Thiruvananthapuram: A joint team of Food Safety and Health Department officials will carry out widespread checks at hotels and food establishments across Kerala from tomorrow, Feb 1, to confirm compliance to the recent order on making health cards mandatory for employees.
Hotels, restaurants, and bakeries too come under the purview of the order aimed to ensure food safety.
The employees should undergo medical check-ups and obtain the certificates as per the Food Safety and Standards Act guidelines. The institutions will be forced to down shutters upon failing to complete the procedures and upon producing fake certificates during inspections. It is suspected many workers have obtained false certificates.
The model of the certificate can be accessed from the website of the Food Safety Commissionerate. The certificates and the test results should be kept at workplaces and produced upon demand by the officials.
The Government earlier warned that the food manufacturing and distribution centres without health cards will be forced to down shutters from February 1. They will be allowed to reopen only after ensuring that the people in charge have taken the health cards. The permission of the Food Safety Commissioner is also needed for this.
The move is part of strict measures to ensure hygiene at food establishments in the wake of recent back-to-back food poisoning incidents.
There are nearly six lakh food manufacturing and distribution establishments in the state, out of which hotels and restaurants comprise 1.5 lakh. Out of the 5 lakh hotel and restaurant employees, around 3.5 lakh workers have taken the health cards, according to the data from the Food Safety Commissionerate.
The authorities assume that a majority of the remaining workers, too, have taken the cards, which have a validity of one year.
Earlier, Health Minister Veena George said any hotel or restaurant found employing staff who fail to take health cards will not be allowed to function from February 1. If it’s found that a worker doesn’t possess a health card, the institution will be closed down in no time and its details published.