College canteens across city operate without the Food Safety and Food Adulteration licences exposing students to health hazards
The colleges of Mumbai have developed excellent canteen facilities on their campuses to feed the perpetually hungry students, but many of them have been found lacking two very important licences to maintain cleanliness in the kitchen. Many college canteens have been running without the Food Safety and Food Adulteration licences issued by the health department of the BMC.
According to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) Act, it is necessary for a canteen to have two licences - registration under the Shops and Establishment Act, 1959, and BMC trade licence under the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954, which is now the Food Safety and Standard Act, 2006.
The Shops and Establishment registration is a licence given to the owner when the canteen is registered, whereas Food Safety and Food Adulteration licence is given by the health department of the BMC after checking the hygiene and maintenance of the kitchen along with the standard of food products and the eatables.
Pradeep Sawant, a senate member at the Mumbai University (MU), said “Most colleges hold the Shops and Establishments registration licence but do not hold the Food Safety and Food Adulteration license. This increases the risk of students falling prey to adulterated food. The University should soon sent an investigation team to track down these colleges.”In February 2012, the ADC had reported about three MU canteens in the Kalina Campus which were running without the food license. Only one canteen - Students' Canteen – had both the Shops and Establishments license and also the food license. After the report was published, the BMC raided the canteens and fined them for not holding the appropriate licences.
The ADC spoke to Dr Mrudul Nile, Department of Students' Welfare, MU, who said, “It is essential for college canteens to have both the Shops and Establishment as well as the Food Safety and Food Adulteration licences. The college management should also keep a check on the quality of food ingredients. Colleges should not allow canteen contractors to run the canteen without proper licence.”
Dr Padmaja Kesarkar, senior inspector of health at the BMC, said, “Colleges should have both the licences of food trade and health and should not risk the life of students. If colleges don't have these two licences, they should apply for them as soon as possible.”