SRINAGAR: A video showing adulterated food being openly sold in Srinagar went viral on Facebook. In the video, a customer was seen showing a packet of parathas which was unfit for consumption. That video raised alarm among netizens who commented how the lack of checks on street food was endangering the lives of city residents.
However, even as the video created an uproar on social media, the practice of selling adulterated and unhygienic food has far from stopped.
In the congested Amira Kadal area, scores of makeshift stalls sell biryani, kebabs, fried fish, and snacks in the open.
At on one such stall, customers wait their turn to have fried fish while the vendor serves them without using gloves.
He also served food to another customer who eagerly had it without noticing that he was eating off an unhygienic plate, for the vendor had served him without cleaning his plate.
This unhygienic practice, according to Dr Rubeena, former health officer at Srinagar Municipal Corporation, has had an adverse impact on people’s health.
“We should firstly take care of personal hygiene, we should make people aware about proper food hygiene and ways of selling street food. This unhygienic food can cause food poisoning, which can lead to a person’s death. We can’t stop this selling of street food because it has became a part of our culture, but we should make these food vendors aware about the ill effects of this unhygienic food.”
A vendor Parvaiz Ahmad selling snacks at a stall near Lal Ded Hospital, however, denied that street food was poisonous.
“We use the best quality of ingredients such as P Mark flour and refined oil for snack preparation. We also use clean water,” he added.
Assistant Commissioner Food Safety, Srinagar, Hilal Mir told Kashmir Reader that they have acted against street vendors selling unhygienic food.
“We have filed 150 cases this year so far,” he said, citing an example of a vendor who was fined Rs 10,000 for using adulterated oil to prepare delicacies in Srinagar.
“We are appealing to these street vendors to cover all food items with a cloth or paper and not to reuse mustard oil,” he said.