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75% vendors display food without covering; food exposed to dust: Analysis
Saturday, 26 March, 2016, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Nandita Vijay, Bengaluru
CSIR-CFTRI and the Academy of Scientific & Innovative Research (AcSIR) have reported that 75% of the street vendors displayed food without covering, which is a major area of safety concern. Further, majority of food vendors are found too close to thoroughfare, which exposes food to dust and particulate matter.

Street foods account for a significant proportion of daily urban food consumption for millions of consumers in urban areas, representing the least expensive and most accessible means of obtaining a meal outside home. However, these street foods often do not meet proper hygienic standards and may lead to food-borne illnesses.

The main objective of the present study was to assess the adherence to food hygiene practices and FSSAI (Food Safety & Standards Authority of India) guidelines by street food vendors in Mysuru city. Also effect of design, construction and maintenance of street food cart and their effect on food quality was assessed.  

Vendors and consumers were selected randomly for nine zones in the city. In each zone, 22 vendors and 22 consumers were interviewed with a questionnaire in Kannada. Overall, it included 200 vendors and 200 customers, which accounted for 14% of number of street vendors.

The survey was conducted by AcSIR doctoral students of CSIR-CFTRI, Mysore: Anusha Jahagirdar, Darshan Narayan and Kamireddy Kiran. Besides the study was also supported by Deepa, Srilakshmi and Prajwal.

The key findings of the survey revealed that major serving from the carts included chats such as pani puri, south Indian food like dosa and idli and Chinese items like gobi manchurian. The survey highlighted that only 6% of food was cooked at home, 62% partially at home and the rest at the vending site.

The preference is found more for vegetarian dishes at the vending cart. The street vendors expressed that cart used by them is inadequate as it involves lot of physical labour. CSIR-CFTRI and AcSIR found that this area needed a lot of attention.

Around 52% of the vendors used water from the supply of municipal corporation and 15% from mineral water. The remaining 33% was sourced from borewell supply. The customers expressed preference for mineral water and usage of eco-friendly plates.

The consumers expressed that the proposed food zones by city corporation could address these issues for evolving a better and hygienic surroundings for street vendors. Further increase in awareness regarding hygienic practices and FSSAI rules was sought by street vendors, noted CSIR-CFTRI and AcSIR.

The period of survey was between February 15 and March 3, 2016. Earlier this week, CSIR-CFTRI organised a half-day workshop on ‘Ensuring Safe Street Food’ in India’s Cleanest City. Prof. Ram Rajasekharan, director, CSIR-CFTRI, Mysuru, said that the task on hand was to impart scientific knowledge and expertise to ensure access to clean, safe, nutritious and affordable street food in the city. There was need for creating awareness and disseminating basic and essential knowledge to street vendors, making them responsible foodhandlers.
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