Accepting the report of the Food Safety Commissioner, that appam at Sabarimala was unfit for human consumption, the Kerala high court on Tuesday observed there was lack of proper management in the affairs of the Lord Ayyappa shrine.
The court directed the Travancore Devaswom Board, which manages the temple affairs, to ensure that the manufacturing of appams and aravannas (sweet delicacies offered as prasadams) be carried out in most hygienic manner.
A division bench, comprising Justice Thottathil B Radhakrishnan and Justice A V Ramakrishna Pillai, accepted the report of the Food Safety Commissioner that discarded appams unfit for human consumption.
The fungal formation was due to humidity and unhygienic environment where it was prepared and stored, the report said.
It was further pointed out that in the premises of the appam's store and packing areas, there were irregularities.
The report listed specific drawbacks during the inspection on November 22. All the drawbacks were brought to the notice of TDB officials, the report stated.
The Food Safety Commissioner has recommended good hygiene and packing, and inspection every four hours.
The bench said the appams should be manufactured ensuring appropriate quality. Inspection should be done every four hours by the Safety Commission officials.
No change should be made in the appam mix and it should be made in the traditional manner. In the report it was also stated that appams were not stored properly which could be the reason for fungal infection.
Since the there is continuous manufacturing of appams, no cleaning activity is being carried out, it was stated.
The bench directed that the floor of the appam manufacturing areas and storage places should be washed once in a day.
Regarding the destruction of appams, the court said, there is no question of any financial loss as the prasadams were unfit for human consumption.
The court said food safety authorities should keep strict vigil on all articles needed for prasadams and drinking water, packaged water and soft drinks.
The bench approved the appointment of K Jayakumar as chief government co-ordinator having all authority of chief commissioner. All departments in government and other authorities will coordinate and act on the instructions of Jayakumar.
The bench also directed TDB and state government to provide sufficient personnel and facilities to him.
The directions were issued by the court when various petitions came up.
The TDB blamed the media for making a hype on the stale appams to mislead pilgrims. The Board requested the court to control the media from publishing such reports which was turned down by the court.
A big quantum of appam, a major prasadam at the Lord Ayyappa shrine, was withdrawn and destroyed last week at the temple after fungal infection was found in it.