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FSSAI for hygienic street food in capital

Don’t be surprised if you find a golgappe wala wearing an apron, gloves, cap and T-shirt while serving the delicious snack to you. On par with international standards, street food vendors in Delhi will now be following proper health and hygiene standards before serving you any food item.

This unique initiative is part of a programme followed by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) with Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship. Under the programme, around 23,000 street food vendors have been trained by the National Street Food Vendors Association of India (NASVI). On Saturday, around 6,000 of them will be awarded the certificate and a kit after completing their training.

The kits, containing two aprons, one T-shirt, one cap, 50 disposable plastic gloves and a hand sanitiser will be given to promote hygienic practices. The first phase will see vendors from Lajpat Nagar, Sarojini Nagar, Malviya Nagar and Sarai Kale Khan.

However, Sangeeta Singh, Head, street food program, NASVI, claimed that the lack of Aadhaar cards had ensured vendors were not able to get certificates earlier.

“Many of them have not filled the information correctly due to which the certificates have not come yet. Some of them have not linked the Aadhaar card with the bank account. The department has now finally decided to give certificates to these 6,000 food vendors in the first phase.”

In March last year, the FSSAI had launched ‘Clean Street Food’ project with an aim to raise the safety standards of foods sold on streets across the national capital by training 20,000 roadside vendors on aspects of health and hygiene. FSSAI partnered with the Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship to train street food vendors.

The vendors will also be provided with a health chart which will have 10 indicators. These indicators include washing hands before serving, using head cap, wearing gloves, using clean water, etc. Every food vendor will have this chart displayed near his/her cart.

But it’s not just the vendors. As the organisers of the initiative point out, the consumers too have a role to play to ensure better health and sanitary conditions. “The customers must always remind the food vendor to follow the 10 health indicators before serving the food. We will also keep a close watch on all the vendors to ensure that all the rules are being followed,” added Singh.

According to experts, the practice will help in eliminating diseases like food infection, gastroenteritis and diarrhoea.

“Most of the time, we advise people not to eat street food as the vendors don’t follow proper hygiene standards. The water used in making these items is extremely unhealthy and leads to many diseases like diarrhoea and gastroenteritis,” said Dr SP Byotra, Senior Consultant, Department of Internal Medicine, Sir Ganga Ram hospital.

Sources say that apart from the 6,000 already certified vendors, the remaining vendors will be certified in the next few months. According to the sources, once all the details of the vendors are placed properly, the certification process will speed up.