Friday, October 12, 2012

Live worms issue: Crucial circular kept in cold storage

Following the controversial ‘shawarma’ incident, the Office of Commissioner of Food Safety had issued a circular on August 10 which laid down a set of rules for agencies which supply chicken and beef to non-vegetarian restaurants, hotels and canteens in the state. However, the recent KFC incident has proved that none of the conditions in the circular are being followed. The Coimbatore-based broiler supplier Suguna Chicken supplies chicken to KFC. According to the circular, the agencies which supply chicken/ beef to restaurants must submit  evidence that products are transported in refrigerated and clean vehicles. The evidence must be submitted 15 days before taking licence.The agencies were asked to register before September 15. However, Suguna Chicken has not followed these norms.

When contacted, D Sivakumar, Designated Officer, Food Safety Department, said Suguna Chicken holds the licence under the Food Control Act of the Union Ministry of Agriculture. When asked about the circular, he said that the current licence of Suguna was enough.
The circular also states that the special squad formed by the Food Safety Commissioner would conduct surprise checks of vehicles which distribute meat items. The circular states that inspection would begin after September 6. However, Food Safety officials admitted that no such checking has been held so far.
Customers had found a live worm in a chicken dish served by the KFC outlet in the city recently. The chicken was to be stored at a temperature of -18 degrees Celsius. The presence of live worms has raised doubts on the transportation and storage of chicken in the KFC outlet.
According to the circular, the District Food Safety Office must have details such as the name of the business operator, address, vehicle number, phone number and registration number. The circular was issued by Food Safety Commissioner Biju Prabhakar.
If found guilty during checking, the Food Safety Authority can slap a closure notice under Section 30 of the Food Safety and Standards Act.

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