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Licence must for eateries

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Weeks after two renowned restaurants in the Salt Lake-New Town area were caught serving unsafe food, the corporation has decided to enforce food licences on eateries to keep a check on quality.

Previously entrepreneurs looking to start a restaurant could get away buy procuring simply a trade licence from Bidhannagar Municipal Corporation. But now the authorities have made the food licence mandatory too.

“The food licence was long overdue,” said mayoral council member in charge of health Pronoy Roy. “After the carcass meat scandal, we conducted raids in various eateries and some reputable restaurants failed to meet the standards. If they don’t follow norms, how can we expect the smaller ones to do so?”

“From now on any restaurant with annual turnover of Rs 12 lakh and more will need a food licence. Those earning less (who may not even have trade licences) will still need still to register themselves,” mayor Sabyasachi Dutta said. The licence costs Rs 2,000 a year.

At a meeting convened at Poura Bhavan, 53 restaurant owners, who were granted the licence, were shown video clips explaining various safety and hygiene precautions they need to follow. These included storing, cleaning, processing and preservation measures.

“While these are precautionary measures, the raids are an on-going process that will continue through the year,” a health official said.

Chowman and Oudh 1590 managing director Debaditya Chaudhury welcomed the enforcement. “This will ensure standardisation of food. With the raids and the collection of samples happening, restaurants are learning how to preserve ingredients and serve food. This way customers will be assured of hygienic food,” he said.

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