The number of food business operators registered or licensed by the food safety department has increased almost three-fold. Acording to the officials of the department, besides restaurants, bakeries and snacks manufacturers, they have also brought many home bakers and home-based catering services under the food safety ambit. The number of food businesses registered under the FSSAI act in the district has gone up from less than 6,000 outlets in last October to 17,000 as of this week, designated food safety officer Vijayalalithambigai said. “There are about 29,000 food business operators, which means we have managed to achieve at least 60% compliance. The compliance is higher among licensees or business operators with a turnover of more than Rs 12 lakh. Smaller businesses have to catch up,” she told TOI.
Food safety officials have been educating owners of new shops and eateries about rules regarding use of oil, water, packaging and serving material when they apply for registration. “We tell them not to use newspapers or printed papers to serve food and also against reusing cooking oil and artificial colours. We educate them about ways to store raw materials. We have also told them not to buy cheap tea and coffee powder and even milk, because that may be adulterated. As a result, the quality of food they offer has gone up,” a food safety officer said.In the last three days, the department had issued notices to 19 food business operators and nine small shops, asking them to obtain licenses under FSSAI.
The officials said that while compliance within the corporation limits is high, more units in rural areas need to be brought under its ambit. “In places like Valparai, the compliance is hardly 50%, because of the terrain and the fact that many estates and homes run homestays there offer food,” Vijayalalithambigai added.
Over 60kg adulterated tea dust seized in 3 days
COIMBATORE: Sale of adulterated tea is rampant in the city, taunting food safety department officials and ignoring awareness drives. In the last three days alone, officials of the department found 15 small shops selling adulterated tea and destroyed 66.5kg tea bags.
The department has been conducting a mass raid since Wednesday mainly focusing on the retail sector and checking if shops were selling products following the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI)(FSSAI) guidelines. “While we usually raid only godowns and wholesalers, we decided to raid shops because they have to stop stocking products that do not conform to the guidelines,” designated food safety officer Vijayalalithambigai told TOI.
“At least 15 of the 152 shops we raided were selling adulterated tea. They were mainly small shops spread across the city,” the official said.
Adulterated tea contains colouring agents and its use may increase the risk of cancer. While tea dust change colour only in hot water, adulterated tea dust change colour in cold water.
According to the officials, small shopkeepers, who buy adulterated tea from wholesalers, are attracted to it because of the low cost. “Adulterated tea dust, which is referred to as low grade tea, is often cost Rs 20 lesser than the normal tea. Many petty shops sell adulterated tea for Rs 6 to Rs 7 per cup compared to Rs 10 charged by bakeries,” a food safety officer said.
Meanwhile, the officials also seized 42kg pan masala and 30litres of packaged water and soft drinks stocked beyond the expiration date.
The training is being given by food safety and standards authority of India (FSSAI) officials. Nearly 142 cooks from 82 temples in and around Chennai were imparted training at the Vadapalani temple. Similar training will be given to other temple cooks region-wise.
“The cooks (called suyampagis) were from some of the big and famous temples and the training was at Vadapalani temple. The training is on how to use kitchens and how to keep vessels clean etc,” said a senior HR&CE official. A workshop was also held for the temple officials in New Delhi regarding hygienic offerings. “The FSSAI officials also visited several temple kitchens in the city as well as in other districts,” said the official.
The FSSAI officials told temple cooks to wear a chef ’s cap (to prevent hair from falling into the prasa food) and also check the taps. “The officials came into the kitchen where prasadam is cooked, as well as in the kitchen where food is cooked for annadanam (free food). The officials told the cooks not to allow water stagnation in kitchens,” said the official.
“The FSSAI officials wanted the temple cooks and contractors to use butter papers in place of plastics while packing prasadams. The officials also advised temple officials to have mosquito nets in kitchens,” he said.
Temples in Tamil Nadu are famous for various types of prasadams and ingredients used. “The FSSAI officials also spoke about the quality. They told temple officials to use quality ingredients so that prasadams are of good quality,” said the official.
The department has also trained sculptors, craftsmen, architects, weavers, goldsmiths, village temple priests, musicians, dancers, nadaswaram exponents and vendors of puja articles. “While training nadaswaram exponents the department gave ₹5,000 to each of them as an incentive,” said the official.