Soon your street food will have much needed hygiene



Street food is usually considered unhealthy and it’s frowned upon to indulge in your favourite treats. This reputation has been built on the assumption that street foods have questionable hygiene standards.

But all this is about to change as the district assistant commissioner of food safety will launch an initiative to convert the beach stretch into ‘clean street food hub’. 
A proposal in the regard has been submitted to the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI). 
The project will ensure that street food vendors at the beach stretch (city corporation office to Lion’s Park) maintain quality and hygiene of the food delivered to customers. 
FSSAI will conduct a pre-audit before giving final approval to transform it into a clean street food hub. The vendors who sell food items must comply with stipulated norms of FSSAI will be issued licence.
The project aims at ensuring healthy, hygiene and safety standard of street food and holistic development of the street food vendors.
There are framed guidelines for upgrading the existing infrastructure of street food clusters to make it safe and hygienic.
The parameters include best practices for garbage disposal, maintaining personal hygiene, demarcating cooking and non-cooking area, working street lights, pest control and overall cleanliness among other things.
The scheme will bring them all under the Food Safety and Standard Act. The project will also empower street vendors with basic knowledge about food safety and ensure that they maintain personal hygiene and uses safe drinking water.
It will also ensure that the food is protected from pests and dust and the vendors use clean utensils to cook. 
Proper disposal of waste will be carried out. The officials will also conduct a training programme to create awareness about the norms of Food Safety and Standard Act. 
According to the office of the assistant commissioner of food safety Kozhikode, preliminary survey has identified a total of 98 street vendors at the beach stretch. 
P K Aleyamma, assistant commissioner of food Safety, said FSSAI officials will conduct a pre-auditing before giving the. “Only licensed vendors will be allowed to operate on the stretch,’’ she added
“Reuse of oil and usage of artificial colours that pose threat to your health will not be allowed once the project is implemented,’’ she said adding that the scheme will be extended to other streets as well.
The ‘Clean Street Food Hub’ initiative will raise hygiene standards and revolutionise street food vending in the city, making it popular among both domestic and international tourists while also preserving rich culinary heritage.
The initiative will nudge the street food vendors into a food ecosystem where the Indian street food vending will be looked up with high esteem at a global level.

Temple food and mid day meals : need for hygiene protocols

Death by food poisoning is back in the news in Karnataka. As of the last report 13 people have died and over 130 people fell ill by consuming the prasad that was served at a temple in Chamarajanagar. This comes just two days after 87 students took ill after finding lizard in their midday meal scheme.
And the chief minister’s answer to this is to issue a circular, by the Religious and Endowments or Muzrai department of Karnataka, which states that all food served in temples, including those to be donated by private individuals, should be tested before being distributed to devotees. What will be tested and how it will be tested is for anyone to guess. It would not be surprising if tests refers to taste.
Neither test nor taste is a solution to the issue primarily because tests take way too long, are very expensive and the infrastructure is not available everywhere. Taste on the other hand is not an indication either, as good taste is not a guarantee of the food being free from contamination. In this case the methodology for contamination was very primitive but that should not lead us to the conclusion that things can be detected by taste.
The only way to avoid such situations from continuously recurring is to have a preventive system. It starts with having a secured premises. The following are the four basic points that need to be addressed:
Food should not be cooked in an open area as it often happens. There should be a closed area designated for the preparation of food and the cleanliness and hygiene of the place must be maintained.
The people cooking the food must be trained on food safety and hygiene and must have gone through the mandated medical tests before handling the food.
Storage and transport of the food must follow the guideline of moving only in closed containers and at the right temperature, following the tenement “hot must be hot and cold must be cold”
Fresh food must be served ideally within two hours (or 4 hours if the temperature is maintained) of preparation. Packaged food including the prasadam must have a date of expiry and non-toxic packaging material must be used.
The FSSAI had issued an order dated 29th January 2018 on the roll out of BHOG (Blissful Hygienic Offering to God) in states and union territories and the state of Karnataka has done absolutely nothing about it. It is time that we implement things that will be effective and capture the best practices across the states rather than just issue more government orders which cannot be enforced.

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