Anyone dealing with food operations needs to have a registration from Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI). This was stressed at the DNA Hygiene for Kitchen workshop at Hinduja Hospital on Wednesday.
Some participants expressed doubts about the need for registration, arguing that they are not commercialising the food cooked at the hospital kitchens.
“So why do we need any certification under the new FSSAI?” they asked. During the workshop, experts on the new FSSAI Act explained that any person involved in food operations needs to have the registration. The third workshop of DNA Hygiene for Kitchen campaign was attended by many administration representatives of city hospitals. “There is a misconception among hospital administration that they do not need any certification or licensing for their kitchens and food products as they are not commercialising the food content,” said Dr VG Chapke, senior quality manager at the Equinox Lab, an expert on the new FSSAI Act. “But under the new FSSAI Act, the government wants to bring all food operators under a single umbrella to have regulations in control.” The new FSSAI Act has been implemented for all those in food business and hospital kitchens are not excluded. ”Generally, kitchens servicing food to patients and their relatives are separate. The hospitals feel that the one catering to patients’ kin is commercialised,” said Chapke. “Even in the kitchen that serves patients, the eater is paying for it. Most importantly, it is a kitchen that serves masses and so needs regulation to avoid any contamination. Hence, this has to come under the FSSAI Act.” He added: “If kitchens that cater to the patients’ relatives have a business of more than 12 lakh, then they need to get the licensing done. If they have a licence, the registration is not needed. However, if the business is below Rs12 lakh, then the hospital needs to get the registration done.” A participant, who did not wished to be named, said that hospitals were into health services and food service came as a supporting branch. “Hospital kitchens serve food only to the patients. There is another section where patients’ relatives eat, for which they pay. But I don’t think that even that is commercialisation of food services.”