Thiruvananthapuram: The Congress-led UDF opposition on Wednesday alleged in the Kerala assembly that the 'incompetence and mismanagement' of the Left government was the reason for the food poisoning related deaths in the state.
At the Kerala assembly, the Congress-led UDF opposition alleged that the incompetence and mismanagemnet of the Left government has led to the food poisoning related deaths in Kerala.
They claimed that the LDF govt has failed to implement the Food Safety Act. These were however rejected by the Kerala govt with Health Minister Veena George stating that inspections has increased manifole since the LDF govt came to power in 2016.
She said over 50,000 inspections were carried out last year alone and the state government has now brought in stringent measures, like the 'Health Card' for employees of eateries certifying they are healthy and free of contagious diseases.
Health cards would be mandatory from February 16 onwards and besides that, the state government has banned -- effective from February 1 -- the sale of food items without the "best before label", she said in the House in response to the issue raised by senior Congress leader and MLA Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan. Radhakrishnan claimed in the House that the Food Safety and Health departments instead of working in a coordinated manner, are going their separate ways to deal with the issue.
He also claimed that Kerala was number one in the country in food safety during the UDF rule and in 2022 it had slipped to the 6th position. "There have been a lot of deaths. The mismanagement and incompetence of Food Safety department are the reason for this. Even the public see that." The Congress MLA alleged that adulterated dairy products, like milk, and expired or rotten meat were freely entering Kerala from other states, which indicated a lack of checking at the borders.
Moreover, with only three NABL accredited labs in the state, testing of collected samples gets delayed and proper results are not received, leading to the accused persons going scot free. He further claimed that thousands of cases related to violation of food safety norms were pending in courts and delay in test results due to lack of sufficient labs were also resulting in the accused getting away without any punishment. George acknowledged the prosecution related concern raised by the senior Congress leader and said that it has been decided to appoint a dedicated law officer in the Food Safety Commissioner's office to address that issue. She also said that implementing the Food Safety Act was a priority of the government for which it has recruited more officials, created a Special Task Force and was going to bring in a system for online monitoring of the complaints, action taken, etc. The minister said that when the next survey is conducted by the Centre, Kerala would surely be at the number one spot in food safety.
(With inputs from PTI)