‘Outlet sells insect infested sweets in designer boxes’
Srinagar: The authority has caught Nathu Sweets red handed selling expired and utterly unhygienic sweets.
The people who have been relishing the Nathu brand sweets are shocked after authority found it selling expired and unhygienic edibles on Tuesday
Nathu Sweets has a chain of outlets in India that sells sweets across the country having atleast one or two franchises in almost each State.
The higher officials of Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) today raided one of the franchises of Nathu Sweets here in Dalgate at Boulevard along with Municipal Magistrate Judge Khursheed-ul-Islaam following the complaints made by locals.
The authority discovered that sweets were being prepared in filthy, unhygienic conditions in gross violation of rules. The insects and pests harmful for human consumption were found in bulk quantity there.
“We received a lot of complaints against Nathu Sweets and after inspecting the storage of the shop, we found that there were lot of insects in the flour that was being used to prepare the sweets which are later packed in the designer boxes to make them appealing,” SMC Health Officer Dr Rubeena Shaheen told Rising Kashmir.
She added that the area where the eatables were being prepared was full of insects, with many of the insects sitting on material to be used in sweets.
The hygiene was not maintained and the kitchen was the filthiest place where eatables were prepared, she said.
“Also, the personal hygiene of workers was questionable and there was no provision to cover the material which was stored in dirty containers, flour was stored in open containers and drums which is a serious health hazard,” Rubeena Shaheen added.
The department also raided various food establishments across the city but the Nathu Sweet among them was found violating Food Safety Act.
Moreover, rusted containers were also seized in Raj Bagh area from various food establishments and were also challaned on the spot.
According to officials, a piece of delicious sweet or a lavish dish one might consume after paying a good sum, can in fact, turn out to be a grave health hazard if there is unrestrained adulteration, and poor hygienic conditions of the kitchens.
The locals are of opinion that the danger to the health of people due to the consumption of adulterated and poor quality sweets, confectionary and other food items, has reached to alarming proportions.
“It has become tough to decide whether to go for buying the bakery items, sweets and other edibles or not. One can really fall for decorative packaging of items but who knows what actually we are buying,” one of locals of Dalgate Mudasir Lone said.
If doctors in various hospitals here are to be believed, due to long gap between the preparation of sweets and their consumption, coupled with poor quality of inputs and unhygienic conditions prevailing in most of the stores and kitchens of bakery cum sweet shops, the consumption of such food items can lead to serious gastric disorders and, at times, even cancer of the intestines.
A majority of the people from different walks of life whom Rising Kashmir spoke to on this subject were of the opinion that the so-called procedure of sample taking from sweet shops and other eating joints was a mere eye wash.
“Why do the officials only target small venders while the big sharks continue to thrive, challenging and arresting one or two shop owners will not help, the SMC should wake up and do something concrete. All the diseases prevailing in Kashmir are due to adulterated food sold in the market,” another local from city’s downtown area Basharat Ali said.
Pertinent to mention here that last year, the authority claimed to have saved people from food adulteration and had also vowed to make new rules to clamp down on the mafia manufacturing bakery products and sweets in unhygienic conditions, but very little has so far been done to implement the new rules.
Khursheed-ul-Islaam said, “The owners have been prosecuted. The violators will be given punishment. The punishment will be of two types, either we will arrest them or the owners will be challaned.”
“Today, we seized all the expired and unhygienic products that the Nathu Sweet was using,” he added.