Home > NEWS > Food at some Bengaluru’s Indira Canteens unfit: Labs

Food at some Bengaluru’s Indira Canteens unfit: Labs

20,March, 2019
 

Bengaluru:Items like sambar, bisibele bath and rice served in select Indira Canteens in Bengaluru are not fit for human consumption, say reports from two laboratories.

The confirmation comes nearly three weeks after TOI published a report — ‘Substandard food, poor hygiene take sheen off Indira Canteens’ — on February 27.

The tests, conducted by the government-run Public Health Institute (PHI) and Ramaiah Advanced Testing Laboratory, were commissioned by BJP corporator Umesh Shetty, and found the presence of bacteria and fungus in the samples.

BBMP sources said there isn’t a single complaint of people falling ill after consuming Indira Canteen food and the timing of the allegation appears suspect. Shetty, who represents Govindrajnagar ward, said the idea behind collecting samples originated when he noticed pourakarmikas were not present in full strength during daily mustering. “I was told many absent pourakarmikas were suffering from stomachache, diarrhoea and other stomachrelated ailments. I suspected problems with the Indira Canteen food they were consuming. This forced me to get food samples tested,” he said.

The corporator collected samples from JP Nagar ward (near chief minister HD Kumaraswamy’s residence), mayor Gangambike Mallikarjun’s area (Jayanagar), deputy mayor Bhadre Gowda’s Nagapura ward and Byatarayanapura, Aramane Nagar, Govindrajnagar and Mudalpalya wards between February 28 and March 15.

Testing of the sambar samples from the Indira Canteen in JP Nagar, Jayanagar and Nagapura wards showed quality was far from satisfactory on many counts.

INFLATED? BBMP says 21 lakh people, including 16,000 pourakarmikas, eat Indira Canteen food. A corporator saw a scam in numbers quoted

CCTV cameras in canteens not functioning: Corporator

The microbiological quality of the sambar wasn’t within satisfactory limits,” said the PHI deputy director.

Samples of bisibele bath from Byatarayanapura and Mudalapalya wards were also of inferior quality. Escherichia coli (E coli) bacteria found in boiled rice could cause abdominal cramps and vomiting, said Dr Kishore Shenoy of Ramaiah Advanced Testing Laboratory.

Shetty said 16,000 pourakarmikas are provided food from Indira Canteens. He said he would file a complaint with the Anti-Corruption Bureau. He said: “Every day, huge bills are claimed. Why are officials compromising on food quality and safety of people?”

He said the BBMP claims 21 lakh people eat at Indira Canteens, but the reality is different as the numbers are inflated to claim bills. Shetty alleged CCTV cameras in the canteens aren’t functioning.

Deputy CM orders tests

Deputy chief minister G Parameshwara has directed BBMP commissioner N Manjunatha Prasad to test food samples and take action against erring contractors. Saying media reports (on quality of food) could create panic among the public, Prasad said samples of Indira Canteen ingredients and cooked food will be tested in 12 labs accredited to the National Accreditation Board and approved by Food Safety and Standards Authority of India.

TIMES VIEW

Offering food at subsidised rates is a time-tested model that several governments have tried to keep their votebanks intact. That apart, Indira Canteens turned to be a blessing for the urban poor though the previous government failed to gain much politically. Now nobody’s baby, there seems to be no system in place to monitor their functioning. They now face allegations of serving substandard food in unhygienic conditions. The report that food at some outlets is unfit for consumption is shocking. Instead of indulging in political mudslinging, the authorities must act quickly and fix the mess.

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