Sale of organ meat, uncovered food goes unchecked in Kashmir.


In absence of government control and check, the sale of unhygienic organ meat, chickens and uncovered foods is widespread across Kashmir valley, posing threat to peopleÔÇÖs health.


At Batamaloo, there are many small-scale artisanal butchers, who keep a stock of the animal organs like heart, liver, tongue, brains and hooves and sell these in unhygienic condition.
In absence of a proper sanitation, cockroaches, flies, and bees could be seen swarming on the organs of animalsÔÇöhigh in vitamins and nutrientsÔÇöthat are ultimately consumed as foods by a large number of people in Kashmir.

Farooq Ahmad, a student from Kupwara, said he was shocked in Batamaloo when he asked a vendor for an animal liver.

ÔÇ£I refused to take it, as it was bitten by bees. It can cause health problems if one eats it in such unsanitary conditions,ÔÇØ he said.

Ahmad said the unprecedented urban growth has caused a rise in the installation of kiosk who sell animal organs while authorities are not bothered about human health.
Saeda Begum of Rawalpora, who had come to get meat at Batamaloo, said there are no checks on uncovered chickens and unhygienic foods being sold in the market.
ÔÇ£It is not uncommon to see flies perching on displayed roadside food items but the authorities are mute spectators,ÔÇØ she said.

ÔÇ£Passing vehicles garnish them (flies) with dust and smoke from exhaust fumes. Nobody is doing anything to control the situation,ÔÇØ she said, adding, ÔÇ£It is better not to bring such food, better is to avoid them. The mess needs to be looked at carefully. There are norms and rules but no enforcement,ÔÇØ said Begum.

Inhabitants of Rainawari complained that there are slaughterhouses and meat shops inviting honey bees and flies causing trouble to them.
Many people to whom Rising Kashmir spoke said the oil used to fry snacks by vendors is being re-used and turns black, causing several health problems.
ÔÇ£Wrapping of snacks and food items in newspapers by street vendors is also uncontrolled. Newspapers contain bio-active materials with are known to have negative health effects,ÔÇØ said Junaid, a customer.
The roadside tea stalls near hospitals and in markets are blatantly resorting to unhygienic practices and use adulterated water to prepare tea and food.

Ghulam Mohammad, an attendant at Bone & Joints Hospital, Barzulla said the food stalls outside the hospital are very dirty.

ÔÇ£Broken and rusty utensils are used to prepare food. Due to dirt, plastic jugs and glasses have turned black. Filthy clothes are seen hanging at their stalls inviting flies,ÔÇØ he said while cursing the tea stall owners.

Despite all these issues, the Food and Drug Control Organization is yet to crack a whip on the vendors who are selling unhygienic food.

Interestingly, the authorities hold drives but only on special occasions like Eid-al-Fitr and Eid-al-Adha and forget about it rest of the year. However, Assistant Commissioner, Food Safety, Srinagar, Hilal A Mir pitched for a separate vending zone which could help them to end the mess.
ÔÇ£Yesterday, we held a drive and threw away unhygienic organ meat and food items but they have again installed their stalls,ÔÇØ he said.
Mir said if there is a separate vending zone that can help the department to put checks on illegal practices. He added, ÔÇ£Then we can enforce the law.ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£We have challaned many of them after they were found not maintaining hygiene. We canÔÇÖt stop this kind of practice. The government should make separate vending zone permitted under the Food Safety Act. We are continuously holding drives,ÔÇØ he said.

Mir also vowed to hold drives at hospitals, where stall owners are flouting food safety norms.
ÔÇ£We have sealed some canteens in hospitals and colleges also,ÔÇØ he said.

Author: Mansoor Peer
Source: Rising Kashmir

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