Chennai: Food safety officials discovered 30 kilograms of stale chicken stored inside deep freezers at three restaurants in Royapettah during an inspection. The officials said that stale meat may have been added to biryanis and curries in which they received notices and fines of Rs 5000 each.
According to Dr. Satheesh Kumar P, the designated food safety officer (Chennai), ‘Stale meat coated with food colours and cooked in spices in some restaurants can cause serious health hazards including death,’ as quoted by the Times of India.
On Friday, a 10-year-old girl died at Government General Hospital after consuming chicken dishes at a restaurant in Arni, Tiruvannamalai district, and more than 20 other people were admitted. Three of the girl’s family members were also hospitalized. According to the officials, the primary reasons that have been affecting the quality of ingredients at hotels include the poor storage of meat and fish at the point of sale and in hotel kitchens. Last week, food safety officials destroyed 270 kg of stale fish from godowns in fish markets in Chintadripet, Kasimedu, and Nochikuppam.
When hotels purchase meat from places at a low cost, quality is bound to suffer. Dr. Satheesh added, ‘Also, in several eateries, meat is not stored at right temperatures in deep freezers and chilling trays, or it’s stored for days beyond its life. Instead of throwing them away, some hotels use them to cut corners.’
They also checked the quality of other ingredients (including vegetables, cooking oil, the hygiene of the kitchen, hotel rooms, and the staff) during their inspection. A food safety official said, ‘While we crack down on hotels, we want to tell people to ensure they check the quality of food. They should say no to food that has added colours. Complaints can be registered through WhatsApp on 9444042322.’