Nearly a month after opening its first store in India, Swedish home furnishings retailer IKEA came in for embarrassment after a customer allegedly found a caterpillar in the vegetable biryani that was served to him. Following the incident on Friday, the customer, Abeed Mohammad, alerted the Food Safety Officer with the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC), which levied a fine of Rs 11,500 on the firm.
The GHMC has issued a notice to the IKEA restaurant manager and also to Haldirams, the Nagpur vendor from which it procures food items.
Mohammed, who had visited the store on Friday, also posted on Twitter a photo of the insect was found. He also tagged the Minister for Municipal Administration and Urban Development KT Rama Rao in the tweet.
— Abeed Mohammad (@abeedmohammed9) August 31, 2018
On Saturday, GHMC officials reportedly visited the store and collected food samples for bacteriological analysis tests at a lab. The leftover consignment of the biriyani in question was quarantined by IKEA.
IKEA’s own food safety team will also be visiting the Haldiram’s supplier at Nagpur. Apologising for the incident, an IKEA spokesperson was quoted by The News Minutes as saying, “We regret the incident and apologise to our customer for the unfortunate experience. We would like to assure him and everyone else that we are investigating the matter currently to assess what happened and take immediate corrective action. At IKEA, we have the strictest guidelines when it comes to food safety and quality as customer health and safety are something we care about deeply.”
A report in The Hindu said during the inspection it was also found that the store was not adhering to waste segregation norms and used plastic covers of less than 50 microns’ thickness.
However, this is also not the first time that an upscale eatery in Hyderabad has been fined over sub-standard food. In August, a customer in Hyderabad’s PVR Forum Sujana Mall found a cockroach in his packaged food, following which a penalty of Rs 3,000 was levied.