CALCUTTA: Chicken lovers of Jamshedpur, don’t spoil your appetite with niggling bird flu fears. Doubts about the health of poultry served in restaurants can be dumped right into the dustbin along with the leftover bones.
Starting from Wednesday, East Singhbhum’s health team has beefed up its vigil on the quality of food served in eateries, especially non-vegetarian ones, with three important changes.
First, from now on, a team of senior East Singhbhum health department officials will conduct checks on roadside eateries, restaurants and food kiosks on a routine basis. Earlier, raids were carried out only based on specific complaints.
Two, the quality of food sold by hotels and commercial eateries used to be regulated under the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954, but now it has come under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006.
Three, the probe team constituted for this purpose will get punitive rights. If an eatery is found to have violated safety standards, the panel can cancel its licence.
A four-member team led by Swarn Singh, assistant chief medical officer of East Singhbhum, who is empowered to cancel the licence of an establishment, started its job on Wednesday.
The assistant chief medical officer, in the news for the proposed crackdown on quacks, added that the move taken by the district health department assumed significance in view of the lingering bird flu scare.
“The bird flu scare has not died down at all. Our move is a precautionary measure to ward off danger from diseases caused by the avians.”
The drive will cover hotels, roadside eateries, catering services, food packaging units and beverages. “We have tried to be as extensive as possible as per instructions from principal secretary of health K. Vidyasagar. Collection of food samples and sending them to labs will be a routine job,” food inspector K.P. Singh said, adding it was not related to Ranchi’s recent milk adulteration incident.
“We will focus on eateries that deal with chicken and poultry products,” Swarn Singh added.
“Not only will this move prevent people from falling prey to toxic and stale edibles that induce various diseases, it will help improve the overall standard of the eateries,” he told The Telegraph.
On Wednesday, they went to two well-known joints near Basant Talkies, Lakhi Caterer and Sanjha Chulha, spending over two hours inspecting raw and cook food, storage and cooking facilities as well as kitchens. They also took samples to be sent for inspection to a Dhanbad-based food-testing lab.