New Delhi: With the Commonwealth Games around the corner, restaurants in the capital are making a beeline to register with the Safe Food Destination (SFD) programme that emphasises on international standards of food safety and security.
Launched by private consultancy TQS Global Management System, the initiative is in coordination with standards devised by the governments Food Safety & Standards Authority of India.
Some major restaurant chains like TGIF, KFC and Pizza Hut, as also the Intercontinental hotel group, have already been accredited while several others have applied for it.
"Restaurants will go through testing of food, training of staff, auditing and consulting. The customers visiting the restaurants that are registered with us will be insured towards any illness arising out of any food-bourne disease," TQS (South Asia) vice president NLB Pantulu said.
The programme has been designed keeping in mind the need for proactive measures and international standards of food safety and security, which will be of great help during the Games.
According to TQS, the cost for registering a restaurant is Rs 50,000 per year.
"Food safety needs a diverse approach where the operator is made to understand the implications along with affordable and feasible solutions," Pantulu said.
TQS has an audit and mentor team that inspects each restaurant that applies for accreditation. The first team has a 30-page stringent checklist which rates the restaurants on cleanliness, courteousness and hygiene in preparing the food among others.
"We don`t register anyone who scores below 25 percent. So, the mentor team provides guidance to all those who have scored less and also to those who need to improve," he explained.
The company would soon be launching a website with the names and addresses of all the SFD outlets. There will also be a tie-up with radio cab operator Meru, whose vehicles will have a list of registered outlets for tourists.
"We will also be launching a helpline in German and French", Pantulu added.
TGIF (Bistro Hospitality) president S Roy said: "The SFD is a great initiative as this will enable serious restaurateurs to be at par with international standards of food safety and hygiene. Thus they are able to cater to both local as well as international tourists."
According to TQS, the programme aims at promoting the overall understanding of food safety and security. Regular workshops are conducted so that food safety becomes a habit for all the departments in an outlet.
"With consistently trained staff and improved system throughout the year, SFD is far more beneficial than the regular one time stamping exercise of any certification. Moreover, it gives the food operator the confidence to face any third party inspections at any time because food safety is assured continuously," Pantulu said.
At present, the SFD programme has been successfully executed in countries like Bulgaria and the Maldives. And with large number of outlets registered in Delhi and National Capital Region (NCR), the model could be replicated for other states as well, Pantulu said.
New Delhi will host the Commonwealth Games from October 03 to October 14.