Biryani from roadside vendors in Kolkata could become a health hazard during the Puja.
To tackle this menace, the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) has started a surprise food safety drive in which many owners of Biryani stalls in the city have been warned.
They have been told to improve the quality of their food before Saptami otherwise action will be taken against them.
KMC’s health department team on Thursday found street food stalls in and around large Puja pandals in North Kolkata selling substandard food items.
KMC authorities had planned the drive long ago, keeping in mind the health of thousands of pandal hoppers who depend on street food.
KMC food inspectors also took food samples from some restaurants located near famous Puja pandals.
“We have warned many food stall owners. If they do not improve the quality of food that they are selling, strong action will be taken,” said a KMC official, adding the surprise drive has been planned to check samples of fast food being sold along Bidhan Sarani, College Street, Shyambazar and Gariahat.
The KMC health department team has been divided into eight groups for this drive. The civic food inspectors found biryani in majority of roadside stalls unhealthy for consumption.
The yellow colour that the food vendors are mixing in biryani makes the popular food adulterated.
The KMC teams collected samples from the roadside stalls and found them to have artificial colouring, which is not permitted under the food safety guidelines. The KMC teams will again visit these stalls in the remaining days of the Puja to check whether the stall owners have conformed to the rules and prepared the right kind of biryani.
Besides the roadside stalls, samples of biryani were also collected from some well-known restaurants in Hatibagan area.
The KMC team will visit some of these restaurants again on Friday and hand over food safety guidelines to the owners. Apart from biryani, other food items from fast food stalls were tested on the spot.
They destroyed bottles of tomato sauce which were found to be highly adulterated and have asked the roadside snack stalls to stop using these sauces. The KMC team of food inspectors will visit food stalls in some other Puja pandals in North and South Kolkata during this week.