Thiruvananthapuram: Health Minister Veena George has said that from now on food safety registration and licenses would be made mandatory in the state.
The hotels, restaurants and establishments dealing in food products should obtain food safety registration and license within three months. All hotels, restaurants and eating joints should prominently display the toll-free number in their respective establishments.
The minister, while addressing a high-level meeting, directed the officials to intensify the checks on hotels and restaurants. The food safety calendar will be reformed in a time-bound manner.
Facilities would be put in place for the customers to upload photographs along with their complaints. The minister said the practice of suspending food safety checks midway should be done away with. The raids and checks should continue frequently and strict action should be taken against those violating the provisions, guidelines and norms of the Food Safety Act.
There should be specific guidelines for reopening shops that have been shut down following violations. Steps should be taken to ensure time-bound receipt of the results after laboratory tests. The activities of the food safety officials and other enforcement officials should be reviewed once in two weeks at the district level. The assistant commissioners should evaluate the review of districts.
The outcome of inspections and surprise checks should be reviewed once a month at the state level. Awareness programmes need to be strengthened further.
As per the FSSAI guidelines, at least one person in an establishment should be properly trained. Such trained persons should impart training to the other staff members.
Food products at all levels need to be examined. The food safety authorities can seek police protection for emergency situations during the raids and inspections, the minister said.
As many as 3297 inspections were carried out across the state during the past 16 days. Action was initiated against 283 shops for not having licenses or registration. As many as 1057 establishments were served notice.
During the inspection 401 kg of stale meat was seized and destroyed by the officials, 232 samples were sent for laboratory examination and inspections were carried out in 674 juice shops. Of these notices were given to 96 shops and action was taken against eight shops.
As part of Operation Matsya, 6597 kg of stale and chemical-laced fish has been destroyed so far. During this period 4575 inspections were carried out and notices were issued to 101 persons.
Under operation jaggery aimed at finding out adulteration in jaggery, 707 institutions were inspected. As many as 151 surveillance samples were collected during the inspections.