The Delhi government’s food safety department on Thursday visited the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) campus and issued show-cause notices to five hostels after inspecting the mess in each.
According to an official, a team of six food safety officers collected samples of food items from the mess at each of the hostels and sent them for inspection.
Ranjit Singh, designated officer with the food safety department, said that during the inspection it was found that the mess facility at many of the hostels did not have a licence, and hostel mess no. 7 showed the license of hostel mess no. 12. “We have issued show-cause notices to five of the hostels and an improvement notice to two,” he added. The inspection went on till late in the evening.
Singh said they planned the visit to the institute after the Resident Doctors’ Association at AIIMS highlighted the issue on social media. The samples will be sent to the laboratory for quality testing on Friday and improvement notices are also likely to be issued to several of the hostels, giving them a period of two weeks to bring the kitchens up to the mark.
The inspection found that in most of the kitchens, the food was kept in containers without lids, there were uncovered garbage bins, and the raw materials were not stored properly. Some of the kitchens did not have separate areas for vegetarian and non-vegetarian food.
According to resident doctors, the mess facilities at these hostels have been functioning in unhygienic conditions for the last two years. “We have made several complaints to higher authorities against the mess vendors. A number of them do not have proper licences and there has been no audit by the institute,” said Dr Jaswant Jangra, president of the Resident Doctors’ Association.
The Delhi government’s food safety department keeps surveillance over the market by organising surprise inspections, raids of food establishments and drawing samples of such food articles to check if they are adulterated, substandard or misbranded. In case of samples not conforming to the standards laid down under the Food Safety and Standards (FSS) Act rules and regulations, prosecution and penalty proceedings are launched.