Paris is set to host the Olympic Games 2024 and preparations are in full swing. The French capital will inevitably see a larger influx of visitors next year, in addition to the unceasing throng of tourists it attracts annually. In this context, a report by local newspaper Le Parisien last month is particularly alarming. It has uncovered the serious lack of food safety practices of local street vendors around the most iconic site in the city: the Eiffel Tower. The area surrounding the tower is filled with food carts and stands, most of which are illegal.
These vendors usually sell items such as sandwiches and crepes. Their target customers are the tourists who come to visit this famous landmark from around the world. The report includes a compilation of video clips taken by local residents. One of them shows the vendors taking out food and drink from manholes along the Champ-de-Mars near the Eiffel Tower. The report has revealed that other access points to sewers have also become makeshift storage areas for ingredients like crepe batter and vegetables. One video shows cooked food that the seller admits to storing in the open air - without being covered.
Also Read: Dining Experience At The World's Oldest Vegetarian Restaurant, Haus Hiltl
Philippe Goujon, deputy mayor of Paris, told Le Parisien that these vendors store their food items in many unsanitary places such as manhole hatches, fire escapes, building exits and even gutters. On viewing the clips, Frank Delvau, president of the Union of Hospitality Trades and Industries of Paris and the Ile-de-France, has pointed out the serious threat to public health posed by these vendors. Most of them don't have licences and are not governed by any hygiene norms. He has also highlighted the "unfair competition" they present to the more respectable (and law-abiding) restaurants in the area. Given these concerns, he states, "We cannot let such an open-air food market flourish."
Le Parisien has also revealed that the police seized a total of 10 tonnes of products along Champ-de-Mars by the end of the summer. Out of this, around one-third consists of foodstuffs such as "water packs, Nutella, sugar and jam, alcohol, kebab meat and chicken."
About Toshita SahniToshita is fuelled by wordplay, wanderlust, wonderment and Alliteration. When she is not blissfully contemplating her next meal, she enjoys reading novels and roaming around the city.