Street foods are popular in almost every city of Pakistan, especially amongst those belonging to the lower income bracket. In Rawalpindi, street food includes burgers, fries, shawarma, fruit chaat, rolls, samosa as well as beverages such as sugarcane juice, shakes and lemon soda all of which are offered mostly in winters. A large part of the city population meets a substantial part of its dietary and nutritional needs through meals and beverages offered by outdoor vendors. Such street foods are often contaminated with bacteria, which affect the health of consumers. Contamination is the result of a combination of factors, including the unhygienic environment in which food is prepared and stored and improper handling and preparation practices. 

People manning the food stalls should be wearing gloves, have disposable plates and keep their food items covered. These are not practiced at the majority of eateries in the city, where cups and plates are sub-standard, mostly cracked, and improperly washed in a bucket of dirty water. The food sellers are ready with their excuses and claim that they are doing their best under given circumstances. 

HAMZA KHAWAR,  

Rawalpindi, January 3.