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India’s apex food regulators, Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has now shifted its radar to coveted education institutes such as IITs, IIMs, AIIMS etc. to tighten up food safety and hygiene standards. The move came after the regulators received pool of complaints with regards to these institutes’ hygiene standards in their canteen.
FSSAIsaid that the audit will be done by empanelled 15 agencies and they will be given one-month time to submit report.
The FSSAI said that audit has been ordered as number of cases of food safety issues have been reported from hostels/canteens of various academic institutions in India.
“In view of this, FSSAI has ordered special food safety audits of the canteens, cafeterias, hostel mess etc of 10 select large central institutes of higher education like IIT (Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Guwahati), AIIMS (Delhi and Jodhpur), IIM (Ahmedabad and Kozhikode), IISc Bangalore and IISER Kolkata,” the FSSAI said in a statement.
To strengthen the food safety surveillance system, the FSSAI has taken up audits of food business operators through third-party audit agencies.
It has empanelled 15 audit agencies in accordance with the Food Safety and Standard (Food Safety Auditing) Regulation, 2017.
The audit in select 10 institutes will help to check whether hostel mess/canteen/cafeteria where food is handled in these institutions comply with the food safety and hygiene standards prescribed under the food safety law.
“These reports will give an insight into the existing standards of food safety and hygiene of these canteens/ hostel mess etc and will help FSSAI to identify the gaps,” the authority said.
The FSSAI expected that the results of these audits will serve as guidance to these institutions to improve and maintain the standards of food safety and hygiene in their premises, the statement said.
The authority has empanelled national and international food safety audit agencies like DNV, Bureau Veritas, Intertek, MS Certification, IRCLASS, SGS, BIS, TUV, Indocert among others.
“For the time being these agencies have been provisionally empanelled since the regulation is still at draft stage,” the FSSAI said.