A number of supermarkets within the Colombo Municipality were raided by the Colombo Municipal Council’s (CMC) Health Department officials today to check the hygienic conditions and food safety regulations.
During these raids, many outlets were found to have violated food safety regulations, especially in terms of storage regulations. Medical Officer-in-Charge of the City Food Safety and Hygiene Promotion Unit, Dr. Subash Mendis said many deep freezers were found over-stocked.
“As per the storage regulations, at least 20% of free space in a deep freezer should be maintained. Many freezers, as well as cold storage rooms, were filthy as they have not been cleaned properly. Some outlets had stored both raw materials and pre-cooked food together in the freezers,” Dr. Mendis said.
He said they would continue to inspect the temperature of meat and fish samples put on display where the temperature was mostly higher than the normal level.
“The temperature of fish and meat on display should not exceed five degree Celsius. However, we witnessed that the temperature of the frozen food display was up to 15 degree Celsius at some supermarkets,” he said.
Some supermarkets had also violated label regulations as they have failed to mention the importer and distributor information on the imported food items. The raid was part of the CMC’s special food inspection programme which was launched under the instructions of CMCs Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr. Ruwan Wijayamuni and targeting the New Year festival.
On Tuesday around 1,000 kg of food items unfit for human consumption was destroyed by health officials.
Dr. Wijayamuni, six medical officers of health (MOH) and 40 public health inspectors (PHI) participated in Tuesday’s programme, in which 65 outlets were inspected. “A total of 21 outlets were prosecuted for violating food safety regulations and outdated food items at 34 outlets had been destroyed in which approximately 800 kg of apples, oranges, mandarins and grapes, 134 kg of dry fish and 15 kg of parata were destroyed.
About 250 varieties of snacks, such as vegetable rottis, egg rottis and samosas were also destroyed,” Dr. Mendis said. (Lahiru Pothmulla)