For travelers to the Indian capital, who have been warned off its street food owing to the fears of poor hygiene, there’s good news.
The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India is working with the National Association of Street Vendors in India (NASVI), an umbrella organization of tens of thousands of street vendors from 23 states, to train pavement chefs in hygiene and create eight safe street food zones in popular areas like Karolbagh, Chandni Chowk, Paharganj, Nizamuddin railway station, Sarojini Nagar and New Delhi railway station. Some vendors were also sent to the World Streetfood Congress in Singapore earlier this year to learn about hygiene and food safety.
The safe zones will be launched within the month.
India has more than five million street vendors, who sell delicious regional and local cuisine. However, there have often been concerns about the manner in which street food is handled, cooked or stored.
“The place of preparation is not always clean, well lit and with proper sanitation facilities” says Arbind Singh, founder and coordinator of NASVI. “This is a major reason behind street food vending being considered as an important public health issue.”
A survey by the association in August this year had found that awareness about hygiene among street vendors was very low. Most did not wear an apron or gloves and were unaware of how to store raw, cooked or leftover food.