The food was served to the passengers around 8.30 pm, by when a few packets given to passengers at C 12 coach had developed a stench.
At least 25 passengers on board Central Railway’s (CR) Karmali-Mumbai Tejas Express were served stale food for dinner on Saturday night.
According to passengers of C 12 coach, the mixed vegetable served for dinner had a strong stench. The matter was brought to the notice of supervisor, who then changed the food packets.
The Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) has imposed a penalty of Rs 1 lakh on the caterer, Arenco, while also issuing a showcause notice for termination of its contract. IRCTC officials said Arenco had loaded the food packed from Chiplun station. The food was prepared at the base kitchen of the Railways in Chiplun and packed in casseroles. Usually, the food prepared is cooled first and then packed to be loaded from enroute stations. It is then heated inside the trains before being served to the passengers.
“But in this case, the food was packed while it was still hot and immediately loaded when the train halted at Chiplun between 6.18 pm to 6.20 pm,” said a senior official said. The food was served to passengers around 8.30 pm, by when a few packets had developed a stench. “The high-end base kitchens, such as the one at Mumbai Central, have a chiller where the food is put to cool down before being packed. But in this case, as these precautions were not taken, the food turned stale with its own steam,” the official added.
“IRCTC has imposed a penalty of Rs 1 lakh on the caterer while a showcause notice for termination of contract has also being issued. Further, action will be taken against the supervisor of the coach. The food served is being closely monitored to ensure such incident is not repeated, “ said Shivaji Sutar, Chief PRO of CR.
The incident comes four days after 40 women onboard Mumbai-Ahmedabad Shatabdi Express had fallen ill allegedly due to food poisoning after they were served stale bread and butter.