‘Best before’ stickers and hygiene rating app to be introduced in Kerala | Thiruvananthapuram
The Kerala government has rolled out a slew of measures to improve food quality. Mayonnaise made using raw uncooked eggs has been banned. 'Best before' stickers have been made
compulsory for food packets delivered from hotels and restaurants. To introduce public oversight in the functioning of food businesses, a hygiene rating app has been created. These
measures were announced on Thursday by health minister Veena George. Mayonnaise is an egg-heavy thick dip served along with popular snacks like burgers, sandwiches and French
fries. The ban has been imposed on the basis of the scientific understanding that Salmonella bacteria could be present in uncooked eggs. "If someone feels that they cannot do
without eggs, they can use pasteurised eggs to prepare mayonnaise," the health minister said. The decisions were taken during a meeting the minister had with representatives of
hotels, restaurants, bakeries, catering services, and way side eateries on January 11. The meeting also decided to introduce 'best before' stickers, just like in branded packaged
food products, on parcels given out daily by food businesses. The minister said these proposed stickers will have two important pieces of information. One, the time of packing.
Two, the time within which the food should be consumed. The representatives of food businesses have agreed to introduce the stickers. Steps will also be taken to set certain
hygiene standards in food businesses. "For employees in restaurants and hotels, health cards are a must," the minister said. "It is the responsibility of the management," she said.
The government has also mooted the creation of a food safety supervisor in all food outlets. Further, the minister said a hygiene rating app, which would soon hit Playstore, had
been created. The public can download the app and play the role of a watchdog. Though the minister said that licensing and registration were of critical importance and were
mandatory, Kerala does not have an efficient mechanism to ensure that food businesses are brought within a supervisory system. Under the Food Safety and Standards (FSS) Act,
licence is mandatory for any Food Business Operator (FBO) like hotels, restaurants and catering businesses with an annual turnover of more than Rs 12 lakh. On the other hand, petty
FBOs with an annual turnover of less than Rs 12 lakh, like small retailers, street vendors, or temporary stall holders, will have to register with authorities like the local
self-governments or the GST Department. Reality is, there is an inordinate delay, ranging from 60 to even 120 days, in issuing licenses. Under the FSS Act, licenses are supposed to