After rotten food and unhygienic practices have been raising hackles at several varsities in the city, students can now finally heave a sigh of relief with the the University Grants Commission (UGC) coming to their rescue. The UGC in a fresh circular has made it mandatory for messes and canteens in educational institutions to get a licence from the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006.
UGC secretary Jaspal Sandhu said that the Act provides a statutory framework for regulating the manufacture, storage, distribution and sale of food to ensure health and hygiene. As per UGC directions, FSSAI authorities will now organise training of food handlers working in educational institutions to ensure safe and wholesome food is provided to the students. It may be recalled that students of Osmania University (OU) had earlier this month protested and raised objections over the poor quality of water and food being served at the mess. During the protest, hundreds of women students had blocked the main thoroughfare inside the campus for more than 12 hours.”The stock used for making food in hostels is usually old and stale. The university does not conduct any inspection on the way contractors run the hostel mess,” said Syeda Shahazadi, a student leader at OU. In May , students from Osmania School of Nursing were hospitalised because of food poisoning. Not just OU, but many complaints have been made at other central varsities, too.
Now, food authorities will inspect colleges and universities to check if their canteens have adhered to norms. “The FSSAI had extended the deadline to get licences for all the educational institutions till August 5. Those who haven’t got licence from FSSAI will be served notices and action will be taken against them as per the rules,” said Balaji Raju, assistant food controller of Hyderabad.
Source: Times of India