File photo for representation | Photo: Mathrubhumi
Thiruvananthapuram: The state Health Department has made health cards mandatory from February 1 for all employees in all establishments related to cooking, distribution and sale of food in Kerala.
Health Minister Veena George said the Food Safety Department and Health inspectors will start inspecting hotels, restaurants and other places where food is being cooked or distributed for cleanliness and health cards.
"The health card is mandatory for all staff at all the establishments in the state that are associated with cooking, distributing and sale of food. The cleanliness and the health card will be inspected by the officials at regular intervals and stern action will be taken against violators," Minister's office said in a statement.
The health certificate of the employees, obtained from a doctor should be kept in the establishment itself, it said.
Those handling food in all establishments need to obtain the health cards certifying that they are not suffering from any contagious diseases, infections or have any open wounds.
Earlier, the state government had banned the sale of food materials without "best before label".
"From February 1, strict action will be taken against those who fail to distribute food without such labels carrying details including date of cooking, packing and the best before date and time in the label," the statement said.
The decisions were part of the state government's intensified campaign against restaurants and eateries selling adulterated food.
The state has been witnessing a spike in such food poisoning incidents for quite some time.
Recently, a nurse, Rashmi, working at the Kottayam medical college lost her life after consuming a dish from the eatery there late in December.
In the wake of the food poisoning incidents being reported from the state, the Health department had come out with instructions for eateries, like having licence and registration and maintaining hygiene, cleanliness.
The Minister had said that a hygiene rating system was being implemented for hotels and a mobile app would be launched this month for consumers to upload photos and videos with regard to the food bought in an eatery is fresh and the ambience in the outlet clean.