CMBT food vendors violate food safety hygiene practices

While food being kept in open and served under unhygienic conditions are regular woes, overpricing of these food items also bothers inter-city passengers.
CMBT food vendors violate food safety hygiene practices
CMBT food vendors violate food safety hygiene practices

CHENNAI: Despite numerous raids and warnings given by the Food Safety Department to food vendors at Chennai Muffusil Bus Terminus (CMBT) to maintain food safety standards and hygiene, no changes are witnessed among them.

While food being kept in open and served under unhygienic conditions are regular woes, overpricing of these food items also bothers inter-city passengers.

After the latest raid by the Food Safety Department, vendors and shopkeepers were directed to keep snacks covered with plastic wrapers and cooked food, including rice and others, kept in covered boxes.

They were also instructed to follow hygiene practices such as use of masks and chef caps. However, a visit to these shops revealed that the instructions are not being followed.

"A sambhar rice costs Rs 85 and is kept in open glass boxes without being covered properly. With monsoon approaching, it is so risky as food contamination is very common," says Jayakumar J, a frequent traveller at CMBT.

Another passenger, S Mohan, said that instruction are regarded as a formality and are most likely being followed for a day or two after the inspections. “Most of the times, food items are kept open, with insects hovering all over them. It is no surprise to find insects or dirt particles in these food items," he said.

When asked about improper handling and serving of food items, shopkeepers say that covering them is not required as a batch of snacks usually gets over in few hours. Variety rice and others, kept in glass boxes, cannot be covered because it is not convenient for them to serve the customers by opening these boxes everytime.

Meanwhile, a designated officer from the State Food Safety Department said that it is undertaking strict action against those not following food safety standards and regular inspections are being done to ensure the same. “The department will seal the shops if there is no compliance with the food safety practices,” the officer said.

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