Hyderabad Food Safety Concerns: Cockroach, Lizard Tail, and Hair Found in Biryani

Hyderabad Food Safety Concerns

In recent weeks, Hyderabad has been rattled by reports of shocking discoveries in its food establishments. From dead cockroaches to lizard tails and even locks of hair, these unsavory findings have sparked widespread concern and frustration among consumers.

This alarming trend sheds light on the persisting issue of unsanitary conditions in the city’s restaurants and street food stalls. It’s not an isolated incident but rather a recurring problem that underscores a significant gap in oversight and regulation.

The imbalance between the sheer number of eateries and the limited presence of Food Safety Officers (FSOs) is a major contributing factor. Despite a slight increase in the number of FSOs compared to a decade ago, the current count remains insufficient for a city as expansive and populous as Hyderabad.

According to the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) website, there are only 23 FSOs tasked with monitoring food establishments across the city’s 30 circles. This shortfall means that these officers are stretched thin, struggling to conduct thorough inspections and enforce compliance with food safety standards.

With a diverse array of food outlets, including restaurants, street vendors, and supermarkets, the workload on FSOs is overwhelming. As a result, routine inspections are often overlooked, and regulatory enforcement is lax, leaving gaps in the system that compromise food quality and safety.

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) mandates regular inspections of food establishments, but the shortage of manpower makes this a daunting task. Instead, authorities often rely on reactive measures, responding to complaints rather than proactively monitoring food safety standards.

Photo: Anand Dharmana


Compounding the issue are the numerous roadside stalls that operate outside the regulatory framework, largely unaware of or indifferent to food safety standards. This poses a significant health risk to consumers, increasing the likelihood of foodborne illnesses and other health hazards.

Efforts to address these concerns have been met with limited success. Despite repeated attempts to seek clarification from GHMC officials, responses have been elusive, highlighting a lack of transparency and accountability in addressing food safety issues.

In the absence of robust regulatory oversight, social media has emerged as a vital tool for concerned citizens to voice their grievances. Complaints raised on platforms like X (formerly Twitter), directed at GHMC and Assistant Food Controller accounts, have prompted swifter responses and action.

The prevalence of unsanitary conditions and substandard food quality in Hyderabad’s eateries underscores the urgent need for comprehensive reforms in food safety regulation and enforcement. Without meaningful intervention, consumers remain at risk, and the reputation of Hyderabad’s culinary scene hangs in the balance.


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