In Ahmedabad,market for street food is huge and at the same time the number of the health issues resulting from the consumption of this food is also very high.
The health department of the AMC has been assigned the responsibility to ensure availability of the hygienic food on the streets in the city.
Dr Suresh Kulkarni,the medical officer of the health department of AMC,said,Street food issues in Ahmedabad are common and they increase during summers. Since,summer has already set in,we will carry out checking at short intervals.
He said the department officials during their inspection collect food samples and send them for testing. If food is found to be of poor quality,we order immediate disposal of the food and arrest the vendor.
The health department had collected 2,500 samples of food and had found adulteration in 300 cases. The samples were collected from areas of the walled city Bhadra,Maninagar,Khokhra,Jamalpur and other neighbouring areas.
Kulkarni said,The vendors selling non-vegetarian food,chats and sandwitches are found to be regular offenders. Several cases of adulteration,use of prohibited colours and harmful ingredients have been caught from these places. Even,some utensils are also reported to be creating allergies.
The department had recently raided many eating joints at Maninagar and caught many vendors selling stale chaat,pani puris and other food items.
The vendors were also asked to use disposable dishes,cups and stop serving drinking water in plastic pouches made locally.
The central government had last year launched a programme to increase hygiene and quality of the street food in the country.
Mahesh Parikh,the president of the Consumer Protection and Action Committee,said,Street food has been affecting the health of the consumers especially because the consumer awareness level about street food is abysmal. We had written to the Health Ministry in this context to consider this issue seriously as it is a question of consumer protection. The central government had also instructed the government bodies to educate vendors about street food and health issues,but nothing is followed at the local level.
Kulkarni said,The government is supposed to firstly ensure the food sold in the city is safe. Secondly,it has to see that pure drinking water is available and proper drainage facility is created in areas where street food is sold.