Paris will host the 2024 Olympic Games, and preparations are in full swing. The French capital will inevitably see a greater influx of visitors next year, in addition to the incessant throngs of tourists it attracts annually. In this context, a report from the local newspaper Le Parisien last month is particularly alarming. It has exposed the serious lack of food safety practices of local street vendors around the most iconic site in the city: the Eiffel Tower. The area around the tower is full of food trucks 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 all over the world. The report contains a compilation of video clip taken by local residents. One of them shows the vendors fetching 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 temporary storage areas for ingredients such as crepe batter and vegetables. One video shows prepared food, which the seller admits to storing in the open – uncovered.
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Philippe Goujon, deputy mayor of Paris, told Le Parisien that these vendors store their food in many unsanitary places, such as manholes, fire escapes, building exits and even gutters. On seeing the clips, Frank Delvau, president of the Union of Hospitality Trades and Industries of Paris and Ile-de-France, has pointed out the serious threat to public health posed by these suppliers. Most of them do not have licenses and are not subject to any hygiene standards. 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 allow such an outdoor food market to flourish.”
Le Parisien has also revealed that the police seized a total of 10 tons of products along the Champ-de-Mars at the end of the summer. Of this, around a third consists of foods such as “water packets, Nutella, sugar and jam, alcohol, kebab meat and chicken.”
About Toshita SahniToshita is driven by wordplay, wanderlust, wonder and alliteration. When she’s not blissfully contemplating her next meal, she enjoys reading novels and roaming the city.