The Bangladesh Food Safety Authority (BFSA) will expand its work on hygiene control of catering services of canteens in schools, colleges, hospitals, offices, courts, buses, trains and airlines from now on. It has so far worked on the hygiene of food, kitchen environment and place of serving of hotels and restaurants only.
The BFSA is preparing a regulation under the Bangladesh Safe Food Act, 2013, formulated as "Safe Food (Restaurant) Regulations, 2020". Parties concerned have been requested to give their opinion on the draft of the rules by September 3.
People concerned said the purpose of these rules is to ensure a safe food and dining environment in restaurants to keep the health of consumers safe. Therefore, the regulation will give a legal basis to the application of hygiene rules in all stages of food preparation, packaging, transportation, storage, distribution, serving, and display in restaurants.
"The original law calls for working on the whole food environment in restaurants. Since the health of the consumer is directly involved with food, the scope of its work also needs to be clear. That explanation is not entirely included in the original law. That is why the regulation is being made," BSFA member Rezaul Karim told The Business Standard.
The draft rules will also include restaurants, hotels and restaurants, snack bars, coffee houses, hospital catering, canteens (schools, colleges, offices, institutions), religious, social and political institutions and catering services, bus rail and air catering services.
However, no rules have been added to the regulations regarding licensing or clearance of BFSA before the construction of restaurants, which the restaurant owners' association thinks is a big gap because food is a sensitive thing and there should not be any compromise here. The license should be given only if all the rules are followed.
Khandaker Ruhul Amin, president of the Bangladesh Restaurant Owners Association, told The Business Standard, "Licensing is an important issue in the restaurant business. Only those who can adhere to all the rules should be given a license. Asking to follow the hygiene rules after issuing the license creates complications there."
In this regard, Md Rezaul Karim of the BSFA said, "We have some limitations in the law. That's why we can't be the licensing authority. However, if we get such feedback from entrepreneurs, we will work to bring the matter into the rules."
The draft rules include food production, processing, distribution steps, restaurant environment, restaurant worker hygiene, disinfection of food, disinfection of food serving utensils, no misleading advertisements, hanging licenses in open spaces of restaurants, sanitary facilities, storage of raw material.
The regulations explain the whole process including preservation of non-vegetarian food, food cooling system, food waste management, water supply and drainage, temperature control, food transportation, etc.
Also, the BFSA is working to create another regulation known as Safe Food (Food Withdrawal) Regulations on how to withdraw the food product from the producers, marketers, retailers and even the consumers.
If the quality of any food product on the market is not right, there is any toxic metal in the food, there are excessive chemicals and if there is chance of becoming sick after eating any food, the manufacturers will remove that food from the market so that it cannot reach the consumer later.