By H.M.Dharmapala and Kusal Chamath
A large stock of food unfit for human consumption was destroyed and the traders, who had violated sanitary regulations and food safety regulations were severely warned by Health Authorities of the Dehiwela-Mt. Lavinia during raids on more than 110 business establishments including hotels, groceries, meat stalls, supermarkets, restaurants and snack bars in Ratmalana and Mount Lavinia areas.
Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr Indika Ellawala said a team of officers carried out the raid on public complaints against traders dealing in the supply of food, who did not pay attention to the sanitary state of their hotels, bakeries and catering services.
He said the MOH had organised a series of raids to upgrade the supply of food to the consumers in a sanitary manner and to save them from unscrupulous traders.
Dr Ellawala said in several hotels, beef, chicken, and fish had been stored with other food items including ice cream and desserts.
He said a stock of used cooking oil, which had not been discarded, raw potatoes and rice infested with worms and weevils, a stock of kottu roti, mushroom, rotten big onion, expired soft drinks, biscuits and cooked meals unfit for human consumption were destroyed.
Dr Ellawala said food had been stored without any concern about the sanitary regulations in rooms which were infested with rats, cockroaches, flies, and geckoes while the kitchens in several hotels had not been cleaned for a long time.
“It was shocking to find that vegetables and herbs were washed with water brought from toilets adjacent to the kitchen. The workers in hotels were wearing dirty clothes and most of them were not physically fit for employment as hotel workers,” he said.
The businessmen who violated the food safety regulations and sanitary regulations were severely warned and instructed to improve the standard of their business premises and to inform through area PHIs for further inspection and failing to do so would result in legal action against them.
Dr Ellawala said a large stock of outdated flour was found in one of the bakeries and it was destroyed with the consent of the businessman and legal action taken against him.
He said the caterers were warned that it was a misconception that the public was gullible to any thrash and that they should strictly adhere to food safety regulations to avoid public complaints.
Municipal Medical Officer Dr K. Wickremesinghe, Administrative PHI Lalith Wasantha Perera, Colombo Head PHI, Ratmalana area H.S. Caldera, area PHIs R.P.T.S. Rajapakse, D.J.S.M. Kumaratunga, H.G.N.C.B. Meegahakotuwa, and G.H. Chandana carried out the raids on the instructions of DHS Colombo Dr A.I. Jagoda, Municipal Commissioner Sunil Galagama and CMOH Dr Indika Ellawala.