Food hygiene and food safety forms an integral part of every catering industry and high standards are needed to protect health of consumers. When a food service opens its doors, a responsibility to serve “safe food” is incurred. According to the food business operator to assure long term success, it is imperative to value quality of the food and service being provided to the customers. And, in order to meet basic necessities, food safety body FSSAI is working together with the representatives of food business operators to provide healthy and hygienic food to the masses.
Ensuring food safety
To make the scene more accessible, food safety watchdog is bringing guidelines for all the food operators wherein they need to abide by certain parameters to serve health food under a hygienic and neat environment. In a recently held meeting where FSSAI has called food operators to discuss the way forward to deliver best foods to customers.
There are two major documents that need to be shown once a customer visit a restaurant or has asked owners to show it.
- FSSAI license: the government is planning to make it mandatory to show the food safety license given to a restaurant by the safety body to make sure people are satisfied with what they are eating.
- Customer Feedback: Customer feedback is always welcomed by the top restaurants in the country. Top brands that are running under the lines of global parameters are already taking care of certain feedback.
New Endeavours to Overcome These Challenges
And, with growing business food safety is becoming a major concern in the society. With lack of awareness about health and hygienic food, lack of adequate workforce, India being one of the top most countries in terms of food business is facing the hygienic issue. And, to overcome the lacunae, FSSAI is aiming to revise standards providing detailed requirements of food hygiene and safety in the food for various categories of FBOs. The hygiene standards will be classified into three categories.
Basic: These standards will cover the minimal basic food hygiene and food safety requirements that are mandatory for anyone working in the arena of food. These requirements will be suffice for FBOs such as retailers, storekeepers, transporters, petty business operators, etc.
“We can co-create the process wherein every food operator should come and abide by it,” shared Prakul Kumar, Secretary General NRAI which represents over 1400 restaurants in India.
Advanced: These standards will provide a detailed specification of food hygiene and food safety standards and GHP’s for the small restaurants and FBO’s involved in food manufacture/ preparation. Also, retailers, storekeepers, transport systems, etc. handling perishable food items frequently.
Adding to the same lines, Shivan Khanna of Taj Hotels shared,” We are already ISO 2200 certified hotels. We have regular internal as well as external audits on food safety hygiene training.”
Global: These standards will be at power with the international standards. These will be more detailed and stringent than other two groups. These standards will be mandatory for star rated restaurants and hotels, bigger chains of restaurants, FBO’s into export. Also, small restaurants and FBO’s can voluntarily opt for these standards to improve their overall hygiene and food safety.
Sharing his view on the food safety, Khurshid Alam Khan of ITC shared that ITC was one of the few hotels in India which followed all the global parameters in meeting the needs of food safety in India. “We are 5 per cent ahead of global average of food safety,” shared Khan who looks after the food safety issues at ITC.
Going forward, FSSAI is also planning to have one person at all restaurants and food outlets that are trained by FSSAI on meeting the best practices when it comes to food safety and hygiene.