Close on the heels of neighbouring Kerala ordering raids in eateries across the state following the death of a 16-year-old girl in its Kasargod district after eating shawarma, the Tamil Nadu Food Department has also commenced a similar raid across the state.
The raids, according to a senior Food Department official, seized stale meat and other food articles.
The Food Safety Department officials carried out raids in more than 1,000 restaurants, mostly those serving non-vegetarian fare, in Chennai, Coimbatore, Madurai, Tiruchi, Tiruppur, Kancheepuram, Chengalpattu, Kanniyakumari, and other districts of the state, and seized stale meat including shawarma and other cooked meat products.
In a restaurant in Chennai, officials seized meat that was cooked and kept in the refrigerator.
In Madurai, the team led by Dr Jayaramapandian, the Divisional Food Safety Officer, conducted raids at 100 restaurants and seized stale meat to check its quality.
“The raids unearthed more than 300 kg of stale meat from several areas of the state, and notice was issued to all the eateries to produce all the relevant certificates, including food license, and the food articles used at the eateries,” an official told IANS.
During the raids, officials also asked the eateries to produce the medical certificates of the employees, including their fitness certificates.
The Food Department has informed all the restaurants to produce all the licenses and certificates within a week failing which the shops would be sealed and the licenses cancelled.
There were reports that in several restaurants in Tamil Nadu, stale meat and old food were served.
“We have decided to conduct regular searches in all the restaurants of the state as we don’t want to take any risks. More hands are required but we don’t want the people to suffer from this,” a senior Food Department official told IANS.