The district administration of the federal capital sealed off Serena Hotel’s kitchen, bakery and food storage area earlier yesterday because of unhygienic conditions.
According to the ICT administration, the raiding team headed by Assistant Commissioner retired Captain Waqas Rashid found unhealthy food items, rotting raw vegetables and expired bakery products.
Deputy Commissioner Islamabad, Mushtaq Ahmed said the raiding team had found chefs preparing food without hair nets and gloves. “One cook was making food with a wound on his hand.”
The ICT administration’s official Facebook page claims there were no expiry dates on mineral water cans and some bottles lay without caps in dirty surroundings outside the kitchen. It says food handlers were not vaccinated nor were they medically examined.
A report on the Facebook page says frozen chicken with expiry dates for up to a year was brought from Lahore against ‘grave violation of health safety, hygiene laws’ and that inadequate drainage arrangements had caused stagnant water accumulations on the floor.
The report says all expired items and the rotting vegetables and fruits had been sent for chemical testing.
Azam Jamil, Serena Hotel’s corporate director, rejected the team’s findings, saying that Serena is a member of ‘Leading Hotels of the World (LHW)’, and maintains a high standard of cleanliness and food.
However, Mr Jamil admitted that some cooks were not wearing hair nets. When asked about the frozen chicken, he said their expiry dates were clearly stamped on them and that because they see a lot of diners, chicken does not last more than 10 days in their stores.
He said reports of one of the cooks working with a burn on his hand was also not true. “He got burned a month back. The wound is now healed. He was allowed to work after a medical checkup,” adding there was now just a red scar on his hand.