The recent food poisoning episode in Bangalore must open the eyes of every concerned citizen of this country regarding the toxic environment in the country posed by the conditions prevailing here. Each and every day the citizen faces hazards of different nature, some minor and others more serious, which are neglected by a benign state with least concern for its subjects whose protection they have sworn to be responsible under the Indian constitution. The latest food poisoning episode in a temple in Bangalore claimed two precious lives and injured more than 4 dozens of people after partaking the prasadam served by the Temple authorities to devotees visiting the worshipping place on the occasion of Ramanavami. Many disturbing questions arise out of this episode for which there is no satisfactory answer yet. The situation is alarming in this country in that there are hundreds and thousands of temples spread all over the country and each one serves prasadam in some form or the other and these eatables are prepared in places/kitchens not too satisfactory with respect to hygiene and sanitation. Added to this the personnel preparing them are mostly illiterate people with doubtful health conditions and personal hygiene, having no rudimentary knowledge regarding food safety. Here is a take on this sad situation prevalent in the country.
"A five-year-old girl and a priest at a temple died and more than 50 people reported sick on Friday after consuming 'Panaka', a lemonade made with jaggery, distributed at a temple of Valmiki Nagar in Chamarajpet, the previous day, on the occasion of Rama Navami. Ganga, daughter of Balamurugan, a painter of Bande Gudisalu, Valmiki Nagar and Krishna Murthy, 45, were the dead. Murthy, the priest at the temple, who too partook the lemonade, was admitted to Jayadeva hospital and died on Saturday evening. The police are find out if Murthy died because of consuming the lemonade or because of cardiac arrest, as he had a history of heart-related ailments.Local residents claimed that 'Panaka', a popular summer drink, distributed at Muttu Maramma temple in Valmiki Nagar on Friday was not hygienic and they suffered symptoms of food poisoning".
Major temples like Tirupati, Sabarimal and others periodically come under the scanner due to reports of devotees affected by unsafe prasadam served but in the absence of any verifiable documentation system, every episode is swept under the carpet with the authorities not learning any lesson for future. in the present case itself though the reports claim two as dead and 50 people as sick from consuming the prasadam, no one knows what is the real situation and the actual casualty figures as many well to do people do not go to government hospitals seeking treatment in private hospitals. It is a paradox that in the absence of reliable documentation Government feels that food poisoning is not a major issue unlike in countries like the US where every thing is documented systematically.