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Indian authorities to clean up street food, ensure hygiene, food safety

Indian authorities to clean up street food, ensure hygiene, food safety

Good news for street food aficionados in India: Health authorities on Wednesday unveiled plans to encourage vendors to adopt better hygiene standards to ensure cheap roadside meals are safe for people to eat.
Throughout India, hundreds of thousands of vendors turn pushcarts, kiosks and small roadside stands into cafes, serving up food anywhere from village lanes to railway stations. But the eateries are often unclean and the food preparation unsanitary, spreading diseases including diarrhea and typhoid.
A Health Ministry survey of vendors in 16 cities published Wednesday showed that a majority of street food vendors are unlicensed and not registered with municipal agencies. The vendors' main priority is to keep costs low, but meeting quality and safety requirements is not a concern, the survey found.
The ministry plans to educate hundreds of thousands of street vendors nationwide on food safety and hygiene, then monitor them to ensure they apply what they have learned, Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss told reporters in New Delhi on Wednesday.
Vendors will be taught how to handle food, avoid contamination of cooking areas and produce, maintain personal hygiene, and safely dispose of garbage, said S.P. Gupta, who coordinated the survey.
"Increasingly people are getting hooked on street food due to its availability and convenience," said Ramadoss. "What we are trying to do is ensure it's hygienic and handled properly."
The ministry also plans to introduce a "Street Food Code" to ensure that vendors observe basic standards of hygiene and cleanliness. Under the code, food vendor licenses will become mandatory and municipal officials will have to carry out periodic health and hygiene checks.
"The burden of preventable infections, such as typhoid, cholera and diarrhea, can be reduced simply by observing standards of hygiene and sanitation," Ramadoss said.
The government is also considering allowing more street vendors to take space in established food courts _ emporiums found across Asia housing row upon row of independent local fast food vendors _ therefore providing them with clean drinking water and electricity, he said.


Updated : 2021-03-06 11:15 GMT+08:00