Four months after the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) lifted food samples from Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) outlets for tests at the State Food Laboratory (SFL), RTI activists are stumped by the conflicting versions being given by the two state bodies.
City-based RTI activist Bakka Judson sought the status of the KFC samples by filing two applications before GHMC’s food safety wing and SFL. But, both passed the buck on to each other.
When asked about the details of samples it tested from June 2014 to August 2015, the chief public analyst of Nacharam-based SFL said: “…the information regarding KFC is not available with the lab as it is not mentioned in the memorandum to food analyst.”
“This is surprising as the admission by SFL of not having any information on KFC only goes on to show that health of the people is not a priority for the GHMC’s food safety department. In other words, it only means that they did not receive the samples at all,” said Bakka Judson.
Under the memorandum to food analyst Form-VI, a food safe ty officer is required to fill details like code number, date and place of collection, name and nature of articles etc. before sending the same to the food analyst for testing.
However, what raises more eyebrows is the claim made by the GHMC’s food safety wing in another RTI reply dated November 13 (copy with TOI) that they sent 42 KFC samples as `surveillance samples for bacteriological analysis purpose and sent the same to the state food safety laboratory’.
In its reply, the superintendent of the GHMC’s health and sanitation department said that on June 26 and June 27, food safety officials of GHMC lifted 42 food samples from `various outlets of KFC in GHMC limits under the provisions of Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 and rules made thereunder for analysis purpose and sent the same to the state food laboratory’.
It may be recalled that soon after the samples were lifted, KFC. owned by Yum! Restaurants India Pvt. Ltd, obtained an interim stay order from the High Court on July 7 by filing a writ petition against commissioner of food safety , Telangana, following which the latter filed a petition to vacate the stay .The petition is yet to be heard.
When contacted, Dr T Damodar, one of the food safety officers (FSDOs) in GHMC’s health and sanitation department, said that he could not immediately respond without seeing the RTI replies furnished by the two state government bodies.