A chaat stall in Sakchi. Picture by Bhola Prasad
Street food joints and restaurants better watch what you dish out to customers.
Armed with a set of fresh directives from the state food controller, the East Singhbhum health authorities have decided to launch surprise inspections at eateries from the last week of this month.
A four-member crackdown team — comprising district food inspector Krishna Prasad Singh and additional chief medical officer (ACMO) Swarn Singh among others — will conduct a meeting with restaurant owners and street vendors within a week to apprise them of necessary provisions under the Food Safety and Standard Act, 2012.
“We are planning to call all restaurant and hotel owners within a week to inform them about the new law (passed by the cabinet in February 2012). We want to make it very clear that the provisions of the act have to be adhered to by food manufacturers in letter and spirit. Any violation will not be tolerated,” the ACMO said.
After the meeting, district food officials will start surprise checks at kitchens of hotels, restaurants and food joints. On detecting anomalies, the inspection team will issue improvement notices to the owners on the spot.
“We will inform them about the parameters that need to be followed for maintaining hygiene during cooking and other norms laid out by the Food Safety and Standard Authority of India. We will also give them time to meet the criteria by way of improvement notices.
“But if they still do not pull up their socks, the matter will be referred to state food commissioner (principal secretary health department) for cancellation of licence or registration of the hotel or restaurant concerned,” said district food inspector Krishna Prasad Singh.
The district health department will soon start mapping food joints and restaurants.
State food controller T.P. Burnwal said that they would also start the new registration process for food joints across the state and issue them licences after proper verification this month. “We have sent copies of the food act to all 24 districts. Food units with an annual turnover of less than Rs 12 lakh will have to be registered. Those having a turnover of more than Rs 12 lakh per annum will require licences. They will have to fill up the forms, mentioning their cooking process and other details after which licences will be issued,” said Burnwal.
Eateries, which have already been registered, will have to renew their licences.