The warning of the food and drugs administration to street food vendors on potential ‘microbiological contamination’ while handling banknotes and food at the same time has fallen on deaf ears as the vendors are not complying with the directions issued by the FDA.
A visit by this reporter to various food joints at Miramar and Church Square has brought to the fore that a majority of the workers at the kiosks serve food without using gloves.
They were seen handling cash with bare hand.
However, there were very few kiosks where street food vending operators were using gloves but only in one hand. It was also observed that a few vendors were using gloves only while serving pani-puri
while the other type of food was served with bare hands.
At some kiosks, a common cloth piece was used by the food vendors to wipe hands.
FDA director Jyoti Sardesai had in a press release issued recently cautioned that handling of the banknotes with unclean hands, use of saliva while counting the notes and their storage under unhygienic conditions could lead to contamination of hands and food by harmful microorganisms.
Hence the FDA has recommended that gloves be used to handle food and bare hands should be used to handle banknotes and coins.
Even though the Corporation of the City of Panaji has placed dustbins at designated places to maintain cleanliness, the vendors have thrown hygiene norms to the winds.
Interestingly, neither the street food vendors nor the people visiting these kiosks are health and hygiene conscious.
Sardesai told this daily said that as per the FSSAI direction, the FDA is not implementing enforcement laws to punish such vendors for non-compliance as of now, but only concentrating on creating awareness and educating them.
She added that at a later stage surprise inspections will be conducted and food vendors will have to face the music for not following the recommendations.
Source:: The Navhind Times