In the last eight days, the state food safety department conducted hundreds of inspections of restaurants, following the death of a 16-year-old girl due to food poisoning.

Officials inspecting food in a shopSpecial Arrangement
news Tuesday, May 10, 2022 - 09:05

As part of the ongoing food inspections of the restaurants of Kerala, 226 more checks were done by the Department of Food Safety on Monday, May 9. Action was taken against 29 places which did not have a license or registration, said a release by the state Health Minister's office. As many as 103 kilograms of unhygienic meat were also seized and destroyed. At the end of the inspection, 30 samples were sent for further testing.

In the last eight days, 1,930 inspections have been conducted in the state. The burst of checks began after the death of a 16-year-old girl, Devananda, who died of food poisoning at a restaurant in Kasargod on May 1. Forty other students who had shawarma from the same food joint were hospitalised that night. The cause of food poisoning was due to a bacterium called shigella, said Kasargod Medical Officer AV Ramdas.

After nearly 2,000 food inspections over a week, the food safety department took action against 181 restaurants which did not have a license or registration. In addition, 631 places were given notice, and 283 kilograms of unhygienic meat were seized. Altogether, 159 samples were sent for further testing.

In another operation, 6,205 kilograms of stale meat, mixed with chemicals, were also destroyed. In the 4,073 food inspections done during this time, 2,121 samples were sent for testing.

After the death of Devananda, there was a lot of concern around the consumption of shawarma, a popular dish in Kerala. Food safety officials pointed out that it was not only shawarma that can lead to food poisoning but any dish prepared in unhygienic conditions or stored improperly. Dr Sudeep, Superintendent of Kannur Medical College Hospital, told TNM that the chances of organisms forming in stale food items and releasing toxins are higher during the summer as the food decomposes faster. Stored in colder conditions, this risk is limited, he said.

Read: Kerala food poisoning death: There is more to the issue than shawarma, say experts

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