INDIA – The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is taking strides towards bolstering the nation’s food safety ecosystem through its comprehensive Food Safety Training and Certification (FoSTaC) programme.

This initiative targets a crucial segment of the food industry: food handlers operating within State/UT Bhawans and government office canteens across the National Capital. The effort is part of a broader ambition to enhance food safety standards and instill a culture of continuous improvement in food handling practices across India.

So far, the initiative has successfully conducted training sessions at four State Bhawans – Bihar, Karnataka, Maharashtra, and Sikkim – covering all food handlers. Additionally, the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) at North Block has also participated in these training sessions.

The agenda is clear: to elevate food safety standards across government-operated food establishments, with more sessions planned for Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, and Manipur Bhawans.

This initiative aligns with the goal announced by the Hon’ble Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare on World Food Safety Day 2023, aiming to train 2.5 million food business operators over the next three years.

As of the fiscal year 2023-24, a commendable total of 3,58,224 food handlers have been trained under the FoSTaC programme across the country, reports FoodTech Biz.

The FoSTaC programme covers an extensive range of crucial topics, from food safety rules and regulations to personal hygiene, allergen management, and emerging trends in the food industry.

This curriculum is designed to ensure that food handlers are well-versed in best practices, aiming to reduce food safety incidents and promote a healthier dining environment for the public.

Successful participants are awarded the Food Safety Supervisor (FSS) certificate, a nationally recognized credential that underscores their competency in maintaining food safety standards.

Broader impact

The decision to extend FoSTaC training to all State/UT Bhawans and government offices is a strategic move to empower a larger segment of food handlers with essential knowledge and skills. This nationwide educational effort is expected to have a substantial impact on improving food safety practices across various sectors.

Furthermore, FSSAI’s proactive approach extends to the airline catering industry. In a recent meeting with leading flight caterers and airlines, FSSAI emphasized the need for greater transparency regarding inflight food, urging compliance with the Food Safety and Standards (Labelling and Display) Regulations, 2020.

This initiative aims to enhance passenger confidence and satisfaction by providing detailed information about the food served onboard. Additionally, the emphasis on specialized training for catering staff signifies FSSAI’s commitment to elevating food safety and hygiene standards across the board.

For all the latest food safety news from Africa and the World, subscribe to our NEWSLETTER, follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn, like us on Facebook, and subscribe to our YouTube channel.