Food Hygiene Standards For New India
Food & Beverage Business Review|December-January 2019
Food Hygiene Standards For New India

To protect the premise from fly and other insects / pests / animals, windows, doors and all other openings of food establishments should be well screened with wire-mesh or insectproof screen as applicable.

Jyotismita Sharma

As India readies itself to embark on a journey to unleash its untapped potentials to shine in the world stage and become a formidable voice in the international community, the need to bring in changes in all aspects of life has never been more imporantant than it is now. This includes the areas of food hygiene and saftey as well – both in theory and in practice. For, will India be seen as an ideal destination if it is continued to be viewed as a country with inadequate sanitation and food hygiene standards? The answer is definitely “no”. The “New India” of tomorrow will therefore need renewed efforts to implement the hygiene standards that are already in place or those that will come.

But it is always easier said than done, especilally in India as the issues involved here are way too complex than what they seem from outside, especially in view of the fact that a large part of the country's food businesses are run by the unorganised sector. That does not mean the goals of making an image makeover for the country is unachievable. However, it deserves here a mention that hygienic practices are integrally connected to ensuring food safety. Therefore it is even more important to ensure that the best practices are followed.

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSA) has already started the New Year by brining in a new regulation to make food consumption in the country safer. FSSAI’s new packaging regulations were notified in the first week of January 2019.

“The new packaging regulations would raise the bar of food safety in India to the next level,” said FSSAI CEO Pawan Agarwal.

These regulations address all concerns that came out of the two studies conducted by FSSAI recently through the Indian Institute of Packaging (IIP), Mumbai and the National Test House (NTH), Kolkata.

These two studies had shown that the packaging material used by the organised sector is largely safe, but there are concerns about the use of packaging material by the unorganised/informal sector.

Further, there are serious concerns about safety of loose packaging material. Thus, these regulations prohibit packaging material made of recycled plastics including carry bags for packaging, storing, carrying or dispensing articles of food.

Further, taking cognizance of the carcinogenic effect of inks and dyes, these regulations also prohibit the use of newspaper and such other materials for packing or wrapping of food articles and includes respective Indian standard for printing inks for use on food packages. The food businesses shall have to comply with these regulations by 1st July, 2019.

General Hygienic and Sanitary Practices

The FSSAI requires that an establishment in which food is being handled, processed, manufactured, packed, stored, and distributed by the food business operator and the persons handling them should conform to the sanitary and hygienic requirement, food safety measures and other standards.

Location and Surroundings

The country's top food regulator requires that food establishments should ideally be located away from environmental pollution and industrial activities that produce disagreeable or obnoxious odour, fumes, excessive soot, dust, smoke, chemical or biological emissions and pollutants, and which pose a threat of contaminating food areas that are prone to infestations of pests or where wastes, either solid or liquid, cannot be removed effectively.


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December-January 2019