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Have a hearty meal at IFFI 2016

Unlike every year, Food & Drug Administration (FDA), held a special training program for all the food stall owners at IFFI prior to the festival, with focus on various aspects including sanitation, hygiene and customer relations. NT BUZZ finds out more and whether the demonetisation issue has affected the food stall owners
Vice Chairman of Entertainment Society of Goa (ESG) Rajendra Talak informed that the responsibility of food and snack provision stalls is allotted to Food & Drug Administration (FDA), Government of Goa this year. He says: “We are not catering to any food stall this time. In fact the responsibility is given to Food & Drug Administration. They have conducted a training programme for the food stall bearers at IFFI so that they maintain the hygiene.”
As a part of the training held before the inaugural of IFFI 2016, food stall personnel were instructed about matters like sanitation and hygiene among other aspects. To maintain and adhere to strict standards, the FDA provided every person at the stall with a uniform, head gear and hand gloves. It has been made mandatory for the workers to wear the outfit at the time of their duty. Further, they have been asked to concentrate on their work and to cover the utensils as soon as they are done using them. The food too is to be covered at all times to prevent insects settling on them, and the edibles that have not been utilised need to be preserved properly as that they can be used the next time.
Most importantly the workers were trained to keep their counters clean and neat devoid of any dirt; to wash their hands before they begin work and to clean the counters and the floor space within the stall using floor cleaners at the end of the day.
Director of FDA Goa, Salim Veljee said that on November 20 some of the officials conducted an inspection of the stalls at the site, checking if the given uniforms were in use and if the stalls kept up to the set sanitation and hygiene standards. “FDA has trained around 40 street food-stall owners of Panaji, Miramar as well as exclusive 24 IFFI allotted stall owners and given them special head gear, hand gloves, aprons with inscriptions of Project Serve Safe Food. The inspections are held every day to check on the hygiene of the food,” said Veljee.
Aman Hussain who has two stalls Yaara di Haaveli that serves chaat at Inox courtyard and main course meals at food court, says: “I attended the training that was held for us. It was for all the stall owners. We had to then train our workers. We provided them the uniforms that FDA provided us.”
He further added: “It is the second time that I have put up my stall at IFFI. I do not really remember whether such a training programme was held last year too. But I feel it’s very important to provide training because the workers keep in mind such things while they are in the restaurant kitchen but not when they are in street kitchens. Keeping in mind the health of the customers, this training programme can surely help people to trust our food.” Speaking about demonetisation he mentioned that he has an electronic card swiping machine for the convenience of customers.
Afroz Baig and his cousins have four different stalls at IFFI 2016 outside Bhagwan Mahaveer Bal Vihar Park. “We have been putting stalls at different exhibitions held across Goa. After IFFI 2014, this is the second time we have put the stalls here that serve vegetarian and non vegetarian snacks and main course items, it is also a juice stall,” says Afroz. Prioritising the safety and health of the customers, he informed that the training program is a must for the festivals like IFFI: “At the training, apart from sanitation they also guide us on how we should treat our customers and serve them respectfully. This time the staffers of FDA are on their toes and constantly inspect our stalls, this is certainly a great way to maintain the stalls.”
Afroz said that although the issue of demonetisation of currency has affected many people in the beginning, it has not really affected IFFI 2016. “I don’t have an electronic card swiping machine but people understand our problem and they tender exact change. This issue has not affected us in any way as people are co-operating,” said Afroz.

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