Eating out has become a way of life for many in and around Vijayawada of late and the number of eateries has also increased rapidly. During and after the pandemic, numerous restaurants, cafes, cloud kitchens and roadside food stalls offering everything from gourmets to meals and teas to mocktails have surfaced.
While foodies now have all the reason to rejoice, food safety remains a concern.
Neither the standards that need to be met by the eateries are followed nor has the State government has taken any initiative to appoint the required number of food inspectors in the district in compliance with the Food Safety and Standards Act.
Several corporators of the city, during a council meeting recently, expressed concerns over rising practice of food adulteration and lack of a mechanism to check the quality of food being served at the eateries.
They pointed out that regular checks of kitchens at the eateries are important to check violation of the norms. While it is the responsibility of the civic body officials to ensure proper sanitation in the kitchens, the responsibility of ensuring quality food lies with food inspectors.
They are also supposed to enforce safety standards at all food and beverage business and manufacturing units.
“While there are around 300 small and big eateries in and around the city, there is only one official for each of Krishna and NTR districts,” said Regional Food Controller N. Purnachandra Rao.
Mr. Purnachandra Rao, who is also a representative of the Food Safety Officers Association, said that the State government has already sanctioned 78 posts of food safety inspectors. “If each district is given three food safety inspectors, the department can focus more on enforcing the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India rules,” he said.