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Govt plans healthy & hygienic food streets for different parts of India

The government plans to develop 100 healthy and hygienic food streets across the country.

Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare Mansukh Mandaviya on Thursday reviewed the ‘Food Street Project’ with senior officers of his ministry and the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI).

The aim of the project is to encourage safe and healthy food practices among food businesses and community members, thus, reducing foodborne illnesses and improving overall health outcomes, officials said.

To operationalise the food streets, the National Health Mission (NHM) of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare will provide assistance of Rs. 1 crore per food street as a pilot project to support 100 such food streets at different locations in the country. The grant will be routed under NHM, in the ratio of 60:40 or 90:10, with the condition that branding of these food streets will be done as per FSSAI guidelines.

Financial assistance would be provided for activities such as the provision of safe drinking water, hand washing, toilet facilities, tiled flooring of common areas, appropriate liquid and solid waste disposal, provision of dustbins, using billboards, façade preparation and signage of permanent nature, common storage space, lighting, specialised carts for a specific type of trades, branding etc.

The initiative will be implemented through NHM in convergence with the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA), apart from FSSAI’s technical support. The technical assistance will include assistance in designing food streets, preparation of an SOP and providing training under the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) protocol.

Street food has been an integral part of the Indian food culture and has played an immense role in sustaining and shaping the Indian food economy. It is not only a source of affordable and delicious food for millions of Indians but also a major contributor to the country’s economic growth. With rapid urbanization, street food hubs have led to easy access to food but food safety and hygiene at these hubs remain a matter of concern.

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has taken various steps to improve the hygiene and food safety standards protocols for food street hubs. These initiatives include training of food handlers, independent third-party audits, and certification under the Clean Street Food Hub initiative of the Eat Right India movement.