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Karnataka govt launches crackdown on eateries selling ‘unhygienic’ shawarma

The Karnataka Food Safety Department has taken stringent actions following the discovery of bacteria and yeast in shawarma samples collected across the state. The presence of these harmful microorganisms has raised significant health concerns, prompting the department to implement strict regulations and take legal action against non-compliant manufacturers.

Karnataka govt launches crackdown on eateries selling 'unhygienic' shawarma
First Published Jun 30, 2024, 1:10 PM IST

In an extensive investigation, the department collected 17 shawarma samples from various districts, including Bangalore Rural, Mysore, Tumkur, Hubli, Dharwad, Mangalore, Bellary, and Belgaum. Eight of these samples tested positive for bacteria and yeast, making them unfit for human consumption. We attribute the contamination to poor hygiene practices during preparation, improper storage, and a lack of sanitation during distribution.
The Food Safety and Quality Commissioner has issued a stern warning to shawarma makers, emphasizing the importance of adhering to food safety regulations. All shawarma manufacturers are required to:

  • Make sure fresh shawarma is prepared and sold on a daily basis. 
  • Obtain and display the mandatory FSSAI registration and license at their business premises. 
  • Maintain high standards of hygiene throughout the food preparation and distribution process.
  • We also urge the public to only buy shawarma from vendors registered with the FSSAI.

In addition to the shawarma contamination issue, the department has banned the use of artificial colours in food items such as gobi and kebabs. This decision comes after the discovery of unsafe artificial coloring in various street foods, which poses a significant health risk to consumers.
In a significant policy shift, Karnataka has decided to ban street vendors from outside the state. This decision aims to protect local traders and ensure food safety. The move comes in response to complaints about the excessive use of artificial colours by out-of-state vendors and demands from the Town Trade Committee to prioritise local traders.

The BBMP will conduct a comprehensive survey of out-of-state street vendors starting from July 1. Vendors will be required to provide identity proof, such as an Aadhaar, ration, or voter card, to continue their business after the survey. They will implement this regulation statewide, already in force in Mysore, to ensure that only compliant vendors operate in Karnataka.
The ban on out-of-state traders is expected to have a significant impact on the thousands of migrant street vendors who have been operating in Karnataka. The government’s decision aims to create a safer food environment and provide more opportunities for local traders.

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