In a desperate bid to improve quality of its various services to high-profile passengers of its premium trains, the Indian Railways, which runs 12,000 trains, is now bent on achieving an ISO 22000 certificate.
The railway board has decided to arm itself with the latest food safety management system after receiving several complaints about unhygienic food from travellers in Rajdhani and Shatabdi trains.
A gap analysis—comparison of actual performance with potential—of the Ahmedabad-Delhi Rajdhani Express was completed this week to check whether the services during the 13-hour journey in this superfast train met the standards of ISO 22000 granted by the Geneva-based International Organisation for Standards for food, cleanliness and customer service quality.
Tests for other Rajdhanis to check whether they follow the norms adhered to by leading hotels and restaurants in India and abroad will also be conducted soon as part of railways’ efforts to effectively redress complaints of poor quality service on its first-rate flying trains.
An Ahmedabad division senior railway official told South Asia Mail that the process was on for procuring testing kits that would instantly reveal the quality of food served on trains.
The quality of on-train service has been a major concern for the railways which was also planning to do away with pantry system but with ISO 22000, it will be easy to measure performance against a universally recognised benchmark.
ISO 22000 is a global food safety management system that can be applied to any organization in the food chain, farm to fork. Becoming certified to the ISO 22000 lets a company show its customers that they have a food safety management system in place, thus providing customer confidence in the product.
Last month, guidelines were issued to all railway zones to provide special meals on demand to diabetic and heart patients among passengers travelling on Rajdhani and Shatabdi trains.
Sugar-free meals are now provided to those suffering from diabetes but they would have to indicate their preference in advance.
Diabetics hitherto had to carry their own food from home for the long journey or had to avoid most of the meals served to them resulting in wastage of food, adding that now they could enjoy their train travel as no extra charges would be collected from them.