VIP restaurants in city above the law

By Dilanthi Jayamanne

The Colombo City Public Health Department yesterday alleged that there were restaurants in the city opened without trade licenses.

Chief of the Public Health Department, Dr. Pradeep Kariyawasam alleged that some of those restaurants were opened by well known public figures. However, the few international food establishments ensured that all required documentation was in hand including the trade license before operating.

Dr. Kariyawasam said that obtaining the trade license called for building and fire approval, medical examination of food handlers and their registration with the local authority, approved water supply and garbage disposal methods and food and water approved by the city analyst. Last year there were approximately 350 hotels and restaurants which operated without trade licenses while this year from the beginning of the year till date 150 had been identified.

Meanwhile the PHD commenced inspections of star grade food establishments for grading. Acting Food Inspector Lal Kumara said that the criteria for grading was more stricter than the last time. The PHD would assess the suppliers of food items such as raw meat, dairy products, vegetables and fruits to ensure the quality and the use of proper transportation methods.

Lal Kumara said that the PHD would assess food establishments from the reception area to their kitchens, while special attention would be paid to available food storage facilities and methods of storage (separation of meat, cooked and uncooked food, dairy products and fruits and vegetables) being followed, the kitchen utensils being used (ex. the cutting boards should be of different colours so as to minimise the possibilities of contamination, separate knives etc) food and water samples, sanitation facilities and the hygienic condition of food handlers would all be scrutinized.

The grade ‘A plus’ would be awarded to those establishments which scored over 90 marks, he said.

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