Consumers beware !Recent food inspection raids by the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) have found that many imported spices are adulterated while locally manufactured ice-cream products, may not be as sweet as you think
“Spices are ground in unclean grinding machines and workers trample the spices and handle them with bare hands,” CMC Chief Medical Officer Dr. Pradeep Kariyawasam, told the Sunday Times.
|Food inspectors on the job. File pix
He said food health inspectors will be doing regular checks on grinding mills while a programme is underway to give these mills a certificate for cleanliness and hygiene after lab tests are carried out on their products.He said earlier detections were made regarding the use of colouring and starch in spices but now tests are being carried out for microbes as well.
Commenting on the recent detection of contaminated ice-cream products and a case being filed against a leading ice-cream company outside Colombo, Dr. Kariyawasama said, “Ice-creams get contaminated by the water and milk that is used in the production. This can result in food poisoning. We had requested all ice-cream manufacturers to subject their products for lab tests before issuing to the market, but only one company co-operated. Now we are carrying out tests on samples and if microbes are found, the company would be taken to courts.”
For the few months for this year alone 75 eateries have been charged for selling unhygienic food while in 2011 around 700 eateries were charged with preparing unhygienic food.
Pointing out that now more indepth tests are being carried out with regard to hygiene of eateries, Dr. Kariyawsam said rules and regulations under the food act and that had not been implemented so far will be implemented.
“We also conduct exams for CMC health department workers including inspectors. After they undergo training they have to answer a questionnaire. These questions cover basic knowledge on microbes, food hygiene and good food practices,” he added.
Dr. Kariyawasam added that the CMC is carrying out regular checks on the quality of water used at eateries. “Owners of eateries mainly use tube well water, but ground water in Colombo is polluted.”
Commenting on regular inspections that are being carried out he said food samples are being checked for bacteria like salmonella, streptococcus and other micro organisms.
Dr. Kariyawasam further pointed out that fines imposed on offenders need to be increased from the present minimum fine of Rs.5000. The minimum fines for hotels should start at Rs. 25,000 and companies around Rs100, 000, he said.
He encouraged the public to lodge complaints regarding contaminated or unhygienic food on the hotline, 2676161.