Hotel management

Hotel in Arani closed after locals complained of rat’s head in food parcel

A vegetarian restaurant near the old bus terminus in Arani near here has been sealed off by district food security officers after complaints that a rat’s head was found in a parcel of food bought from the hotel a few days ago.

The action by food safety officials came after the collector, B. Murugesh, temporarily revoked the hotel’s license and ordered the district food safety department to seal the hotel. Immediately, a team of Food Safety Officers led by AR Ramakrishnan, District Food Safety Officer (DFSO), Tiruvannamalai, issued a temporary license cancellation notice to hotel management and sealed the establishment.

“We have taken food samples from the hotel which are in the process of being tested. However, in view of public safety, we have taken the hotel out of service,” Mr Ramakrishnan told The Hindu.

Food Safety Department officials said it was the fourth such incident in Arani town since last year (2021). Such incidents mainly occur due to the lack of adequate food security officers in the district. Compared to the sanctioned complement of six officers, only three officers are available to monitor more than 2,500 hotels and restaurants in the district. The temple town of Tiruvannamalai alone has more than 1,500 hotels and restaurants as the town is a center of pilgrimage.

It was Monday when R. Murali (45), a resident of Gandhi Nagar, ordered 35 packages of vegetarian meals for an evening of condolence. When one of the guests opened the package, he reportedly found a rat’s head in beet fries as the food was served. Hotel management was notified by phone, but they refused to come to the event location and inspect.

Immediately, family members rushed to the restaurant with the food and argued with hotel management. Based on an alert, Arani City Police personnel attended the scene. Police notified food security officers, who inspected the hotel and took food samples for testing. A case was filed by the Arani City Police.

Last September (2021), a 10-year-old girl, A. Loshini, died and 29 others were hospitalized after consuming chicken biryani from a hotel in Arani due to food poisoning.