INDORE: The Federation of Hotel and Restaurant Associations of India (FHRAI) plans to set up non-commercial food testing laboratories across the country to help its members tide over hassles during food department raids, especially during festive season.
FHRAI president Bharat Malkani said, “The number of labs that currently exist are grossly insufficient and will not be able to cope with the sheer volume of service seekers. Our labs will benefit thousands of FBOs from bakery federations, catering associations, food retail traders and mithaiwala associations, among others.”
To be launched on a non-commercial basis, the labs will not only follow global standards of food safety and hygiene, but will also conduct the tests at forty to fifty percent lower costs than its commercial counterparts, he said.
FHRAI officials said the new laboratories would be set up according to global standards and will be equipped to carry out microbiological and chemical tests.
FHRAI and the Hotel and Restaurant Association Western India (HRAWI) already have a non-commercial food testing laboratory in Vadodara.
Officials have come up with the idea to set up more food testing laboratories to save food business operators from what they term ‘harassment’ suffered by hotel owners at the hands of food safety department officials.
But government officials refuted the claims saying that sampling was necessary to maintain public health safety standards. “We ensure that the sample collection is carried out on late evenings to prevent any discomfort to the establishments,” said Manish Swami, district food safety officer.