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Food safety training must

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PATNA: The food safety wing of the health department is going to make it mandatory for hotel and restaurant staff to undergo food safety and hygiene standard-related training.

Sources said the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has issued instruction to the food safety wing to ensure one in every 25 employee at restaurants and hotels is trained and acts as a certified food safety supervisor to ensure food safety and hygiene norms in their establishments.

“Restaurants and hotels whose annual turnover is Rs 12 lakh or more would require to get one in every 25 staff trained,” said a food safety officer on the condition of anonymity.

“Training of restaurant and hotel staff had been made mandatory by FSSAI. Supposing a restaurant or hotel has 25 employees, then one employee of the hotel or restaurant would have to be trained. If there are more than 28 emloyees, then two employees of that establishment would have to be trained. We are going to start the training in the middle of this month.”

Talking about the training module, the official said: “They would be instructed to keep vegetarian and non-vegetarian food separately. Even in deep freeze, vegetarian and non-vegetarian food items have to be kept separately. Also, the food must be kept covered. Cooking vessels cannot be kept on the floor.

Food handlers should not be allowed to wear rings on their fingers and they should also keep their hair tied. Ladies should not be allowed to wear bangles. Raw materials have to be sourced from only licensed wholesalers or retailers. Above all, safe drinking water has to be used in the kitchen. All these things would be taught during the training.”

The restaurant and hotels would also be asked to keep a display board giving some detail about the ingredients that go into the various dishes.

“The display board would have dishes’ name and also that of some of the ingredients used in making the particular dish but not all the ingredients detail would be shared because it is not practically possible. This would be done to make customers informed,” the officer said.

That restaurants and hotels are already flouting sanitation and hygiene related norms here in Patna can be gauged from the fact that the Bihar State Pollution Control Board (BSPCB) recently sent showcause notices to seven hotels for violating rules laid down under the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974, for not adhering to rules of disposal of solid waste.

The hotels that have been issued showcause notices are Hotel Rajasthan on Fraser Road, Mamta Restaurant, Satkar International, Hotel Archie Inn, Hotel Mayur, Hotel Astor and Samrat International.

Residents said they were eagerly waiting for the food safety wing’s training drive to start in the city.

“We often overlook minute hygiene-related problems when we go to dine out at some hotel or restaurant, but it is a fact that by consuming food which has been prepared in unhygienic conditions, we compromise with our health,” said Arvind Kumar Sinha,” a Kidwaipuri resident. “We can only hope that the food regulatory body keeps a tab on whether or not hotels and restaurants are maintaining hygiene standards even after training of their staff.”

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