The Eat Right Certification is an initiative of Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) where detailed guidelines and norms have been established for certifying any station as an Eat Right Railway Station. Under this initiative the FSSAI has declared Anand Vihar Terminal Railway station as the first Eat Right Station in the Northern Zone. This railway station had an audit score of 92 percent, which is the highest score pan-India.
The certification process involves a series of activities including pre-audit checks, inspection, training and audit of the station complex as well as the units where the food is handled viz., catering stalls, kiosks, quick food joints, food plazas etc. The process starts with registration of ‘intent for the station’ to achieve an ERC certification with FSSAI. This is followed by the collection of primary data and then pre-audit checks. The vendors and food handlers are given a basic level training on food safety, hygiene and sanitation practices under the Food Safety and Training Certification (FoSTaC) programme.
The audit involves various parameters to assess the practices and processes followed at the Anand Vihar railway terminal. The broad criteria involved assessment of following two areas namely:
- Station Complex
- Individual food units viz., catering stalls, kiosks, quick food joints, food plazas, etc.
For the Station Complex, the aspects related to infrastructure, quality of drinking water for passengers, facilities of public washrooms, cleanliness etc. were covered. For the food units, the following parameters were assessed, checked and audited:
- Food Safety and Hygiene Check – Aspects covering infrastructure, operations control, maintenance and sanitation, personal hygiene and training etc.
- Healthy and local food monitoring – Aspects related to availability of healthy, fortified, local and seasonal food
- Food Waste Reduction and Management
Hindustan Unilever was involved in the process as an implementation partner and RIR certification as auditors. The detailed post-audit of ANVT was undertaken by the 3rd party auditors on 15 January 2020 and ANVT was rated in the “Exemplary” category with a score of 92.08 percent with a rating of five (5).
Chairperson FSSAI Smt. Rita Teaotia congratulated IRSDC for achieving such an exemplary score. She said that the FSSAI has been taking several measures towards effective implementation of various regulations, targeted enforcement and compliance efforts to ensure availability of safe food. At the same time the FSSAI is also trying to leverage partnerships at all levels to ensure safety and hygiene of food, wherever it is being served.
FSSAI has taken a cluster approach to ensure that the concept of Eat Right Certification (ERC) rolls-out across the country. The partnership with Indian Railways is one of the largest sectors as it sees a huge footfall of citizens every day. She recognised and lauded the efforts of the IRSDC and said “I must place on record their efforts towards implementation of this unique concept”. Ms. Teaotia also highlighted the unique partnership and called it an “example of a true partnership between Government organisations in association with the private sector involving implementation partners from the industry, training providers and third-party auditors”.
On the other hand, Mr Sanjeev Kumar Lohia, Managing Director & CEO, IRSDC called the mentioned “Eat Right Certification” a unique concept and a very good initiative by FSSAI. He said that “we are glad to be associated with FSSAI and would continue to ensure that the food available across the outlets here will be prepared in the right hygiene and sanitary conditions, stored at proper temperature and served safely.”
Anand Vihar is the third Eat Right Station after Mumbai Central and Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus Railway Station that has the top-most ranking and it is a moment of pride for IRSDC.