India’s FSSAI or Food Safety and Standards Authority under the Ministry of Health and Welfare is an autonomous entity. There are strict FSSAI requirements for running a restaurant and the FSSAI license must be procured before beginning a restaurant business. Complying with the guidelines is a must if you want to continue running your restaurant as FSSAI and other such regulatory bodies are becoming extremely vigilant and failing to meet the criteria set would definitely mean shutting down. To avoid such a scenario, here is a list of FSSAI requirements that must be followed in your restaurant.

FSSAI guidelines.

General Requirements 

Licenses, notices and certificates are required to be shown. Restaurants Special instructions on selling food should be available if necessary. The restaurant must have adequate knowledge of food handling procedures and daily monitoring of the health status of food handlers. To order to comply with the FSSAI regulations, food safety warnings must be shown depending on the type of product.

Raw Materials

Get raw materials from reputable and well-known suppliers. Until buying the product, obvious degradation, odorlessness, signs of thawing foreign body contamination must be tested. The use of raw materials shall be based on FIFO (First In First Out), FEFO (First Expired First Out) and FMFO (First Manufactured First Out) and the procurement of materials shall be based on sufficient storage facilities so that there is no accidental contamination or misuse of temperature, especially in the case of frozen foods.

Water and Ice 

The FSSAI recommendations specifically advise restaurants to use safe water, i.e. water free from contaminants, pesticides or environmental hazards for all their operations including the use of ice as freezing does not remove water pollutants. Therefore, water for drinking, cooking, shaving, washing hands and making ice and beverages must be potable and kept away from non-potable water. Water must be stored in sealed, clean containers with taps for disposal, and these water containers should be routinely drained, washed and dried at the end of the day, and water drainage must be properly maintained to avoid contamination of food.

 Formulation

 FSSAI lays down specific recommendations for foods with high salt, sugar, acid or low humidity levels. Consumers must be kept informed by showing ingredients that can be allergens such as milk, egg, fish, nuts and so on. Upon baking, food must be kept covered and protected if the exposure must be controlled and restricted with uncooked ingredients. Sandwiches have to be freshly prepared and if fresh salads or fruit dishes are seasonal, it would be preferable.

Preparation and processing

The appropriate preparation and processing technologies developed by FSSAI allow the processing or cooking of raw materials to be adequate in order to eliminate and minimize hazards, which could have been initially introduced, to acceptable levels. The correct processing protocol must be followed to ensure that no meat is recontaminated.Veg and Non-Veg foods must be kept separate from raw materials throughout the cooking process at all times. The raw and cooked food must not have direct or indirect contact. Any place in which food comes into contact with must be clean and frozen foods thawed to adequate levels to ensure adequate heat penetration before cooking. Cooking oil must not be re-used and fermented foods must be carefully controlled to prevent pathogens from growing. In-process raw materials and ingredients must also be kept safe in order to avoid contamination.

FSSAI Specifications for the processing and storage of fruits and vegetables 

Only fruits and vegetables safe from cross-contamination and properly stored must be used after removal of parts in poor condition. Whole fruits and vegetables must be washed in drinking water before use and uncooked, ready to eat fruits and vegetables must first be disinfected with 50 ppm c.

FSSAI Guidelines for the processing and handling of non-veg products

 In order to prevent cross-contamination, raw meat and processed meat should be kept away from other foods and surfaces. When switching from one kind of meat to another, hands must be thoroughly washed, and proper cooking of all non-veg foods must be ensured. Anti-bacterials must be used on all surfaces that come into contact with raw meat or poultry, and for sufficient heat penetration frozen .

FSSAI Guidelines for the Transportation, Handling and Storage of Prepared Food 

 It state that vehicles or transport used to carry cooked food must be clean and committed to this very purpose. Minimum distribution time and temperature constant should be maintained in order to prevent microbial proliferation. Veg food shall be placed on separate racks above non-veg food and cooked food above uncooked food. Sealed foods should be placed in such a way that the seal remains intact, dry, fermented and acidified foods should be stored in cool dry places, and cold storage food should be distributed in small quantities.

Personal hygiene

 According to FSSAI, food safety requires the hygiene and health of all food handlers. Wearing hazardous materials such as jewelry or other physical hazards such as bandages or a careless attitude of food handlers or restaurateurs can also contaminate food items and damage meat handlers ‘ safety. When infected, staff must never touch food. It is necessary to clean proper clothing, use hairnets and gloves and avoid using street shoes when preparing food.

Washing hands is a must for food handlers, so clean water, soap, sanitizers and hand dryers should be provided on a regular basis. Food handlers must NOT smoke or chew tobacco, betel nuts or gums, touch the mouth, nose or any other part of the body with food, spit, sneeze or cough, touch ready to eat bare-handed meat or handle food at the same time.

Selling appliances, equipment and utensils 

All food equipment must be built and maintained in such a way that it can be fully washed and sanitized to avoid the build-up of microbials. The precautions listed in the FSSAI guidelines include the use of properly designed and built equipment / usensils made of non-absorbent food grade material, utensils for raw food must be segregated from those of cooked food, reusable utensils must be properly disinfected and disposable products such as straws, disposable cups etc. must not be reused.

Environment and Surroundings

 Food must not be polluted due to an unhygienic environment so FSSAI guidelines state that food preparation and sale areas are clean and dry with a proper ventilation system in an airy atmosphere and not a humid spot. There should be no accumulation of waste in areas close to food, and near this area no one should be allowed to spit or wash hands etc. Toilets should not be opened directly to areas for food processing, exhibition or sale. Food route and water drainage should be maintained properly and food waste should not be protected by decorations in the establishment.

Waste Disposal and Pest Control 

Biodegradable, non-biodegradable, liquid and solid waste should be separated by installing different containers, waste should be disposed of as required by law, all containers should be covered, cleaned regularly and adequate pest control should be followed. High-risk food 

In addition to the above guidelines, there are specific guidelines for foods listed as high-risk food items such as pastries, dairy products, chutneys, sauces, raw meat, etc. There must be extra caution in processing and preparation in order to avoid cross-contamination and the misuse of temperature must be avoided.

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