By Firdous Hassan
Srinagar, Mar 19: At least two quintals of stale fish were seized by the Food Safety Department on Monday from shopkeepers and vendors in various Srinagar markets.
Assistant Food Safety Commissioner, Hilal Ahmad Mir, told The Kashmir Monitor that majority of the vendors and shops they inspected were at Batamaloo, Maharaja Bazar, and Hari Singh High Street.
He said all the fish, weighing two quintals, were destroyed on the spot.
“All the fish sellers were warned to sell only fresh fish, failing which they would be dealt with sternly under the Food Safety and Standard Act,” he said.
Mir said that majority of these vendors and shopkeepers were caught mixing stale fish with the fresh stocks to deceive the customers.
“Such kinds of fish can prove hazardous to health. In the coming days the drive will be intensified by our inspection teams throughout Srinagar markets,” he said.
Assistant Food Safety Commissioner said that they have issued a helpline number for people to register complaints against unhygienic food stores or shops.
“General public is requested that in case of any complaint regarding the quality of food items,” he said.
Assistant Food Commissioner said a local fish shop was also sealed for failing to adhere to the guidelines of setting up an individual cold chain.
The department earlier this month issued March 15 as deadline to the fish and chicken dealers for procuring refrigerated vans and setting up cold storage to keep the food hygienic.
“We sealed one shop at Maharaja Bazar for not setting up requisite cold chain and the shop too was under dilapidated condition,” he said.
“Any food business operator found selling imported food items without requisite food chain or refrigerated vans will be closed henceforth. We have given them multiple warnings so far,” Mir added.
Food Safety Department earlier said apprehension towards unhygienic imported fish and dressed chicken would grow with the increase in the temperature.
“It takes these dealers enough time to transport the chicken from New Delhi to Srinagar. So, as temperature increases, there may be chances that it will be infected if it is not transported in refrigerated vans,” he said.