Nagpur: Nagpur foodies were shocked when photos emerged of a dead baby lizard in sambar served with wada at the ajni outlet of Haldiram Nagpur two days ago.
Initially, it was also ‘reported’ that the couple who consumed it were hospitalized.
FDA swung into action and rushed to inspect the said Haldiram premises. They found a few minor issues and advised rectification, pending which the eatery was to be closed.
It is re opening tomorrow with required permission.
NT felt that a lot of questions remained unanswered in this episode.
Consider the following facts:
All food items served in various Haldiram restaurants are made centrally at their factory and distributed in closed containers in their own food van.
NT has seen the factory ( with special permission). It is very sophisticated and cleaner. A lot of precautions are followed before anyone, even an employee, can enter.
But despite all this, if a lizard had made its way into the sambar at the factory end, consumers in all outlets would have suffered.
If the lizard had somehow ‘ contaminated’ the sambar at Ajni outlet, all previous customers who consumed this sambar would have suffered some food poisoning symptoms! The restaurant opens at 8 a.m. and sees a lot of customers for breakfast in the early hours. Sambar is served with all South Indian dishes like idlis, cosas, upma, wada etc. So lot if it had been served, and consumed without problem.
Then this group of 3 – 4 walks in at approximately 10.30 a.m. The couple orders sambar wada.
After eating some bites they notice the dead lizard.
Now the question is – a lizard is much bigger than a fly, a cockroach or any insect. If your sambar contained a lizard – even a baby lizard, wouldn’t you see it immediately, before you ate a bite??!
But this couple didn’t. Why not?
A logical doubt emerges that if they hadn’t eaten the sambar they wouldn’t suffer, or fear they would suffer poisoning! Now they had legitimate reason to raise a hue and cry…which they did!
Sources in Haldiram management said that they swung into action as soon as this ‘calamity’ was reported. They sent them to hospital immediately. For observation…so this was source of the ‘news’ that consumers were hospitalized.
After few hours observation, they were released, without needing to be treated.
But the most important point is that the man who taken his guests there, did not come forward and report the matter to FDA. No! He chose the underhand way of releasing the story on social media!!
” We suspect maladies intentions” says the Haldiram official. ” This was an attempt to tarnish our image or extort money. The customer began bargaining for ‘ the price of his silence immediately’ but we did not encourage him. We instead offered to take the supposedly affected persons to hospital at our cost.”
Not being allegedly gratified, the man did go public.
It is to be seen if the loyal Haldiram patrons fall for this whole story and Haldiram business gets affected.
” It is not as if we didn’t take the complaint seriously” says a Haldiram Manager in charge of food safety. ” A high level team looked into this whole matter whole day on Wednesday. We went over every possible way a lizard could have got into the premises. When there are no lizards to be seen in our restaurant or kitchen, how would it get into the sambar?”