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Food companies try to meet safety norms

NEW DELHI: Food retail outlets and restaurants are busy revisiting their working models with the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) cracking the whip to ensure stricter food safety measures in the sector. While large chains claim to have ensured adherence to the new norms already, small-to-mid level restaurant chains are gearing up to avoid being penalized after the February 4 deadline this year.

FSSAI had mandated in August 2011 that all eateries in the country, which includes multinationals such as KFC, Pizza Hut, McDonalds and domestic restaurant chains, canteens and cafeterias will need a ‘food business operator’ licence from the authority.

The organization had also come up with a list of stringent hygiene measures to be practiced at these outlets. Failure to ensure compliance with these measures would subject companies to “heavy fine”, an FSSAI official said. The norms, which were to be implemented from August 2012, were postponed by six months to allow more time to companies. FSSAI has a wide range of measures to ensure food safety at eateries, but officials said until now food companies could voluntarily approach the authority in case of any safety related issues. Under the new norms, FSSAI will randomly conduct checks at these outlets as well as increase the frequency of such inspections.

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