FDA competition has city's Division in competitive mode
A new contest is set to raise the bar in maintaining hygienic conditions among food vendors in the city. A pilot project initiated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), aiming to maintain hygiene at roadside food stalls, has got the city's FDA division in competition mode
With the aspiration to come up trumps against rival food divisions in the State, Pune FDA has chosen all eateries near Sarasbaug where they will train and instruct vendors on cleanliness, according to the Food Safety Law 2006. Although, the competition emphasises adherence to food safety standards, authorities believe it will set a standard of an ideal food vendor.
“Though it is a small competition between all FDA divisions in Maharashtra, we are looking at it as an ideal model for stall vendors, which will benefit food lovers. We have chosen Sarasbaug area, where ideal food stalls will be developed,” said Dilip Sangat, assistant commissioner FDA food division, Pune.
“Five Food Safety Officers (FSO) have been appointed who have been training these hawkers and vendors since that past five days about the criteria for food stalls as per the Food Safety Law,” added Sangat.
Food safety officers have explained to all concerned food stalls regarding the safety they should maintain while preparing food.
According to the Food Safety Law, food stalls should maintain sanitation in the premise, there should be no nullah flowing near stalls, all dustbins should be properly closed. A clean table should be utilised for cutting, grinding etc.
Shivaji Desai, assistant commissioner FDA food, said, “Apart from this there should be three different cloths in the stall, one for cleaning utensils, another for cleaning tables and third for wiping hands. Also they should wash all utensils under clean tap water.”
When the FDA team met vendors, they faced some resistance from them. But after explaining the importance of the initiative, they agreed.
“The foods stall owners were worried about the expenses due to these changes, but when we explained them about the positive effects like increase in footfalls, they agreed and
took it positively.”
“Here assistant commissioners from other divisions will judge the places chosen by other divisions. We are not looking it as competition, but hoping it will create awareness in the city and will lead to a healthy food environment,” said joint commissioner Shashikant Kekare FDA food, Pune Division.
Haroon Bagwan, an owner of Rose Garden stall near the Sarasbaug, said, “We sell Bhel, panipuri, pavbhaji and Mastani and other such items. We initially felt it was a burden, but when they talked about the indirect profit we stand to make, we accepted it.”
The select food places that will vie for top honours include food stalls from Rankala in Kolhapur, Juhu in Mumbai, Sitabardi in Nagpur, and Darga Road in Aurangabad.