The people of Coimbatore can now eat out without the worry of unsafe food, thanks to the effective implementation of the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) act. Rigorous measures to implement proper food safety practices all over Tamil Nadu has resulted in the number of food business operators registered or licensed by the food safety department to increase almost three-fold.
It’s not just restaurants, bakeries and snacks manufacturers, but also many home bakers and home-based catering services that have now been brought under the food safety ambit according to reports from officials from the department.
“There are about 29,000 food business operators, which means we have managed to achieve at least 60% compliance. The compliance is higher among licensees or business operators with a turnover of more than Rs 12 lakh. Smaller businesses have to catch up,” designated food safety officer Vijayalalithambigai told TOI. She also added that from less than 6,000 outlets of food businesses registered under the FSSAI act in the district as of last October, the count has gone up to 17,000 as per this week’s data.
Owners of new shops and eateries are being educated by food safety officials on the rules regarding the use of oil, water, packaging and serving material when they apply for registration. “We tell them not to use newspapers or printed papers to serve food and also against reusing cooking oil and artificial colors. We educate them about ways to store raw materials. We have also told them not to buy cheap tea and coffee powder and even milk, because that may be adulterated. As a result, the quality of food they offer has gone up,” TOI reported a food safety officer from the department as saying.
In the last three days alone, 19 food business operators and nine small shops have been issued with notices asking them to obtain licenses under FSSAI. “In places like Valparai, the compliance is hardly 50%, because of the terrain and the fact that many estates and homes run homestays there offer food,” Vijayalalithambigai added while talking about the compliance within the corporation limits being higher when compared to the rural areas.