Food safety has become a major issue in the last two years. Talking to Restaurant India, Shri Shivaji Desai, Joint Commissioner, Food & Drug Administration- Pune shares about the food safety programs at FDA.
What is your view on food safety in India?
The food safety and standards act, 2006, has been implemented since 2011. In Maharashtra, FDA has taken responsibility to implement this act. The restaurant factor is there. We have to follow norms mentioned in the schedule 4 i.e. part 5 that is for restaurant, hotel and catering facilities. It should be followed by these entrepreneurs. We have to inspect and take programs and inspect many times so that they should comply by the industries. If schedule 4 is complied you have achieve goals that is required by the act for safety management system.
Restaurants are following the norms but the unorganised sector is not. What do you have to say about it?
We are giving street vendors registrations and about 12 lacs vendors have been educated and provided license on it. Though, it is a very difficult task but people will have to come together to follow these regulations.
What is your view on growing culture of and restaurant as industry?
With growth of smart cities and IT industries there is a sudden push in the eating out trend. And, seeing the opportunity it provides, we have to support the food culture of India which is as diverse as its culture.
What is your role at FDA?
I am keenly involved in the food safety drive at FDA. We have done a special drive and we found majority is not complying with the law and we have issued notices as warnings. They have to comply in 14 days and if they do not we have to cancel their licenses.
Many a times restaurants have applied for licenses but it takes time to get the revert. What are you doing for it?
It is not at all difficult these days. It is an online process and FDA has launched a website and you have to make an online request and your license will be issued in 8-10 days.