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Food dept grappling with dearth of over 200 food inspectors

New Delhi: The Food Department of Delhi government is facing a serious dearth of food inspectors, with only 56 food inspectors available to oversee the mammoth task of inspecting the over 50,000 eateries in the capital.
There is virtually no guarantee that the food bought by people from a majority of Delhi outlets in safe for consumption.
According to a source in the Department of Food Supplies and Consumer Affairs, there is not enough manpower to conduct regular inspections of the city's mushrooming sweet shops, restaurants and other units.
Against the sanctioned posts of 273 inspectors, the Department has only 56 food inspectors keeping an eye on Delhi's eateries.
Food inspectors are responsible for enforcing health codes in establishments that make and serve consumables.
This includes not just restaurants, but even retailers such as supermarkets and manufacturing plants, such as meat packing factories and dairy processing plants.
The shortage of food inspection staff came to the fore last year, when just 945 samples were taken from eateries, of which 112 were found not conforming to standards.
In 2015, the Department picked up 1,680 samples.
An official said, "Food inspectors have the power to check any five star hotel or eatery, which can be shut down for 15 days on a single order of the food commissioner. Once these food inspectors are recruited, we will pick as many food samples as we can. The Department aims to lift at least 10,000 food samples last year."
Sources said the Department gets hundreds of food-related complaints each month and about 10 to 12 in a week, which get doubled during festive seasons.
"Milk and dairy products become top food items to be scanned," said the official, adding that "Delhi has 50,000 food outlets, including five-star hotels, restaurants and dhabas.."
"Apart from these, the department keeps a close watch on vegetable mandis, grocery stores and street food vendors."
The official said surprise raids at joints would be a continuous process from now and stricter action would be taken against offenders.
The Department also assists the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India in various projects too.
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