KATHMANDU, May 31: Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC), the renowned international fast food chain, and Nanglo Bakery Café, the domestic restaurant chain, are in a hot soup as both were found using date-expired products to prepare delicacies savored by thousands of middle- and upper-income people every day.
The malpractice was detected during inspections conducted by a monitoring team of the Department of Commerce (DoC) on Wednesday at the Durbar Marg outlets of KFC and Nanglo Bakery Café.
"During the inspection, the team found that KFC, run by Devyani International Nepal, was using date-expired palm oil while Nanglo Bakery Café was using date-expired chana masala and tempura flour," said Prem Prasad Paudel, director of DoC.
The team has destroyed 30 liters of date-expired palm oil found at KFC and seven packets each of expired chana masala and tempura flour found at Nanglo Bakery Café. The team also found that Nanglo had failed to maintain proper hygiene in its kitchen.
"The palm oil, which the inspection team said was date-expired, has a manufacture date of November 2011 and a shelf life of six months. Since the date of the month is not mentioned in the label, it could have been produced on November 30, which means we can use the product till today (Wednesday, May 30)," said Vishnu Reddy, country manager of KFC.
But the inspection team did not buy the KFC argument, according to Reddy.
Jeevan Prabha Lama, director general of the Department of Food Technology and Quality Control, said if only the month is mentioned then the date is automatically considered to be the 1st of that month and "hence the oil used was date-expired".
KFC had 600 liters of oil in the kitchen when the inspection team came in, and of this only 30 liters was manufactured in November. "We import most of the raw materials and check the quality before using; so that there is no compromise on quality," said Reddy. Since the team did not find any fault in KFC´s service, Reddy argued, it went after the cooking oil.
Shyam Sundar Lal Kachhepati, chairman of Nanglo Group, which owns Nanglo Bakery Cafe, said that the date-expired spices and flour were meant for disposal but due to a staff oversight they were left in the kitchen.
"We will obey instructions as issued by the DoC and if inspections like this are carried out on a regular basis it will help us overcome our mistakes," said Kachhepati.
The team has instructed proprietors of KFC and Nanglo Bakery Café to submit at the department within three days copies of documents required to run their business and documents provided by the Bureau of Standards and Metrology.