Street food set to choke on new licence raj
By Rashi Agarwal - NEW DELHI
Published: 29th Jul 2012 08:42:08 AM
Come August 4, and street food may get a little hard to find in the capital. That’s when the Food Safety and Standards (Licensing and Registration of Food Businesses) Regulations 2011 come into effect after a year’s delay. All tea stalls, dhabas, fruit and vegetable sellers, grocery shops, milk vendors, canteens, caterers, restaurants, hotels, food processors will have to obtain a new food safety licence by August 4. Even trucks and other vehicles engaged in transporting food will have to obtain licences. Unlicensed food businesses will become “illegal” after August 4, according to the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI).
“The regulation is in place to ensure that the food being served meets the minimum standards of hygiene and safety. The regulations were formulated by the FSSAI under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. Every outlet needs to obtain a licence and maintain a certain level of hygiene,” said a senior FSSAI official.
He added: “There are many parameters in starting a food business, and people have to be made aware of these and clarifications with respect to the online and manual licensing and registration system. Getting their businesses registered is the need of the hour as quality and standard of food being served can be monitored, even for a ‘chaiwala’.”
After August 4, raids will be conducted and outlets found not having the licence or not registered will be shut down till they apply and ensure proper hygiene. Fines could be imposed too. For getting these licences, the stall owner needs to apply to the registration authority that will carry out an inspection and then issue a licence that needs to be renewed every year. Identity cards will be issued with the new licences.
FSSAI officials the new regulations will benefit small businesses for they can attract more customers by displaying identity cards. “The customers would be assured of hygienic products, even if the stall is small,” the official added.
Several eating joints in the city remain unaware of impending doom. Others say they don’t know the procedure of getting their stalls registered. “It is a very bad idea. By putting these stalls we are able to earn our living. Now getting them registered will cost us some thousands. Where will be get this money from?” says Amrit Singh, who runs a chola-kulcha stall near Maharani Bagh.