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Food rots for days in cabinets

Ever heard of steel almirahs stocked with decaying food?

The food safety office on the second floor of Ranchi civil surgeon’s office, Sadar Hospital, on Purulia Road, has nine steel almirahs and a defunct fridge to store edible samples procured from eateries, sweet shops and the like.

The end result? Foul smell of rotting food that makes the rare visitor to the office want to throw up.

According to Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006, samples that are collected for lab testing by food safety officers for adulteration should be sent within 48 hours.

According to norms, samples are divided into four parts. One is sent to the food lab at Namkum while two are supposed to be stored with preservatives as samples and the last is to be kept for reference in case of a dispute.

Though food samples are sent to the lab, reserves are stored inside the almirahs and defunct fridge for days, a situation absurd enough to raise a stench.

When The Telegraph team went to the office on Friday, food safety officers Gulab Lakra and K.P. Singh, section officer Vijay Prasad and lab technician Lal Bahadur Singh were nowhere to be found.

Contacted, Lakra later said they “continuously” sent food samples to the lab. “Recently, we sent 180 samples.”

Ranchi civil surgeon Gopal Srivastawa, sitting on the first floor of the building, said: “Samples do go to the food lab at Namkum for testing.” Told about the stench of rotting food, he said: “Many samples are kept for testing. This is the onus of food safety officers.”

Prodded that decayed food looked like it had been stored for days without preservatives and no one was present at the foul-smelling office, the civil surgeon said: “I am not aware why samples are still stored.”

Contacted, state food director Praveen Chandra, who sits at the Namkum reproductive and child health office, promised to look into the matter.