‘Human finger in ice cream, cockroach in IRCTC food’: Recent incidents spark food safety concerns in India

Recent incidents across India involving dead insects and other contaminants found in food have highlighted serious lapses in hygiene standards.

Livemint
First Published21 Jun 2024, 09:24 AM IST
Recent incidents underscore a serious breach in food safety standards across different sectors, prompting widespread alarm among consumers. (Photo by Manjunath Kiran / AFP) (Representative Image)
Recent incidents underscore a serious breach in food safety standards across different sectors, prompting widespread alarm among consumers. (Photo by Manjunath Kiran / AFP) (Representative Image)(AFP)

In a series of alarming incidents across India, serious lapses in food safety have come to light, sparking outrage among consumers. From finding cockroaches and frozen centipedes in meals to the horrific discovery of a human finger in ice cream, these incidents highlight a glaring lack of oversight and responsibility by authorities and food delivery services.

Government-regulated services such as mid-day meals and railway catering have not been immune, with dead insects and snakes found in meals. These incidents underscore a severe breach in food safety standards across different sectors, prompting widespread alarm among consumers.

Here is a list of recent records where food safety became no less than a nightmarish tale.

Snake found in dinner served at government engineering college mess in Bihar

Students at a government engineering college in Banka, Bihar, raised the alarm after discovering what appeared to be snake pieces in their dinner served at the college mess.

A photograph taken by students at the mess captured what appeared to be a snake tail in the food.

According to reports, at least 11 students fell ill shortly after consuming the contaminated food, showing symptoms of nausea and vomiting. They were promptly hospitalised and are recovering.

Cockroach in IRCTC veg thali

In a recent case, a passenger received an IRCTC veg thali containing a live cockroach. Several social media users shared similar experiences of finding dead cockroaches in IRCTC meals. The recurring issue has consistently drawn criticism regarding the hygiene standards of meals served on trains.

Cockroach found in IRCTC veg thali. (Photo: Reddit)
Cockroach in food
byu/Aggravating-Wrap-266 inindianrailways

Frozen centipede found in Amul ice cream

A Noida resident named Deepa had a shocking experience after ordering a family pack of ice cream online, only to discover a centipede inside the package. She captured the unsettling discovery in a video and shared it on social media, where it rapidly garnered widespread attention.

The video showed the centipede frozen within the ice cream package, highlighting concerns over product quality and safety in online food purchases.

Amul, renowned for its extensive range of dairy products, including milk, cheese, paneer, yoghurt, lassi, and ice cream, faced scrutiny as such occurrences are not typical for the well-established brand.

Mumbai doctor finds human finger in ice cream

In Mumbai's Malad, a 26-year-old doctor discovered a piece of a human finger inside an ice cream cone ordered online. The doctor reported the incident to the Malad police station and registered a case against the Yummo ice cream company.

The incident occurred on Wednesday, June 12, when the complainant ordered a butterscotch ice cream cone from Yummo company in Pune. While consuming the ice cream after lunch, he came across a half-an-inch-long piece of flesh with a nail on it.

Mumbai: Employee seen cleaning drain with food frying net

A viral video circulating on social media has stirred controversy around Mumbai restaurant Istanbul Darbar. Shared by journalist Siraj Noorani, the video shows an employee of the restaurant in Kurla West using what appears to be a food frying net to clean drain gunk. 

In response to the video, the restaurant owner clarified that the kitchen equipment shown is intended for cleaning drains, not food preparation, as initially perceived. Despite this explanation, the video has raised scepticism and prompted the journalist to warn against consuming fried food at the restaurant.

Delhi: Eight cockroaches found in dosa at Madras Coffee House

In March, at Delhi's Madras Coffee House, a disturbing incident occurred when a woman, Ishani, ordered a plain dosa and was horrified to find several black spots on it, which turned out to be cockroaches.

She said that the restaurant owner attempted to intimidate her by asking for her address and failed to produce the restaurant's license when questioned by the police.

Cockroach found in Vande Bharat food

A social media user, Vidit Varshney, on X, shared a troubling incident involving the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) during a journey from Bhopal to Agra on the Vande Bharat Express. According to Varshney, his uncle and aunt were served a meal on the train, where they discovered a cockroach.

Dead mouse in Hershey’s chocolate syrup found by Zepto customer

Ordering food or groceries online also comes with risks, as highlighted by incidents where consumers have encountered unexpected items in their orders.

Recently, a customer named Prami Sridhar, who ordered a bottle of Hershey’s chocolate syrup via Zepto, reportedly discovered a dead mouse inside the bottle. This incident underscores the potential drawbacks of online shopping, where such unexpected and unpleasant surprises can occur despite efforts to ensure product quality and safety.

Snake found in mid-day meal in West Bengal

In January, a disturbing incident unfolded in West Bengal's Birbhum district. A snake was found in the mid-day meal provided to school students. Reports indicated that approximately 30 students from a primary school in Mayureswar block fell ill after consuming the meal, which allegedly contained the snake.

The incident led to the hospitalisation of several children, highlighting serious concerns about food safety and hygiene standards in school meal programmes.

What do FSSAI regulations say?

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is a statutory body established under the Food Safety and Standards Act of 2006 and operates under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

According to the FSSAI, insects or other foreign matter in food products are a serious concern related to food safety and hygiene.

Legal Standards: FSSAI sets legal standards and regulations for food safety in India. Finding a dead insect in packaged food, or any other deviation from these standards, violates these regulations.

Consumer Complaints: If a consumer finds a dead insect or any foreign matter in food, they are encouraged to report it to the FSSAI or the local food safety authorities. FSSAI takes such complaints seriously and investigates to ensure compliance with food safety standards.

Product Recall or Withdrawal: Depending on the severity and extent of the issue, FSSAI may require the concerned manufacturer or distributor to recall or withdraw the affected product from the market to prevent further consumer exposure.

Penalties and Enforcement: Non-compliance with FSSAI regulations, including the presence of contaminants in food, can lead to penalties such as fines, product recalls, and even legal action against the responsible parties.

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First Published:21 Jun 2024, 09:24 AM IST
HomeNewsIndia‘Human finger in ice cream, cockroach in IRCTC food’: Recent incidents spark food safety concerns in India

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