Even after serving notice multiple times and imposing hefty fines by the Food Safety authorities, some of the hotel and restaurant owners in the district are frequently involved in the unhygienic management of their premises and the storage of unhealthy ingredients for the preparation of food. In the newly exposed list of five violators, there are also hotels and restaurants which were earlier shut following the inspection of the food safety wing.
Lack of flash inspections or the long gap between the periodic inspections are reportedly prompting the owners and workers to cold-shoulder the sanitation and hygiene norms. The suspected leakage of information about surprise inspections is also helping many operators in the field to hoodwink the authorities and evade legal actions.
“The local residents are really shocked to see the list of two prominent restaurants at Karaparamba in the newly exposed list of sanitation and hygiene rule violators. Their alleged practice of keeping even inedible meat and other ingredients for food preparation is openly challenging public safety,” said a retired Public Works Department official from the area. He said there should be a system to blacklist such operators who are frequently booked on the same charges.
Various consumer associations have also come up with a demand to blacklist frequent offenders in the field and prevent the opening of new eateries by such persons. They also warn that otherwise the customers themselves will be forced to adopt their own ways to prevent the functioning of such businesses.
“Though the local people are intelligent enough to avoid the frequent violators in the business, many of those who come from distant locations visit such locations with family. The stinking business flourishes mainly because of such uninformed customers,” said T.K.A. Azeez, district president of Consumer Protection Committee. He alleged that the appeal they earlier made to the district-level authorities to publish the complete names and address of such violators on noticing recurring cases was ignored.
Mr. Azeez said that the committee would identify the frequent offenders in the sector and stage mass protests in front of their food ventures. “Our demand is to file criminal cases against those who flout rules in the business other than just allowing them to escape after remitting the fine,” he said.
A State-level functionary of the Kerala Hotel and Restaurant Owners’ Association said the association was finding it hard to monitor each and every individual in the sector because of practical problems. “My suggestion to the public is to boycott such hotels apart from creating public awareness against such business units. Such united reaction will definitely create an impact in the industry,” he said.