Thiruvananthapuram: Health Minister Veena George informed that the Food Safety Department on Tuesday conducted surprise inspections, as part of Operation Holiday, across 429 restaurants in the state.
Of those, 43 establishments were directed to be shut down -- 22 for not maintaining the hygiene parameters stipulated by the department and 21 for not possessing a license.
In Attakulangara in Thiruvananthapuram, the owners and employees of Buhari Hotel attempted to obstruct the inspection. However, officials completed the inspection under police protection and directed that the establishment be shut down.
According to officials, cockroaches were found in the dishes prepared by the restaurant. However, the owners allege the restaurant was shut down on purpose.
Notices were issued to 138 restaurants and food samples from 44 eateries were sent for testing. The minister said inspections will continue in the coming days as well.
Unsafe and stale food continues to be sold in eateries across Kerala despite umpteen safety and hygiene guidelines and much-publicised raids by the civic authorities and the Food Safety Department.
On Monday, a young nurse lost her life after consuming kuzhimanthi and al-fahm, two popular Arabian dishes, from a restaurant situated on the outskirts of Kottayam town.
Upon further investigation, it was found that the restaurant from which the nurse had food had been served a closure notice two months ago after it was found functioning in unhygienic conditions during a raid conducted by the health wing of the Kottayam Municipality.
As claimed by the health minister, the Food Safety Department has conducted 5,864 inspections across the state, as part of Operation Holiday, till December 31. Of those, 26 establishments have been shut down.
During the Christmas holidays, special squads were formed in all districts to conduct lightning raids across eateries in Kerala owing to rising cases of food poisoning.
Notices were issued to 802 restaurants, while 337 statutory samples and 540 surveillance samples were collected from various eateries for testing.