Walking the talk on kitchen hygiene, the University of Mumbai recently sent a committee of experts to inspect two canteens and a hostel mess at the Kalina campus. The panel members have ordered an overhaul of the kitchens.
A student from Garware Institute said, “They came with a civil engineer and inspected the poor kitchen management and food handling system here. They gave some offhand hygiene tips to the canteen management. But, an overhaul of the kitchen is needed to ensure that the food is safe.”
The four-member team also visited the canteen of the distance education department and a mess at the Savitribai Phule Girls’ Hostel.
One of the experts said the kitchen at the mess in the girls’ hostel was comparatively better than the two other places and students there had no complaints either. “But the distance education department’s kitchen needs a makeover. We have ordered the civil engineer to make more platforms and a sink, fix cracks and repaint the kitchen.”
According to the member, cracks in the kitchen pose a major threat to hygiene as many bacteria and fungi can grow in them and can, thus, contaminate food.
Mridul Nile, director of students’ welfare and a canteen committee member, said, “We are aware that all our kitchens are too old and lack the right infrastructure to maintain food safety and hygiene. The food handlers are also illiterate. But we are trying to fix everything one by one. We will be organising a training session for all food handlers on January 14.”
A committee member, who is associated with a hospitality institute, said, “University kitchens have their own set of problems. We can’t transform them overnight. We are preparing a report based on our observations. The report will be submitted to the vice-chancellor soon.”
The expert committee, formed after DNA’s awareness campaigns, had recently conducted similar inspections at two hostel messes and pulled up the mess managers for poor food hygiene measures. Since then, contractors of both the kitchens have pulled up their socks. The warden of one of the hostels has also been changed.