A surprise food safety drive by a Kolkata Municipal health department team on Thursday found street food stalls in and around bigger puja pandals in north Kolkata selling adulterated food stuff. The KMC authorities had planned the drive a week in advance keeping in mind thousands of pandal hoppers who depend on street food. Side by side, the civic food inspectors also picked up food samples from some restaurants located along some famous puja pandals.
The surprise drive was planned to check samples of fast food being sold along Bidhan Sarani (from Hedua to Hatibagan). The KMC health team was divided into eight groups which started their drive from Hedua and ended it at Shyambazar.
The civic food inspectors found biryani in majority of roadside stalls unfit for consumption. The colour that the food vendors are mixing in biryani makes the popular food adulterated as the preliminary tests have confirmed that the colour that is used in biryani is not permitted, said Atin Ghosh, member,mayor-in-council overseeing the KMC health department. “Our team of inspectors collected samples from the roadside stalls and found them to have colour which is not permitted under the specific food safety guidelines,” Ghosh said. “The KMC team of food inspectors will again visit those stalls on Friday to check whether the food stall owners are conforming to rules and preparing the right kind of biryani,” said a KMC health department official.
Besides the roadside stalls, samples of biryani were also collected from some well known restaurants in Hatibagan area. “We will visit some of these restaurants again on Friday and hand over food safety guidelines to the owners,” Ghosh said. Apart from biryani food items from fast food stalls were picked up and tested on the spot. “We had to destroy bottles of tomato sauce as those were found to be highly adulterated. We have asked the roadside snack stalls to stop using these sauce or else we will close down these food stalls,” Ghosh said. The KMC team of food inspectors will visit food stalls in some other puja pandals in north and south Kolkata during this week.