Expired dairy, pests: Rameshwaram Cafe, Bahubali Kitchen in Hyderabad in gross violation of food safety norms

The violations included the presence of expired products, unlabelled food items, pest infestation and synthetic colours.

BySouth First Desk

Published May 24, 2024 | 1:12 PMUpdatedMay 24, 2024 | 9:45 PM

Officials inspecting the eateries in Hyderabad. (X)

A task force under the Commissioner of Food Safety in Telangana conducted inspections at The Rameshwaram Cafe and Bahubali Kitchen in the Madhapur area of Hyderabad on Thursday, 23 May, and found several violations.

The violations included the presence of expired products, unlabelled food items, pest infestation and synthetic colours.

The Food Safety Department has been conducting raids on restaurants and pubs across Hyderabad for the past few weeks and has unearthed quite a few instances of expired or substandard food or drinks being used.

The official X handle of the department has been giving regular updates about the raids, which are concentrated in specific areas for a single day.

On Friday, Rameshwaram Cafe said the management took note of the observations made by the authorities for its Hyderabad outlet and is already looking into the matter. An internal inquiry has been ordered to verify the facts and take stock of each outlet, they said.

Also Read: Food safety commissioner cracks down on top Hyderabad eateries, pubs

The violations

In the Rameshwaram Cafe, the officials found 100 kg of urad dal which had an expiry date of March 2024. They also found 10 kg of expired curd and eight litres of expired milk.

All the expired items were discarded, they said.

They also seized 45 kg of improperly labelled raw rice and 20 kg of white Lobia together worth ₹26,000 and 300 kg of unlabelled jaggery worth ₹30,000.

Officials also said that food handlers’ medical fitness certificates were unavailable at the restaurant and the dustbins were not covered properly with lids.

In its response, the popular restaurant said the expired goods were not meant for consumption but to be discarded.

“The stocks found were sealed and unattended, meant for dispatch and not for consumption,” the statement issued by the founders of The Rameshwaram Cafe, Divya Raghavendra Rao and Raghavendra Rao, whose establishment in Bengaluru witnessed a low-intensity blast in March this year, said.

The Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) chain further said it also ordered hygiene and standard checks for all its outlets across the states and wanted to convey its strong commitment towards providing consumers with the best in the category.

Assuring cooperation with the authorities, the statement said the restaurant has not received any show-cause notice from the officials concerned.

The management said it is fully committed to maintaining the highest standards of servicing, hygiene, safety and welfare of the consumers.

Pests in Bahubali Kitchen

Bahubali Kitchen was “heavily infested with cockroaches, including on food articles inside the store room. Pest control records were also not available with the restaurant.

The task force also discarded synthetic food colours found in its kitchen.

Other violations were also reported at the restaurant.

  • Kitchen premises were found very unhygienic and water stagnation was observed in the cleaning area.
  • Semi-prepared and raw food was improperly stored inside the refrigerator.

In Bahubali Kitchen also, food handlers’ medical fitness certificates were unavailable and a true copy of the FSSAI license was not displayed on the premises.

BigBasket warehouse licence suspended

The food safety team also suspended until further orders the licence of a BigBasket warehouse in Masjid Banda in the Kondapur locality following an inspection on Thursday.

The action came after the team found several violations, including expired items and improper storage.

The team noted that it found expired chicken masala, chicken sausages, pizza cheese, paneer, ice creams and almond fudge, with the expiry dates ranging from October last year to last month.

It also found edible oil leaking and contaminating other food articles on lower racks.

The team also came across 10 milk bottles, five thick-shake bottles, and 50 Sting tin bottles stored under conditions different from what the manufacturers specified.

It also reportedly found food and non-food items stored together.

(Edited by Muhammed Fazil)