58 restaurants in Guwahati served 'closure and improvement' notices
GUWAHATI: In an effort to improve the quality of food served by restaurants and other food outlets of the city, the food safety department of Kamrup (M) has issued “closure and improvement” notice to 58 food outlets in Guwahati since May last year.
The notices were served following a series of inspections conducted by the officials of the city food safety department across restaurants, hotels, sweet shops and other food outlets.
Sources at the department told G Plus that most of the outlets that received these notices are yet to improve their hygiene and sanitary conditions.
The outlets which have received the closure and improvement notices include Kasturi, Nehar’s Mughlai, Rookman Sweets, Prime bakes, Quick Pick, Punjab Hotel, Samrat Hotel, Puja Bakery, Three Guys etc.
Four canteens within the Gauhati University campus and four hotels at the Gauhati Medical College & Hospital (GMCH) campus also received such notices.
"Three restaurants inside GMCH are currently renovating and improving their kitchens and other conditions to provide hygienic food to the customers. Once they complete their renovation, we will inspect their outlets and based on our inspection results, we will allow them to open their restaurants," said an official of food safety department of Kamrup (M).
The official also said that during inspection they found that there was insufficient space for processing and storage, poor light and ventilation in the kitchens.
They also found that some of the restaurants did not even have proper space for movement, the floors and walls were not cleaned properly and no proper drainage system was put in place as per the requirements of the Food Safety and Standards Act 2006.
Insects were found to be roaming freely in some of the kitchens as there were no nets or screens fixed on the windows, doors and other gaps.
“During the drive, we mainly check whether the workers wear appropriate aprons, hand gloves and headgears while preparing food for their customers. We also check whether the food items that are kept for sale are covered properly to avoid contamination.
“However, in some of the places we found that there was zero distance between the kitchen and toilets. We have served kitchen closure notices to those restaurants and hotels,” said the food safety official.
In addition, the food safety department inspects the packaging and the date of expiry of the food items procured by the hotels and restaurants.
During the drives, which are being conducted by the department regularly, the officials recovered huge quantities of spices that cannot be used as their expiry dates had passed.
The Kamrup (M) food safety department has so far issued more than 400 food licenses to various entities, but it has no data on the exact number of restaurants that are currently operating in the city.
However, the department official said that there are a large number of restaurants in Guwahati that are functioning without a food licence.
Despite numerous drives being carried out against the unscrupulous food outlets, some traders are still continuing to run their businesses in gross violation of the concerned acts.
One such incident of violation came to light during an inspection drive carried out by a team of the state Legal Meteorology department against New Prince Bakery in Bhagagarh area in Guwahati.
The owner of the bakery allegedly used abusive language against the team of officials that was on duty to inspect the quality of food and packaging of the items sold by the bakery.
“There are no details mentioned on the packets of New Prince Bakery. The packaging of any food item should mention the date of expiry, registration number of the producer, ingredients of the food etc. But none of such information was provided by New Prince Bakery on their packaged food,” said an official of the inspection team.