'Chowpatty bhel' to get hygienic makeover: Eat street food at Mumbai beach without worrying

Updated: Feb 20, 2019, 22:21 IST | Rupsa Chakraborty

FSSAI and FDA will soon convert popular Girgaum and Juhu beaches to 'Clean Street Food Hubs' in an attempt to upgrade the business

'Chowpatty bhel' to get hygienic makeover: Eat street food at Mumbai beach without worrying
Vendors will be sensitised about the use of clean water and hygiene. File pics

The next time you put that sweet, sour, spicy, scrumptious sev puri into your mouth at Girgaum and Juhu beaches, you will be able to do so without worrying about whether you will end up with diarrhoea or food poisoning. The Food Safety & Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will soon convert these popular places into 'Clean Street Food Hubs'. If everything goes as per plan, the hubs will begin by the end of March. Maharashtra will become the second state after Gujarat to have such an FDA-approved food hub in the city.

Upgrading street food
Mumbai is known for its lip-smacking street food like pani puri, sev puri, bhel puri, vada pav, pav bhaji, etc. They are not just popular among locals but also tourists and foreigners. But often, due to the unhygienic conditions in which the food is prepared or served, people fall sick. The aim of the Clean Street Food Hubs is to prevent this.

You can soon savour your bhel puri at Girgaum or Juhu beach knowing it has been prepared hygienically
You can soon savour your bhel puri at Girgaum or Juhu beach knowing it has been prepared hygienically

The aim is to upgrade street food vending in the city, which will also help the business. "We have selected these two places [Girgaum Chowpatty and Juhu Chowpatty] as they are known for their street food. Every day, thousands of people visit them for the spicy offerings. But, we often receive complaints about the unhygienic condition of the food. This programme will change that," said Chandrakant Pawar, Joint Commissioner, FDA.

"We won't bring new vendors to the hubs. The existing vendors will be sensitised about all the required parameters like use of potable water, garbage bags and proper disposal of unused foods," said Pallavi Darade, commissioner of FDA (Maharashtra). "We will also ensure that these vendors don't cook in oil that has high saturated fat that causes heart-related problems," she added. After the report is submitted, officials from FSSAI and FDA will check all the details and guidelines. "Once we are satisfied with the report and the required changes are made, the places will be declared Clean Street Food Hubs. The report will be completed mostly by the end of this month," she added.

Doctors happy with move
Doctors across the city welcomed the move, as it would ensure the health of consumers. "People often fall sick after consuming street food. The re-utilisation of oil causes cardio problems, diabetes and other chronic diseases. This is an extremely promising step," said Dr Rajesh Bharmal, a general physician.

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What FDA will check
Vendors need to follow 58 parameters, including using clean water and so on to ensure food safety. A private company has been hired to inspect the areas and give FDA a report, following which approval will be given. FDA will also check the places regularly to ensure hygiene is maintained and ensure use of potable water, garbage bags and proper disposal of unused food. The places will also have more seating areas and a clean environment with appropriate garbage disposal mechanisms. FDA will also ensure that the oil the food is cooked in does not have high saturated fat content.

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