More than 500 vendors from all over India participate in training programme
New Delhi: People, especially foreigners, visiting Delhi often complain of the Delhi Belly syndrome, even as most enjoy the gorgeously tempting street food sold at every nook and corner of the city.
To beat the negative tummy experiences, more than 500 street food vendors from all over India joined a mass training programme on food safety and hygiene, held at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium on Thursday.
Pledging to work towards ensuring food hygiene and safety ahead of the three-day (December 11-13) food festival, the vendors hoped to do good business all year round.
Dalchand Kashyap, a vendor selling chaat (spicy snacks) for the last 24 years said, “I have learnt a lot from such workshops. The authorities even arranged to send me to Singapore early this year to learn the basics of hygiene, upkeep of food and also how to neatly display it.”
A third generation street food vendor, Kashyap said, “It has added to my income as, seeing the hygiene level I maintain, people from far off places too come to me to savour the snacks and appreciate my food habits.”
Organised by the National Association of Street Vendors of India (NASVI), the workshop was addressed by Dr Mrinalini Darswal, Food Safety Commissioner in the Delhi government.
Appreciating the work undertaken by NASVI, she pointed out that she had witnessed remarkable change in street vendors’ attitude. “The fact that they use caps to cover their heads, clip their nails and keep them clean and use gloves to serve food, has added to their professionalism.”
The event was also attended by S.S. Gill, special secretary, Ministry of Urban Development, Bimal Dubey, Director, Food Safety and Standards Authority of India, Dr Atreyi Ganguli, World Health Organisation officer, municipal executives, health officers, dietitians and nutritionists.
Speaking to Gulf News, Anurag Shankar, programme manager of NASVI, said, “Street food vendors add to the country’s economy in a substantial way. Serving all — from a cart puller to an office executive, even though they know to cook, due to lack of education, are not familiar with cooking and serving standards. Training them will keep the masses healthy.”
With a membership of over 750,000 vendors, NASVI has been aggressively working with roadside entrepreneurs to promote the depth and diversity of India’s street food for the last 20 years. But of late, it has also begun focusing on health and nutrition for all.