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Eating out frequently? 80% eateries in India don’t have food safety licence

1,June, 2019
 

Out of the 2.49 million food business operators (FBOs) in India, only 467,000 or nearly 20% have a food safety licence

New Delhi: It may leave a bad (read unhealthy) taste in your mouth if you are eating out frequently! Out of the 2.49 million food business operators (FBOs) in India, only 467,000 or nearly 20% have a food safety licence, says ‘NRAI India Food Services Report 2019’. The study covered restaurants, eateries, dhabas and kiosks, among other channels.

Findings of the study have compelled the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India to speed up registration of small food businesses, the Economic Times said in a report.

According to the ET report, last week, FSSAI asked the Food and Drug Administration across states to issue licences within two months of an application being filed if no inadequacy is found. The food safety authority also said that petty food businesses can start operations if registration is not granted or denied.

This means if an inspection is not ordered within a week or no decision is communicated within a month, small food businesses may start their business, according to FSSAI’s letter to commissioners of food safety of all states and union territories. A copy of the letter was reviewed by ET.

"FSSAI has received representations from food business operators regarding non-issuance or nonprocessing of their licence and registration within a stipulated timeframe. This causes undue inconvenience and delays in commencing food businesses by FBOs,” the business daily quoted the letter as saying and FSSAI CEO Pawan Kumar Agarwal also confirmed the details to ET.

Worth mentioning here is India’s food service sector generates nearly Rs 4.2 lakh crore revenue annually with 65% coming from unorganised businesses. NRAI expects the share of this unorganised segment to drop to 57% by 2023. “These unorganised establishments are not registered under FSSAI or GST, and do put public health and tax at risk. With consumer awareness, FSSAI’s vigilance and delisting by aggregators, we see this tilt towards a much-needed formalisation of the sector,” the business daily quoted Rahul Singh, president of NRAI as saying. In fact, nearly half the licensed eateries are in just two states-—Tamil Nadu with 116,000 FBOs and Maharashtra with 90,530 FBOs.

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