Thursday, April 22

Eateries’ thumbs up to hygiene norms

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Eating out will be safer and only the best restaurants will survive once the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) rules are enforced, felt restaurant owners in Kolkata. The rules will make it mandatory for eateries to display their hygiene ratings.

While some of the regulations could be difficult to follow — especially for the smaller operators — they will definitely boost standards. The FSSAI on Thursday announced that hygiene ratings will be given to restaurants based on the extent of their compliance with the recommended safety standards.

“This is a positive move and will help customers choose the right place for a meal. Once you have the ratings, there will be no doubt about the hygienic standard of the food. We believe that a restaurant should also be assessed on its hygiene standards,” said Hotel and Restaurants’ Association of Eastern India (HRAEI) executive committee member Sudesh Poddar.

Even though hygiene norms have never been an issue for prominent restaurants in Kolkata, the display of ratings will prevent even minor slip-ups, said Nitin Kothari, owner of the iconic Mocambo and Peter Cat on Park Street. “This will make every restaurant more conscious of their hygiene and cleanliness standards. Moreover, consumers will now have an idea about the hygiene and safety of the food that they are going to be served. It is their right as they are paying for it. We expect the display of ratings to lead to an overall improvement in safety and quality standards,” said Kothari.

While some of the FSSAI norms could be difficult to implement, they were certainly aimed at raising the bar, felt Chili’s owner Hrishi Bajoria. “It’s a good move and will keep everyone on their toes. I have gone through some of the recommendations and they seem to be logical. My only wish is that the norms should be enforced positively and not with an intent to harass,” Bajoria said. He added that being part of a global chain of eateries, Chili’s adheres to even stricter hygiene norms than the FSSAI recommendations.

A Park Street restaurant owner said small roadside eateries that have mushroomed over the last few years and depend on food delivery apps for business could find it difficult to stick to the norms. “Many of them don’t even have a proper kitchen. So, following the FSSAI guidelines may be impossible for them. But that can’t be an excuse to compromise on hygiene,” he said.

Several countries have made it mandatory to display hygiene ratings, pointed out Kothari. “Even street food vendors are made to follow safety norms abroad. This could be a huge step towards raising awareness about the need to serve healthy food,” Kothari added.

Zarine Tangree, owner of Olypub on Park Street, too, lauded the move saying it will help restaurants add to their credibility. “Those who follow good hygiene standards will gain from this. The rest will now be identified and forced to improve,” Tangree said.

 

Source: Times of India

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