Food safety: Here’s why even licensed restaurants escape scrutiny

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Several people believe the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India's certificate, which is placed at food centers, ensures the food is safe and hygienic. In reality, it cannot be taken for granted.

Operators should adhere to their registration mandates, while authorities should make sure that they are following their directives. However, it remains a fact that these things are not happening as they should. Corruption is not the only factor contributing to this.

For instance, restaurants with annual turnover up to 12 lakh per annum can get their basic registration by paying just Rs 100. The annual turnover bracket changes with the type of license (state, central) the operator applies for. This can be done online or by visiting the concerned office with the documents needed. The license can be renewed in this fashion. But this does not guarantee that officials are physically visiting the food centres for scrutiny.

Lack of sufficient staff in the department is one of the major reasons.

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Regional pressures and favouritism also make the process faulty. The notion is not to reject the application for licenses. While during renewal stage, operators temporarily adhere to standards to create a smokescreen, suggest reports.

(With inputs from KV Kala)

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