Telangana food safety commissioner cracks down on top Hyderabad eateries, pubs

Establishments under scanner include KFC outlets, eateries like Kritunga, and watering holes like Head Quarters Rest-O-Bar.

BySouth First Desk

Published May 23, 2024 | 9:48 AMUpdatedMay 23, 2024 | 9:48 AM

From left: Telangana Food Safety Department task force officials at work, an open-lid bin at an establishment, and improperly stored masala paste that the team discovered.

Telangana’s Food Safety Department has been conducting raids on restaurants and pubs across Hyderabad for a week now, and has unearthed quite a few instances of expired or substandard food or drinks being used.

Establishments under scanner include outlets of the fast-food chain KFC, eateries like Kritunga, and watering holes like Head Quarters Rest-O-Bar.

Even ice-cream joints and retail stores have been under the scanner of the task force team of the department — which functions under the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) — over the past week.

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

Also Read: 5 Hyderabad restaurant staff arrested as customer dies after assault

Raids in Banjara Hills

Detailing its raids in the posh Banjara Hills area on Wednesday, 22 June, the department said its task force team found one packet each of dark and white chocolate “crispearls” at Labonel Fine Baking that were beyond their expiry date.

It added that the items, worth ₹4,170, were discarded “on the spot” at the bakery.

It also noted that it found American Garden-branded apple cider vinegar bottles that had been imported, but bore no label of the importer or the FSSAI logo or licence details on the package. Four such bottles were “seized at the premises”.

The department added that the medical fitness certificate of food handlers had expired on 15 March, and had not been renewed after that.

The task force team also paid a visit to a Baskin Robbins outlet at Banjara Hills, where it found a 66-piece pack of “Horn White Chocolate” whose contents had expired on 12 March.

It said the pack was found stored inside a refrigerator and discarded on the spot.

It also said the food handlers’ medical fitness certificates were not presented, with the food business operator (FBO) claiming they were available at the head office.

The team also visited Manam Chocolate Karkhana, and found its operations to be in compliance with FSSAI regulations.

Also Read: New Year nightmare for Hyderabad family as hotel staff assault them

Raids in Somajiguda

Detailing its raids in the Somajiguda area on Tuesday, the department said its task force team found, among other things, 6 kg of expired Methi Malai paste worth ₹1,800 at the Kritunga – The Palegar Cuisine restaurant.

This was discarded, along with 6 kg of improperly-labelled paneer, non-vegetarian paste, and citric acid worth ₹3,000.

The team also seized 156 water bottles of Kritunga Palegar’s brand worth ₹7,800 as they contained total dissolved solids (TDS) of just 4 parts per million.

Samples of the water have reportedly been sent to a laboratory for analysis.

TDS refers to minerals and ions dissolved in water. Any water with 50-150 ppm TDS is considered safe to drink.

The higher the TDS, the more there are chances of contaminants. However, water with TDS lower than 50 ppm is also considered unfit for drinking as it could lack essential minerals.

The department also said food handlers at Kritunga were found without haircaps, gloves, aprons, and medical fitness certificates.

It added that its team also found semi-prepared and raw food articles stored inside the refrigerator without proper labelling and covering.

It also said kitchen premises were found to be open to the outside environment without a proper mesh or barrier to avoid the entry of pests or flies, while dustbins were found open and without lids.

Another place the department’s task force team visited was Head Quarters Rest-O-Bar. There, it reportedly found the FBO to be using synthetic food colours, and so discarded the food on the spot.

It also discarded 50 unlabelled pizza bases, five packets of garlic bread, and 5 kg noodles worth ₹1,600.

The team also noted the improper storage of vegetarian and non-vegetarian food in the refrigerator.

The department added that the food-handlers at this FBO were not wearing haircaps, gloves, and aprons, and did not have medical fitness certificates.

It also said the kitchen premises were found open to the outside environment without a proper mesh or barrier to prevent the entry of pests or flies, while dustbins were found open without lids.

The department’s team also visited a KFC outlet in Somajiguda, where it found that the FSSAI licence’s true copy was not displayed at any prominent location.