INDIA – The East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC) is set to introduce a policy of granting health trade licenses to street-food vendors to enhance food safety, becoming the “first local body” to introduce such a policy.

The Mayor Shyam Sunder Aggarwal, said he has ”given anticipatory approval” to this policy and it will be brought in the Standing Committee later and subsequently in the EDMC House.

For the vendors to be issued with the license, they have to first meet the minimum requirements laid down by the corporation.  Aggrawal said licenses will be issued to only one of the family members and street food vending will be allowed on hand-driven carts or other means as approved by the zone vending committee.

The mayor said operational hours will be from 8 am to 10 pm, , adding the licensees will mandatorily undergo training under the Food Safety Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) or Skill Development Programme or both.

“Street-food vending should not cause a nuisance by odour, litter or noise, and obstruction to the traffic flow and pedestrian movement,” he said.

Adding on the issue, EDMC Commissioner Vikas Anand said vendors should use biodegradable disposable serving items to serve food in place of single-use plastic and thermocol items.

According to the authority, licensees and other food handlers involved in street-food vending would have to be vaccinated against Covid.

“Licensees and other food handlers, suffering from infectious disease shall not be permitted to work. Proper arrangements for the collection of waste material has to be made by the licensees under the waste management rules,” he said.

The commissioner said that with this initiative, street vendors will be brought under the license network and the corporation will ”definitely get some revenue as well”.

Meanwhile, the government of India has purposed to train the street food vendors in Odisha Street on “safe food preparation”, as part of state government efforts to sternly deal with use of adulterated raw materials in eatables.

The focus on food-safety measures comes amid Odisha rising to the fourth position in the Food Safety Index for 2020-21 fiscal from the 13th position in the previous year, and 26th in 2018-19.

At a recent virtual review meeting of the food safety advisory committee, Chief Secretary Suresh Chandra Mohapatra said the vendors must be made aware of the dangers of adulterated food on human health.

“Training and orientation to vendors will be a definite deterrent against unsafe food,” Mohapatra said.

He directed officials to strengthen enforcement activities against adulterated food items, adding that the “criminal activity”, similar to the sale of spurious medicine, must be “mercilessly” dealt with.

The meeting also deliberated on intensifying surveillance, increasing the number of testing laboratories, involving private labs, and other food fortification measures.

According to an official state release, in the 2019-2020 financial year, 576 out of 3,049 samples were marked for adulteration and misbranding. The figure for the last fiscal stood at 446 out of 1,984 samples till October.

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