In the wake of a nurse dying from suspected food poisoning in Kottayam, the Kerala food safety department raided and shut down 40 hotels on Tuesday. 62 others were fined, and 28 received warnings. The raids highlight the importance of food safety, especially during the holiday season when many people are eating out.
The 33-year-old nurse Reshmi Raj ordered an Arabian chicken dish “al faham” on Thursday, December 29 at the “Hotel Park” in Kottayam. She died on Monday.
20 others who ate at the same hotel sought medical aid in different hospitals. Food safety department has suspended the licence of the hotel and ordered its shut down.
In a statement issued by the ministry, health minister Veena George directed the Food Safety Department to inspect eateries across the state and to cancel licences of those serving adulterated or unhygienic food. The raids will continue into the new year as the cases of food poisoning are still on the rise.
Several cases in the month of December prompted the Food Safety Department to commence the raids. Two weeks ago more than 100 people suffered food poisoning after consuming food at a baptism function in Pathanamthitta. In the same month in Kozhikode, around 21 people fell ill after consuming food from an eatery there. A government doctor and 16 others fell sick after eating food on 24th December, from an eatery near Infopark in Ernakulam District.
The need of the hour is stricter regulations and enforcement of the food safety laws. A strong food safety management system and its implementation by Food Business operators is called for and demanded by the public. Accountability and diligence on the part of the business owners can prevent such unfortunate incidents.