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Now, hygiene ratings at Haryana eateries



In a first, Haryana’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is rating hygiene in restaurants and eateries.

The hygiene assessment has been started as a pilot project in seven districts, namely Panchkula, Ambala, Kurukshetra, Rewari, Jhajjar, Rohtak and Yamunanagar.

“The hygiene rating is on a voluntary basis. So far, one or two outlets from every district have applied for the rating,” said DK Sharma, Joint Commissioner (Food), FDA.

As a prelude to the rating, the FDA initiated the Food Safety Training and Certification (FOSTAC) programme. So far, 17 agencies, empanelled with Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), have conducted 84 sessions to train 2,889 eatery-related personnel, including food handlers and manufacturers. Each trainee was charged Rs 600.

As part of the rating, restaurants and eateries have to do a self-assessment on FSSAI website and respond to 47 questions related to design and facilities, control of operations, maintenance and sanitation, personal hygiene, training and record-keeping.

The questions are related to the number of hand washing facilities, toilets, changing rooms for food handlers; regular testing of food and water; ventilation; storage hygiene; proper segregation of raw, cooked, vegetarian and non-vegetarian food; hygiene of cutlery, crockery and packaging material; pest control activities, drains set with cockroach traps and food handlers equipped with aprons, gloves, and headgear.

After answering the questions, an audit by the District Food Safety Officer or by an independent agency takes place and only then the FSSAI awards the hygiene rating. If one scores 81 to 100 per cent, it falls in the “very good” category, score of 61 to 80 is rated “good”, 41-60 score is “fair” and 21-40 means it “needs improvement”. “Restaurants are allowed to advertise their ratings,” said Sharma.

Partaking of BHOG

Blissful Hygienic Offering to God (BHOG), an initiative of FSSAI, has been launched in Haryana where tips, dos and don’ts, methods and practices are being given to places of worship, particularly where “prasad” and “langar” are prepared. In Haryana, it is initiated in Panchkula, Yamunanagar, Kurukshetra, Jhajjar, Karnal, Sirsa and Rohtak. In Panchkula, Shri Mata Mansa Devi, Kali Mata Mandir (Kalka) and Nada Sahib have been sanitised so far. These will be made to follow FSSAI food safety standards.

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