HRAWI Unanimous With FSSAI; Hopes For The Unorganized Players To Be Within FSSAI’s Purview
Mumbai: The Hotel and Restaurant Association of Western India (HRAWI) has advocated the restructuring of Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) to further strengthen its functions and to better regulate the Food Business Operators (FBOs) in the country. As specified by FSSAI, 04th August 2015 is the last date to acquire licenses to operate FBOs. HRAWI has appealed to the FBOs to obtain licenses and be acquiescent with FSSAI’s guidelines prior to the deadline.
The HRAWI has also expressed apprehension concerning the large unorganized FBOs and FSSAI’s role and reach to keep these in its purview.
“The fact that FSSAI will have a much better and robust infrastructure is good news not just for the hospitality industry but for the common man who consumes outside of home. We are glad that the Health Ministry has stepped up and we support the call unanimously. However, there is also the unorganized part of this sector that needs to be kept in FSSAI’s ambit. Our concern remains that street vendors and eateries which are non-compliant to standards, continue to operate and could pose serious health hazards,” says Mr. Bharat Malkani, President, HRAWI.
There are approximately 250,000 road-side eateries in Mumbai, serving anything from vada-pav to tandoori chicken. They operate on the footpaths or above gutters with indigenously built stalls and they use the nearest source of water to wash or rinse their utensils.
“We suspect if these eateries have licences to operate a business let alone having the licence to serve food. Maintaining cleanliness and hygiene are a distant dream and yet they continue to thrive. By running businesses without licenses they are discounted on taxes. Obviously they are making profits and eating into businesses of the certified FBOs and most importantly they are a threat to health,” adds Mr. Malkani.
“At present, the industry is so hard-pressed with taxes that new investors are keeping away from the business. Old hotels are finding it difficult to survive. In the scenario, FSSAI’s intervention will help the industry in the long run. We hope that there will be a hard check on eating joints for licenses and defined food safety standards which will not only restrain illegal operations of FBOs but will also help to regularize the standards of the Indian food industry on a whole,” concludes Mr. Malkani.
The HRAWI has also indicated that they may schedule a training session shortly for FBOs who seek guidance on the matter.