Even after repeatedly serving notices and imposing heavy fines by food safety authorities, some hoteliers and restaurateurs in the area are frequently implicated in the unhygienic management of their premises and the stockpiling of unhealthy food preparation ingredients. . In the newly exposed list of five offenders, there are also hotels and restaurants that were closed earlier following the food safety wing’s inspection.
The absence of flash inspections or the long interval between periodic inspections would encourage owners and workers to ignore sanitation and hygiene standards. The alleged leak of information on surprise inspections also helps many operators in the field to deceive authorities and evade legal action.
“Local residents are truly shocked to see the listing of two prominent restaurants in Karaparamba in the newly exposed list of sanitation and hygiene violators. Their alleged practice of keeping even inedible meat and other ingredients for food preparation pose an open challenge to public safety,” said a retired official from the region’s public works department. He said there should be a system to blacklist such operators which are frequently booked for the same fee.
Various consumer associations have also proposed blacklisting frequent offenders in the field and preventing these people from opening new restaurants. They also warn that otherwise the customers themselves will be forced to adopt their own means to prevent the operation of these companies.
“Although the locals are smart enough to avoid frequent offenders in the business, many who come from remote areas visit these places with their families. The stinky business is thriving mainly because of these misinformed customers,” said TKA Azeez, district chairman of the Consumer Protection Committee. He alleged that their earlier call for district authorities to release the full names and addresses of such offenders after finding recurring cases had been ignored.
Mr Azeez said the committee would identify frequent offenders in the sector and organize mass protests outside their food businesses. “Our demand is to take criminal action against those who flout company rules other than just allowing them to escape after handing over the fine,” he said.
A state-level official from the Kerala Hotel and Restaurant Owners Association said the association was struggling to monitor every individual in the area due to practical issues. “My suggestion to the public is to boycott these hotels in addition to raising public awareness of these business units. Such a united reaction will definitely create an impact in the industry,” he said.