Friday 22 November 2019

FSSAI ensure safety in food eateries/outlets

PC: DepositPhotoes

The year is 2003, a fine Saturday evening, and a dear friend was enjoying dinner with her family in a famous restaurant in town. On Sunday morning, her son’s face tells a different story as he clutches his stomach and groans in pain.  Her paediatrician shakes his head as he delivers the verdict,  “Food poisoning,” he says. “No more hotel food,” he sternly warns. A common scene then.

The year is 2019 and her almost grown-up children and she are awaiting their food at one of the trending fast-food joints. The owner smiles at them from his passport size photo affixed to the FSSAI food licence and registration  that is displayed on the  wall- A common scene now. 

Ever since FSSAI was established in 2011, things have started looking positive for worried and I’m -done -with- hospitals mothers like her.  It  has become ubiquitous in the food industry in our  country that invests crores in the food business and is insanely crazy about eating out. The FSSAI has a gargantuan role to play and has its work cut out.  Especially so in the case of local eateries and road-side outlets that have become such an essential part of our gastronomic culture. 

It is assuring to note that FSSAI food license has hard and fast rules to ensure that the Food Business Operators produce quality food that is safe for consumption. 

Safety first- Everywhere and Everytime .

Today, ordering food on the trending online apps has become a weekly norm in my house. While my child chooses the food and outlet on the basis of taste and variety of dishes, my mind centres on the safety of the food, the place of preparation and the person who prepares it . I am , after all , not witnessing anything. So my worries are justified. 
For fretting  mothers like me, its is very assuring to educate oneself of the safety norms that FSSAI has furnished. 
Let’s take a look at The 10 Golden Rules of FSSAI: 

  1. Ensuring clean and pest-free premises .
  2. Using fresh, potable water to wash and clean food products.
  3. Ensuring all cut and prepped food is covered and stored in cold temperature.
  4. Washing chopping board and knives thoroughly before and after use.
  5. Keeping garbage bins covered.
  6. Making sure that the workers maintain personal hygiene.
  7. Washing of hands after using the restroom.
  8. Avoiding handling of food if unwell.
  9. Taking care to see that bruises or cuts on the body are cleaned and covered properly
  10. Using clean dusters or cloth to wipe utensils.

Going clean with street food

 Street food is soul food, comfort food.  My usual apprehension takes a backbench when I bite into that crunchy vada or the soft shawarma that is available just across the street.  Even the finicky fine diners love to grab a bite from the local street food stalls.

The “Clean Street Food Hub” is FSSAI’s clever initiative to monitor this age-old tradition that’s now a source of livelihood for lakhs of people across the country. I am happily surprised  as I go through  FSSAI’s Guidelines For Declaration As A Clean Street Food Hub . It covers a whole gamut of rules and regulations, much like the ones established for the business on the other end of the food business spectrum.  This initiative was a stupendous success with  almost all the 66 vendors in Kankaria Lake area of  Ahmedabad who  are said to comply to the rules , starting with affixing a plaque having the FSSAI food license clearly on display.  

FSSAI’s Eat Right Movement

The FSSAI clearly deserve a pat on the shoulder for launching The Eat Right Movement in 2018. It is time to put our physical health in the forefront with the right choice of food habits.  FSSAI is my ally here. This campaign focuses on creating awareness in schools and offices about eating healthy food, reducing unhealthy items like sugar, salt and oil and promoting staple foods in the daily diet. 
In my honest opinion as a parent, the FSSAI is doing a great job. But it has to ensure that its initiatives reach the grassroot food vendors. My light banter with the owner of a street food cart  the other day, reveals that he is yet to procure his FSSAI licence. My look of surprise prompted him to assure me saying,”Don’t worry ,madam. You will not fall sick!” Take note, FSSAI !

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