The Food Safety and Standards Authority (FSSAI) is planning to simplify and streamline regulations for the Foodservice industry and in this regard, the regulator is looking to take a number of major steps.
The key steps that the organisation is planning to take include appointing Food Safety Supervisors – who will ensure that the quality of food served to the consumers is at par – hanging Food Safety Display Boards at all the restaurants and hotels, scripting food safety and hygiene guidelines, and looking into concerns of the multiple agencies governing the sector.
Appointing Food Safety Supervisors
While speaking at Foodzania 2016, CEO, FSSAI, Pawan Agarwal said, “Every food business operator will have one person – Food Safety Supervisor – who is trained in food safety and hygiene as per the standards that are laid down by us.”
He further added, “The training module will be simple. We have worked in consultation with various other associations including National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI) and Federation of Hotels and Restaurants in India while drafting this module.”
In a pilot testing phase, training and certification of Food Safety Supervisors has already been started in Goa three weeks ago wherein 30 master trainers, most of them chefs and senior people from prestigious hotels and restaurants, have been trained by eminent faculties on curriculum.
Agarwal said, “These 30 trained supervisors will train 30 more. So almost 900 to 1,000 Food Safety Supervisors covering the entire state of Goa are likely to be covered under this training and certification program in the next few months.”
He further added, “Depending on the experience we get from this pilot initiative, we will do a national roll out in the next few months.”
FSSAI has already started receiving a positive response from various other associations which are vertically integrated and have regional presence. Much of this training will be handled by these associations.
Food Safety Display Boards
The regulator is also using technology to involve the consumers directly in ensuring food business operators comply with food safety and hygiene measures. FSSAI has started experimenting with Food Safety Display Boards, which highlight food safety and hygiene measures that all foodservice outlets are expected to maintain and if they do not maintain it then the consumers can reach to FSSAI through helpline.
“Our own experience of Food Safety Display Boards is not very robust to be rolled out at a national stage. Several major brands including Tata Starbucks, Dominos have already implemented these display boards and we are accessing the consumer response to these display boards and the feedback that we have been receiving responses from the consumers through the helpline,” said Agarwal.
Streamlining Interface with Multiple Agencies
FSSAI said that it is aware about the concern of the multiplicity of agencies that deal with this sector and agreed that there is a need for streamlining the interface with agencies.
Agarwal said, “Maybe there is a need to look at the responsibilities of each of these agencies. The police authority will have responsibility as far as any place is of public gathering from law and order point of view, the municipal authorities will also have as far as general sanitation of that place in concerned and obviously the food authority will have responsibility as far as food safety and hygiene of the food served to consumers is concerned. “
Agarwal also stressed on the point that the unorganised sector is their key responsibility and therein the regulator expects the organised sector to play a leadership role in handholding the players in the unorganised sector – small dhabas and street vendors – to ensure food safety and hygiene.