At least 40 women fell ill after eating stale bread and butter served to them for breakfast on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad Shatabdi Express on Tuesday morning. The women, 36 of whom were from Mumbai, were then forced to alight at Surat station, where they received treatment from railway doctors.
Subsequently, Railways issued a notice to the contractor and also suspended the on-board supervisor for dereliction of duty. Confirming the incident, an Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) official said, “The train was stopped at Surat station after several passengers complained of uneasiness and they were immediately checked by railway doctors.”
However, officials denied that passengers had suffered food poisoning and said the problem was due to bad quality of bread and butter served to them. “Immediate action has been taken against the catering contractor and a fine of Rs 2 lakh has been imposed on the contractor and notice for termination of the contract has been served,” the official said.
Meanwhile, samples of other food served in the Mumbai-Ahmedabad Shatabdi Express have been collected and sent to the National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL) for further testing.
Passengers were furious, as this is not the first instance of Shatabdi passengers being served stale food. Some of them took to Twitter to complain: “Disgusting breakfast being served by the catering team of Shatabdi Express – 12009. The staff deliberately served expired food products during the meals. It can’t get more pathetic than this. The authorities are absolutely not bothered about health issues,” tweeted passenger Atul Rane.
Railway officials said they had refunded an amount of Rs 2,880 per passenger. “As a sign of concern and image restoration, MMCT Division refunded an amount of Rs 2880/- as Catering Sub Component for 36 PAX ie Rs 80 per pax for the Expired Bread Incident today in Coach C7 /C6 of 12009 MMCT ADI Shatabdi Express,” he said.