You are what you eat – a rat, a cockroach, expired yogurt, or a dead donkey. If you’re lucky, you are only your waiter’s snot or a harmless hair from his armpit.

And that is why the people of Lahore have expressed mixed reactions to the Punjab Food Authority’s action against restaurants that do not meet health and hygiene standards. While some Lahoris insist the operation should be expanded to also target the restaurants that have annoying spelling and grammar mistakes on their menu cards, about 64 percent of the people of the city run their own food businesses, and therefore have concerns about the relentless raids against eateries all over the city.

We spoke to food enthusiasts and legal experts to compile a list of ways in which you can save your restaurant from a raid by the Punjab Food Authority.

1) Give a toy with the meal:

There is no harm in providing clean, healthy food to your customers as long as you are also giving out plastic toys with those meals. The plastic can harm the health of your customers and their children in a much more effective way, and there is the added advantage that it will not biodegrade in about one thousand years. Fortunately, laws against unhealthy plastic are not as stern as the laws against unhealthy food, and the ones that do exist can be violated with relative ease.

2) Go vegetarian:

If you have concerns about the quality of chicken being supplied in Lahore, but no concerns about where people will get their proteins, you can go vegetarian. For restaurants and bakeries, that simply means putting potatoes in all your dishes and products. Another easy way you can make vegetarian dishes is by taking out all the chunks of chicken you can observe in a chicken dish. Vegetarians are often against experimenting on animals, so you may want to hide the rats that die after inadvertently eating your food.

Experts warn that even vegetarians don’t eat their coleslaw.

3) Tweak your product:

You do not have to shut down your business. Think outside the box. There are several things you can do with unclean storage, substandard production, counterfeit ingredients and expired products. For example, you can slightly modify your product and move into the pharmacy business.

The regulations in drug trade are much more lenient, because the risks are significantly less. It’s not like the poor eat them for dinner.

This should not be seen as a major strategic shift but a minor change of tactics – after all, the food from your restaurant had always been a good substitute of laxatives and weight loss pills.

4) Freeze all the dead chickens until this phase is over:

The head of the Punjab Food Authority may not realise it, but we all know that this reinvigorated campaign she has started is nothing but a phase. It will pass, and she will begin to behave like regular people once again. So let her grow out of it with time.

For now, freeze all your dead broiler chickens in cold storage and wait it out. Freezing dead birds can also be a good pressure tactic. No major town in Punjab can survive without a healthy supply of dead chickens.

5) Feed the rich:

At a time when we cannot afford to waste such large amounts of food just to make a political statement, we must think of sustainable solutions to this problem. One such solution is to invite key bureaucrats and politicians to frequent lunches and dinners, and feed them the same food that they are dying to declare substandard. Our experts guarantee they will not be able to tell that they have eaten unhygienic or unhealthy food.

If they feel sick, you can always blame it on quantity rather than quality.

5) Spit in the food:

As a last resort, there is always that options of using healthy and clean ingredients stored in a hygienic way to prepare good quality food for your valuable customers. The chefs and waiters can always spit in the food later or carry out other such processes before serving the food.

The possibility of that happening acts as a good safety mechanism against the customers’ misbehaviour towards waiters.

The author has a degree in Poetics of Prophetic Discourse and works as a Senior Paradigm Officer.

harris@nyu.edu

@cyborgasms