The Murugan Idli Shop, a popular chain of vegetarian restaurants in Chennai found itself in a soup on Tuesday after the license of the restaurant’s central kitchen in Ambattur Industrial Estate was suspended over lax hygiene and sanitation.
Officials from the Tiruvallur division of the Department of Food Safety and Drugs Administration suspended the license of Murugan Idli’s central kitchen on September 10 after the restaurant had neglected to address several issues which had been raised under the Food Safety Act in the recent past.
“We had visited the kitchen around 40 days ago and raised red flags on the kitchen’s hygiene standards to the manager. We gave him time to rectify the same but he has not complied with the rules. We then issued a show-cause notice to the manager but he has not submitted any reports or taken any action. Based on this, we have suspended operations,” an official from the department’s Tiruvallur division told indianexpress.com.
The official elaborated that certain norms pertaining to hygiene and sanitation, such as periodical medical check-ups of the staff, distribution of caps and gloves to kitchen staff, pest control, white-washing of walls, repairing broken flooring, proper handling of items in storage and maintenance of dish-washer had not been followed at the kitchen.
While the license has been suspended temporarily, the official could not comment on the time period within which the suspension will be revoked.
Likewise, a Murugan Idli Shop outlet at Parry’s Corner was issued a notice by officials from the Chennai division of the Department of Food Safety and Drugs Administration based on a complaint filed by a customer after worms were discovered in the meal.
“We have issued a notice to the restaurant under Section 55 (failure to comply with directions of the food safety officer) of the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006,” said an officer from the Chennai division. “The main issue with the outlet is that pest control is not periodical and hygiene and sanitation is not up to the mark,” he added.
The officer said that if the restaurant failed to address the issue, the department will be forced to take action accordingly.
Customers of the food outlet were surprised upon hearing that the restaurant’s license had been suspended over poor hygiene in the central kitchen.
“Murugan Idli Shop has always been hygienic when compared to most places in the city. I am surprised that they were given such a notice”, Subbalakshmi, a regular at the restaurant said.
“As a consumer I feel slightly apprehensive but in the years that I have been there they have always been great. Not necessarily the most hygienic place but it is not going to be a dealbreaker – it is Murugan after all. Also depends on which outlet you go to, right? The T Nagar one is quite clean”, said Rahul Aripaka, another longtime customer of the restaurant.