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  • fda: 74% of Mumbai eateries have dirty kitchens: FDA, Retail News, ET Retail

fda: 74% of Mumbai eateries have dirty kitchens: FDA, Retail News, ET Retail

UMBAI: A peek into kitchens of some of the city’s top restaurants has thrown some extremely unappetising findings. In a special drive, where 500 popular restaurants were surveyed, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) officials found hygiene and food safety violations in more than 74%.

It is worrying if some of the city’s leading and trusted restaurants are violating basic hygiene and sanitary prerequisites. With lifestyles becoming more hectic and more people relying on eating out or take-outs, hygiene shortcomings could have serious health repercussions. The government must strengthen surveillance. It is hard to believe the state FDA has less than 300 food inspectors to monitor lakhs of restaurants.TimesView

A swanky café in Kala Ghoda, an iconic kebab place in Colaba, a renowned Mughlai food chain, a famous vegetarian chain with outlets dotting the highways, were among 327 restaurants in the city served improvement notices by FDA. Overall, 3,047 top restaurants were inspected across Maharashtra, of which a staggering 87% lacked cleanliness, sanitation, air quality, ventilation, food packaging and safe distribution.

A significant majority had also ignored mandatory health checks of staff. Centre for Disease Control (CDC) says that sick employees can contaminate food and give rise to health concerns.

About a year ago, around 240 food safety officers were directed to make a list of the best 20 restaurants in their zones and start inspecting them. “The results are mind-boggling. We found health and hygiene concerns in almost every step of food preparation and distribution. Unfortunately, some renowned restaurants, which families have been frequenting for decades, had very untidy kitchens,” said FDA commissioner Pallavi Darade. She said the exercise began a year back and will continue till over 4000 restaurants are inspected in Maharashtra. “It underlines that restaurants with classy interiors may not have clean kitchens,” she said.

Elaborating on hygiene and sanitary violations found in the city eateries, an FDA official said several did not clean their kitchens regularly even though it’s meant to be done daily as part of good sanitary practices. Many had not refurbished their kitchens in a long time, leading to chipping of walls and ceilings, which could also contaminate food. Many did not have insect- or pest-proof mesh fittings. “Food Safety and Standards Act has very clear guidelines on provision of clean bathrooms for staff. But many had filthy facilities, which raised doubts on whether staff could wash hands properly before preparing, packing or serving food,” said the official.

FDA joint commissioner Shailesh Adhao said violations at more than 90% Mumbai restaurants were not so critical. “We have given everyone time to comply and many have started sending compliance reports. We will reinspect premises, and if sanitary violations remain, we will suspend or cancel licences,” he said. FDA has kept the names of restaurants under wraps till all file compliance reports.

Darade said consumers too must shoulder responsibility of keeping an eye on hygiene and insist on checking kitchens of restaurants they frequent. “We are bringing in a system of rating,” she said.

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