A man from Prayagraj, Uttar Pradesh, who allegedly found a mouse in a Barbeque Nation meal during a recent trip to Mumbai has criticised the state Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for giving a clean chit to the restaurant.
The allegation against BARBEQUE NATION outlet in Worli
Advocate Rajeev Shukla ordered a vegetarian meal box from the Worli branch of Barbeque Nation on January 8 and later claimed in a social media post that he had found a mouse in the dal makhani. “I Rajeev Shukla (pure vegetarian) from Prayagraj visited Mumbai, on 8th Jan ’24 night ordered veg meal box from BARBEQUE NATION, Worli outlet that contained dead mouse, hospitalised for 75 plus hours. Complaint has not been lodged at Nagpada police station yet,” Shukla wrote on X.
On January 12 the FDA inspected the restaurant premises but did not find violations of any food safety norms, an official said.
“How can someone be so inhuman and insensitive that they are not even apologetic for the incident that occurred with me, affecting my health mentally and physically,” Shukla said on Thursday.
Complainant criticises FDA
The advocate further claimed that FDA officials guilty of backing Barbeque Nation. “It seems the FDA wants to save Barbeque Nation. When I visited the FDA offices I was informed that the restaurant had violated several norms. But now I believe they are only giving [building] improvement notice. The police is also not ready to take a first information report against them,” claimed Shukla, who returned to Prayagraj on January 16.
A food safety officer said Shukla, in his statement to the FDA, had also claimed that there were cockroaches in the gulab jamun. “However, we are not aware of this issue. The Nagpada police and BYL Nair Hospital said Shukla was admitted due to food adulteration, which had led to food poisoning and gastric issue,” the official said.
“We conducted an inspection on January 12 – four days after Shukla’s post. But we did not find food safety norms being violated by Barbeque Nation. We collected some samples during the inspection and sent them to the laboratory. The reports will be out by next week. Meanwhile, the reports of samples collected by the police for testing are still awaited,” he said.
FDA does not find any hygiene issue after inspection
“We didn’t find any hygiene or storage issues. There were some paperwork issues. Audit and water testing reports were unavailable, for which improvement notice has been given to them.”
“The restaurant has been inspected by our internal teams, FDA, police and municipal authorities and no non-compliance linked to the allegation has been found,” Barbeque Nation said in a statement.
“Being a buffet restaurant, food is prepared in bulk. We did not receive any food poisoning complaints from any other guest that day. While we empathise with the complainant, we are not in a position to give any credence to this allegation,” it said.
Letter to Minister
Advocate Rajeev Shukla has written to Minister of Consumer Affairs Piyush Goyal stating his ordeal and requesting action against Barbeque Nation.
"I, Rajeev Shukla, son of Mr Gorakhnath Shukla, resident of 3/32 A Jondhwal, Teliyarganj, Prayagraj, Uttar Pradesh. On dated 08.01.2024, applicant was staying at Room No 211 Hotel Ripon Palace, Dalal Estate, Mumbai Central. For dinner, food was ordered online from Barbeque Nation’s mobile application with invoice number 2065806 at 9.17pm. However, while consuming the meal at approximately 10.30pm, I discovered a dead mouse and various insects in the lentils and dessert unknowingly consumed. This led to severe deterioration in my health, and by around 2.30-3am, my condition worsened significantly.
Unfortunately, the hotel lacked medical assistance, due to which I had to endure the night in pain. Concerned about my health, I sought medical assistance at Nair Hospital Central Mumbai at around 10am on 09.01.2024. The doctors promptly admitted and initiated medical treatment & I was admitted to the hospital for 4 days and was discharged on afternoon of 12.01.2024.
Such negligence by a 17-year-old organisation in the food business is unacceptable. Due to such incidents, the applicant has faced mental, physical and health issues whose all responsibility is only of Barbeque Nation. Being a pure vegetarian and a Hindu Brahmin, this incident is a violation of religious and personal beliefs as well. Hence, it’s a humble request to register first information report against the owners & management of Barbeque Nation in the above mentioned incident and take strict legal actions as soon as possible."