Health Ministry raids food outlets

By Dasun Edirisinghe

The Health Ministry yesterday launched raids on food outlets, as the highest number of food poisoning cases are reported during the festive season year in year out.

The raids which commenced from Maradana would be continued for the next seven days, Director General of Health Services Dr. Palitha Maheepala said.

He said that inspectors had visited nearly 150 food outlets around Maradana and found that 99 percent of them sold food items unfit for human consumption.

The Consumer Affairs Authority and Public Health Department of the Colombo Municipal Council also joined the raids. "We checked the food stores and those who prepare the food," Dr. Maheepala said, adding that some persons were not fit to even prepare foods for animals.

Some stalls used weeks old rotti to make kottu rotti while the oil used to fry Chinese rolls, fish, chicken, papadam, etc. was used to make Chilli paste, he said.

Dr. Maheepala said that rotten fruits were used to make fruit juice, while the hygiene of the equipment used to prepare food was ignored. "We filed legal action against those vendors and took samples of food for further investigation," he said.

Dr. Maheepala said that the ministry had set up a 24–hour special hotline for consumers to complain against such food outlets.

Consumers could contact the ministry via 0113071073, 0112676161 or 1977 around the clock and lodge a complaint, he said.

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