KATHMANDU: Government officials, in association with consumer rights defenders and journalists, today conducted surprise checks at a number of sweet shops in the Valley. The initiative came in the wake of public outrage over the rampant sale of coloured foodstuffs during the festive season.
According to the Department of Commerce, initial round of checks were focused on Thapathali and Tripureshwor areas, the chief sweets market places.
“We looked into nine sweet marts and restaurants. None of them was found to be abiding by Food Regulation, 1970,” informed Tika Prasad Bhandari, deputy secretary, DoC. Ram Bhandar, Shree Ram Bhandar, Tan Ruy Restaurant, Indreni Kawab, Kumari Sweets, Panjabi Restaurant, Sajan Goth, Black Sea Restaurant and Bagmati Sweets were checked for irregularities.
“The kitchen hygiene of sweet shops and restaurants was found poor. We have given them 15 days to improve the situation. Many kitchens were close to the toilet and in a dilapidated condition,” said Bhandari. Pramod Koirala, senior food researcher, Department of Food Technology and Quality Control, explained that kitchen hygiene and food safety are interrelated. Some samples of coloured sweets have been collected for lab test to ascertain if they are harmful.
“The kitchen should be bacteria-free for the sake of hygienic food. Cleanliness and hygienic practice will also help prevent food poisoning,” he said.
What’s worse, majority of sweet shops and restaurants are operating without renewed licenses. Neither are they displaying the price list. The inspection is said to continue for an indefinite period.