While safety of foods from the organized processing industry receives critical attention, the restaurant sector usually gets away with hardly any monitoring system or deterrent mode working in many developing countries including India. The mere logistics of putting in place an effective safety enforcement regime is nightmarish when it is realized that majority of catering players are in the unorganized sector with a moribund vigilance system under the local administration with neither adequate personnel nor the much needed critical laboratory infrastructure. The recent announcement by the FSSAI that hotels in New Delhi would be graded for the guidance of tourists expected to converge in the metropolis during the forth coming Commonwealth Games, is supposed to project a good impression about the country. How far its intention will be translated into ground reality remains to be seen. Contrast this "impotency" with the rigorous action taken against safety violations in a country like Ireland which can be discerned from the following report.
"The FSAI today announced that it served four closure orders and four prohibition orders on food businesses for breaches of food-safety legislation during April. A prohibition order is a temporary order that can be applied if a business is selling or storing food not fit for human consumption. A closure order meanwhile means that a business represents a very real risk to public health in respect to food safety. It cannot be lifted until action required by safety officers is taken to correct the risk. Closure orders were served on:
- Mother India restaurant, The Square, Roscommon
- Kitchen of The Central Bar, Market Square, Roscommon
- 'Honeybear' Ice cream van, Reg No. W471EOB, Shore Front, Buncrana, Donegal
- Roscommon Golf Club Restaurant, Golf Links Road, Roscommon
Prohibition orders were served on:
- Iskon Ireland Ltd, trading as Govinda's, 4 Aungier St., Dublin 2
- Iskon Ireland Ltd, trading as Govinda's restaurant, 18 Merrion Row, Dublin 2
- Iskon Ireland Ltd, trading as Govindas, 83 Middle Abbey Street, Dublin 1
- Real Brasil grocery, Unit 2, Castle Street, Roscommon
A ROSCOMMON golf-club restaurant, three restaurants run by the Hare Krishna movement and the luxury Harvey's Point Hotel in Co Donegal feature in the latest list of food safety breaches published by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI). The owner of the four-star Harvey's Point Hotel, Marc Gysling, was fined €500 and ordered to pay costs of almost €1,200 after being convicted of food hygiene breaches in Donegal District Court last month. The hotel kitchen failed to reach required standards when visited by inspectors on several occasions last year, the court heard. The hotel said an outside contractor had been hired to set a hygiene standard but this had not been completely effective".
Can Indian consumers expect a transformation from the present decadent system to a more effective enforcement regime in the foreseeable future? Conceded that India is a big country and it requires enormous resources to mount a vigilance system that can do a reasonably good job in safety monitoring but more than any thing else, there has to be a will, commitment and dedication on the part of agencies vested with authority to carry out this task. It is unlikely that such human quality can be found amongst the people who are "managing" the food safety portfolio now.