Tourist Home near South railway station, Hotel Rolex near KSRTC bus station and Tazza Taste at Palarivattom. At Cochin Tourist Home, the kitchen was functioning near the toilet from where waste flowed into the kitchen.

In all the three hotels, the officials found kitchens functioning under unhygienic conditions and filled with the stench of stale food. They also noticed cockroaches and rats in the kitchens.

In another hotel, food items were being packed in paper when the standing instruction was that food for parcel should be wrapped in butter paper. The authorities seized stale food from several hotels and asked the hotel owners to destroy it.

The authorities have also banned the sale of shawarma, the Arabian delicacy, for a week in the district. Only those shawarma shops with glass chambers to store food would be allowed to function.

The team led by mobile vigilance squad food inspector R.S. Satheesh Kumar had safety officers Abdul Jaleel, Beena, Radhakrishnan, Abdul Majeed, Benny Joseph, Jacob, Randeep, Anilan and Alikunju as members.

Kochiites welcome move, say need to discipline eateries

The raids conducted by food safety authorities have come as a shot in the arm for people in the city that has a large floating population depending on hotels.

While the residents called for a foolproof monitoring system, the authorities urged purchase of certified meat to avoid food poisoning. Many pointed out that it was a good move by authorities.

“But it came after all these hotels have made a profit selling stale food. The news that even toilet waste was found in a hotel is hard to digest for many of us, Kochiites,” said Jinu Tharakan George, a businessman.

According to Meat Product of India Ltd managing director Ani S. Das, the state should consider setting up more legalised slaughter houses.

Food inspectors should carry out thorough checkups and prevent use of stale food in hotels. People should consider only quality when they buy meat, he added.

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