Following complaints about the food quality and hygiene reported by students of Savitribai Phule Pune University (SPPU), inspectors from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Pune, conducted an inspection of the canteens at the university campus last week.
Of the four canteens inspected, two contractors were operating without a valid food licence, said Shivaji Shinde, joint commissioner (Food), FDA Pune. While both contractors have been given notices and face punitive action, the other two contractors also have received ‘improvement’ notices.
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“It is our job to conduct inspections of canteens wherever we believe that food quality or hygiene might be compromised. Having read reports of complaints about the quality of food in the canteens and refectory, we decided to conduct an inspection. Of the four canteens, two were operating without a licence. We inspected the canteens with regards to quality and hygiene standards to be followed during storage, purchase and handling of food. After taking into account things like handlers hygiene, kitchen cleanliness and food materials storage, utensils and food handling, we found minor faults. Hence, two contractors will be given improvement notices and a deadline to make these changes,” said Shinde.
Over the past few weeks, Newsline had reported the complaints of SPPU students over food served in the university canteens. In fact, the hygiene and safety standards of food served in the canteens of colleges and universities is bothering the University Grants Commission (UGC) as well, which issued a notice to universities last week asking that all contractors be registered with the FDA and undergo food handling training.
Vice-chancellor Wasudeo Gade said he welcomed the FDA inspections and that the administration had collaborated with the FDA on these inspections. “We had spoken to FDA authorities about these inspections and I believe they are very important to maintain the food hygiene and quality. We have a committee for the canteen comprising many students, yet we are still getting complaints on food. So we are looking at ways for improvement. We are going to ensure that first, all contractors have licences that are renewed regularly. Also, I am personally going to request for these inspections regularly and we will not hesitate in taking action if reports are not favourable,” said Gade.