In the last two years the food safety and standards authority of India has played an important role to maintain and make sure that restaurant and hotels are maintaining the basic hygiene. The food safety authority has also demanded online aggregators to make sure they partner with restaurants who fits on the safety criteria and had also asked them to delist the remaining players if they are not going by the law.
In a stern action, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has suspended the licenses of five hotels, including Lemon Tree Hotel Private limited, Holiday Inn Restaurant and Hyatt Place at Hinjewadi in Pune over lack of cleanliness, preparing food in unhygienic conditions and serving food items beyond their expiry dates.
Licenses of two other hotels — Fortune Select Dasve at Lavasa and Upper Deck resort at Lonavala were also suspended. The action comes after a visit by Food Safety Officer Santosh Sawant to Hyatt Place, Holiday Inn Restaurant and Lemon Tree Hotel on August 30 last year.
A statement, issued by Joint Commissioner (Food), FDA’s Pune division, Suresh Deshmukh, said the licenses of these hotels have been suspended. “The license of Holiday Inn restaurant and Hyatt Place has been suspended for 15 and 14 days respectively. The licence of Lemon Tree Hotel has been suspended for four days,” said Sampat Deshmukh, assistant commissioner (Food), FDA, Pune. The FDA Joint Commissioner has further urged hoteliers to maintain cleanliness and ensure qualitative standards, failing which strict action will be taken.
“Vigilance of food and health authorities is good steps as it will filter out players doing wrong practices and help customers have food which is not unhygienic. However, for long term, better route should be to re-work on the food and health rules and make it consistent across country,” shared Karan Tanna, CEO, Yellow Tie Hospitality adding the licenses approval should be made online so it is transparent and not subjective.
After identifying several lacunae, such as lack of hygiene, the hotels were served notices on September 6, and asked to improve the quality of food, as well as step up cleanliness measures. After the hotels submitted their compliance report on December 11 last year, the FDA conducted a re-inspection but found no change in the issue of cleanliness.
Earlier, this January, FSSAI also said that they have accelerated the process of setting standards and notified 27 new regulations for food standards.
Some of the key regulations include the ones on alcoholic beverages, food fortification, advertising and claims, packaging, residues of pesticides, tolerance limits of antibiotics and pharmacologically active substances.
"We are setting standards to ensure safe food to consumers and at the same time see to that they do no impact the businesses. Now that the standards (on food products) are more or less in place, our focus is going to be on compliance, monitoring, inspection and enforcement," shared Pawan Agarwal, CEO, FSSAI earlier this month.
A Parliamentary Standing Committee on health and family welfare in a report submitted in 2018 had rapped FSSAI over weak enforcement of food safety laws and also recommended restructuring of the autonomous body that functions under the health ministry.
Hence, we can say that the food safety authority is working hard to make sure that the food is served fresh and healthy.