SRINAGAR, Apr 1:
Flouting Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006, the fish outlets in summer capital of Srinagar are selling fishes without any proper refrigeration, display cans and information labels on containers thereby transferring the food borne diseases to people.
The fish is seen displayed in open trays without proper refrigeration or casing. No kitchen sanitizers can be seen around cutting boards and counter tops and shops are often untidy thereby inviting microbes which cause food borne diseases, experts said. Unavailability of separate display cans also makes it vulnerable to cross- contamination.
Khadija, a fisherwoman, who sells indigenous fishes at Amira Kadal here, said they bring these fishes from outside State. “It did not smell good. There is clear smell of some chemical which makes it look fresh. These are slippery; eyes are not clear and are sunken. Just touch it, it would not spring back. Most of them are already rotten. They also sell some raw fish meat. Who knows what kind of meat it is?” she said.
Dr Qayoom Khan, who is Assistant Registrar at SKIMS Soura, said the low temperature slows down the growth of micro organisms. Warmth may encourage the growth of microbes which may get into your hands and utensils and cause food poisoning, he said.
Claiming that 50 percent of fish outlets have cold chain, Assistant Commissioner Food and Drug Control Srinagar, Hilal Ahmad, told Excelsior that major fish dealers like Kaloo Fish Shop, Bismillah Fish Shop and Iqra Fish Shop have also been ordered to either maintain the cold chain or stop selling fishes and within one week every fish outlet will have proper refrigeration.
“We have recently closed one fish outlet in Bemina which was violating the Food Safety Act and right now fifty percent of the fish outlets have cold chain. Fish shops at Places like Nowhata and Khayam have been given one week’s time,” he said. He refused to divulge further details.
However, another official wishing anonymity when asked about the reasons of letting them sell fish without refrigeration and other requirements, said that there were some hurdles from some Municipality officers in the execution of Food Safety Act.
“Recently Food Commissioner has brazenly de-notified the food inspectors so that food safety standards should be achieved. This was done in line with the Food Safety and Standards Act 2006 after lapses were spotted by the High Court. Now there will be single line administration without any interference,” he said.