The recent carcass scam has dealt a blow to the sale of meat-based items across the city and its surrounding areas, prompting the hotels and restaurants to take immediate measures to reinstate confidence among the food aficionados. Sudesh Poddar, the president of the Hotel and Restaurant Association of Eastern India (HRAEI), has issued an advisory asking its members to procure meat and poultry from registered vendors. “Members are hereby advised to procure meat and poultry from reputed vendors who have FSSAI licence and corporation trade licence. Preference should be given to suppliers having ISO 9001 and HACCP certification,” the HRAEI circular said. The police last week busted a racket involved in supplying decomposed meat from dumping grounds to restaurants in and around the city. They seized nearly 20 tonne of rotten meat, meant to be supplied to restaurants, from a cold storage in central Kolkata.
The HRAEI members have called for a meeting this weekend to discuss ways to cope with this crisis, Poddar said, adding that the restaurants should be able to assure the customers that the food served to them are safe, he said. “Many of our member restaurants are getting the raw supplies checked in their own labs. We are also thinking about taking help from the state-run laboratories for testing the supplies,” he explained. Admitting that there has been a 30% drop in demand for non-vegetarian items, the HRAEI Assistant Secretary General Atikram Gupta said, “Footfall has remained the same in different hotels and restaurants as customers are opting for fish and vegetarian items instead of meat,” he said. Over the past few days, 10 people, including a leader of a political outfit, have been arrested in connection with meat scam. The state government has set up a special investigation team (SIT) to examine the issue.