The Quality Council of India (QCI) in collaboration with the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has launched a scheme for approval of Hygiene Rating Audit Agencies aimed at scaling up the number of recognised Hygiene Rating Audit Agencies in the country.

The recognised Hygiene Rating Audit Agency will verify the compliance by the FBOs with food hygiene and safety procedures laid by FSSAI.

The scheme was launched here at an event.

Arun Singhal, CEO, FSSAI informed that, “Hygiene Rating Scheme can be instrumental in creating awareness amongst the consumers and developing a culture of self-compliance amongst food business operators. It will improve quality of food supply and increase demand as well. I urge all eligible food businesses to implement the Hygiene Rating Scheme in their premises.”

Adil Zainulbhai, chairman, QCI elaborated that Hygiene Rating and its recognition scheme is an initiative of FSSAI and QCI, and will help in improving the confidence of the Indian consumer and food service operators in the basic hygiene and quality of the food.

Dr R. P. Singh, secretary general, on the occasion added that this initiative will help consumers to choose the right outlets and will provide incentive to food outlets to create trust of their brand and improve their visibility within this growing sector.

Meanwhile, FSSAI is already running an initiative of ‘Food Hygiene Rating Scheme’, which is a certification system for food businesses supplying food directly to consumers.

According to FSSAI, the food establishments are rated based on food hygiene and safety conditions observed at the time of audit. The hygiene rating will be in the form of smileys (1 up to 5) and the certificate should be displayed prominently in the consumer facing area. The recognised Hygiene Rating Audit Agencies will be responsible for verifying the compliance with food hygiene and safety procedures laid by FSSAI and get Hygiene Rating.

The scheme aims to allow consumers to make informed decisions pertaining to the food outlets where they eat by encouraging food businesses to improve their hygiene and safety standards.

Currently, this scheme is applicable for Food service establishments (such as hotels, restaurants, cafeteria, dhabhas, etc.), sweet shops, bakeries and meat retail stores