Haul of rotten potatoes, onions seized from wholesalers in Pettah


The Public Health Department of the Colombo MC yesterday detected a large quantity of rotten potatoes and onions during a raid carried out in Fourth Cross Street and Maliban Street in Pettah. A lorry loaded with the rotten items earmarked for destruction. (Pic by Saman Abesiriwardana)

By Dilanthi Jayamanne

A massive stock of rotten potatoes and onions was detected in Pettah during a raid carried out by the Public Health Department of the Colombo MC.

Acting Food Inspector of the PHD, Lal Kumara said that the raid had been carried out on a tip-off received by his outfit under the instructions of the Chief MOH, Dr. Ruwan Wijayamuny. The PHD had detected 5,000 kilos of potatoes and 6,000 kilos of onions unfit for human consumption at Fourth Cross and Maliban Streets, he said.

Kumara said that the owners of the wholesale shops had insisted that the stocks were being kept for destruction. However, there were natamis (porters) who took them and sorted them out to be retailed in small shops and on the pavement. These food items were purchased by small scale restaurants and eateries which cut off the rotten parts, Kumara said.  

The Acting Food Inspector said that the wholesale dealers had been warned that legal action would be taken against them.

Subsequently, the traders had admitted that the stocks were for sale, Kumara said. But, they had agreed to have the stocks destroyed. There was a provision in the Food Act which allowed owners who agree to have such low quality food items destroyed to go without penalty.

 Kumara said, however, that legal action would be taken against them for storing such food items.

 The items were destroyed at the Meethotamulla Garbage Dump. Kumara appealed to the public to call the PHD hotline on 0112676161 to inform of similar incidents. Their anonymity would be maintained, he assured.

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