The High Court of Kerala initiated a suo motu Public Interest Litigation on food safety concerns, after reports surfaced in the media about the death of a 16 year-old girl and the hospitalisation of at least 57 others, alleged due to food poisoning from consumption of shawarma.
BRIEF FACTS OF THE CASE: The PIL was initiated suo moto by the High Court of Kerala after reports surfaced in the media about the death of a 16 year-old girl and the hospitalisation of at least 57 others, alleged due to food poisoning from consumption of shawarma from a particular eatery in Kasargod district of Kerala. The Court ordered the High Court Registry to register and number the suo motu PIL, with the Government of Kerala, represented by the Secretary, Health & Family Welfare Department, Thiruvananthapuram, as the initial respondent
ORDER: The court emphasised on the enforcement of the 2006 Food Safety and Standards Act since there was a rise in popularity of food items like shawarma which is alleged to have caused food poisoning in many cases. The Court remarked that the State Commissioner of Food Safety is vested with the duty to implement and ensure the efficient implementation of food safety, its standards and other requirements under the Act, as also the Rules and Regulations under it. As per investigation, pathogenic salmonella detected in pepper powder kept in the eatery was the reason for the girl’s death. The samples collected were certified ‘unsafe’ under the Food Safety and Standards Act. Investigation revealed that the restaurant was functioning without necessary licences. It was sealed following the girl’s death. Those arrested have been booked under Sections 304 308 & 272 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
JUDGEMENT REVIEWED BY – AMRUTHA K