Before IKEA opened its first store in the country, it had made headlines for the different kinds of cuisine it would be serving in its 1,000-seater restaurant, including biryani. But a month on, the biryani in the Hyderabad store is in the news for all the wrong reasons: A customer allegedly found an insect in his food on Friday.
The customer, Abeed Mohammad, also took to Twitter to share his experience. "Today I found a caterpillar in my veg biryani," he tweeted, tagging the official handles of the city police, KT Rama Rao, Telangana Minister for Industries and Commerce and the minister for municipal administration and urban development, as well as the media.
The episode has not only proved a major embarrassment for the Swedish furniture giant but has also brought it under the scanner of the municipal authorities. An official told PTI yesterday that the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) has issued a notice to the firm.
Food safety and health officials visited the store and collected food samples for bacteriological analysis on Saturday. "IKEA representatives said they had not prepared the biryani in their kitchen and were procuring semi-cooked and frozen food from a Nagpur-based snack manufacturer," the official said adding that notices have also been issued to the latter, seeking details on the food prepared and the ingredients used within seven days.
Furthermore, the official said that the civic body imposed a fine of Rs 11,500 on the IKEA store for allegedly flouting norms related to dry and wet waste segregation and the use of plastic covers.
IKEA was quick to issue an official statement to apologise for the incident. "We regret the incident and apologise to our customer for the unfortunate experience. We would like to assure him and everyone else that we are investigating the matter currently to assess what happened and take immediate corrective action," the company said.
"At IKEA, we have the strictest guidelines when it comes to food safety and quality as customer health and safety are something we care about deeply."
With PTI inputs