Imagine when you are damn hungry and order food as a non-vegetarian, you are served a pest to munch

Aweful!!! You would say, right?

Yes, that is what happened to a passenger travelling on one of the marquee trains of the railways, Vande Bharat Express from Madhya Pradesh, Rewa Vande Bharat Express (20173). The unpleasant experience concerning the food he ordered was chronicled by the traveller on social media.

The incident he said dates to February 1 when he found a dead cockroach in the meal served on during his journey from Rani Kamlapati to Jabalpur Junction.

Complaints about the poor quality of food served on Indian trains are not new but to have such an experience in a train, which is one of the pet projects of Prime Minister Narendra Modi raises concerns for passengers. It leaves us in doubt, if hygiene standards are at all checked in Indian Railways catering service.

The Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), though, has apologized for the experience and promised action.

The passenger, Shubhendu Kesari (@iamdrkeshari), took to X (formerly twitter) to air his experience and also posted pictures as proof. In his post he mentioned he found the pest in a non-vegetarian thali. He even filled out a complaint form at Jabalpur station.

The trauma of the passenger led the IRCTC to react and through their official handle regretted and stated that they viewed the matter seriously and have imposed a significant penalty on the service provider responsible, which means, they are putting the blame squarely on the vendor.

This leaves us to think, if the railways is at all accountable to anyone and who takes stock of the high hygiene standards, the railways is supposed to maintain.

Another important question one needs to ask after this horrifying experience of the passenger is if pest control is at all maintained at the kitchens, where the food is prepared or packed?

Ensuring Pest-Free Kitchens in Transport: A Closer Look at Airline and Railway Food Safety Practices

Pest control is such an important aspect of any kitchen serving food to millions of passengers, be it on trains or airplanes. The private kitchens, which serve food to domestic and international flights, have to go through strict pest control parameters and regular checks are in place but what about in the railways?

The responses to the post varied, with some finding humor in the situation and some airing their own experiences on trains.

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