In a first of its kind move, the government will soon start rating all food establishments, including small and medium eateries, restaurants, dhabas, takeaway joints and fruit dispensing outlets on parameters of safe and hygienic food.
The project `Safe food, tasty food' to be implemented in time for 2010 Commonwealth Games, will grade restaurants and food establishments (gold, silver or bronze) in the capital to start with, so that consumers can make informed eating choices.
The proposed grade or logo will be displayed by the establishment which decides to be part of the project conceptualized by the Food and Safety Standards Authority of India.
Broad structure, parameters and auditing mechanism for holding food establishments accountable for acceptable levels of safety and quality are put in place. This will also result in improved quality as establishments will have to meet parameters to be rated higher.
Through this project, the government hopes to cover even outlets and shops serving unlabelled pre-packaged sweets, baked and confectionery products.
The project, which is a voluntary exercise will be implemented with the help of local bodies (like Municipal Corporation of Delhi), NGOs, food establishment owners and food and health regulatory authorities. A directory of the restaurants and eateries that have been rated will also be published. Restaurants and establishments including caterers will be rated on parameters including raw material, water, preparing and processing food, personal hygiene, handling and storage, vending/selling, environment, cleaning, waste disposal and pest control.
Food business operators will have to ensure that they produce, sell and distribute safe and hygienic food and their premises are also clean and comply with norms. In case their food, services or premises fail in any of the criteria, the operator would need to take action unlike earlier when the inspector had a major role in ensuring food safety.