In recent years, the FSSAI has come out with several reforms aimed at improving food quality and hygiene in India. Food safety display boards are just one of the new reforms implemented throughout India to achieve this dream.
FSDBs are information boards that provide customers with information about the food hygiene rating of a food business.
The rating is based on an inspection of the business by a food safety officer, who assesses the business’s compliance with food safety regulations. The rating is then displayed on the FSDB, along with a brief explanation of what the rating means.
The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India, more popularly known as FSSAI, had come out with an order in September 2018, making food display boards mandatory. Food safety display boards are informative boards that mainly display food safety and hygiene measures that FBO should follow in their businesses. Further, these display boards were recommended as these boards can serve as informative displays that can help customers understand the various hygiene practices that are followed by the establishment they are eating from.
Henceforth, the fssai food license/registration number and food safety display boards (FSDBs) must be displayed at all food establishments. For consumer awareness, the FSDBs are also colour-coded according to the types of food enterprises. Likewise, this move betters the overall customer perceptibility of quality food standards and reinforces food safety within the country.
Why Are Food Safety Display Boards Important?
FSDBs are an essential tool for ensuring that customers have access to information about the food hygiene rating of a business.
This information enables customers to make informed decisions about where to eat, as well as encouraging businesses to maintain high standards of food safety and hygiene. FSDBs help to increase transparency and accountability in the food industry, which benefits both customers and businesses.
How do Food Safety Display Boards Work?
Food businesses are inspected by a food safety officer, who assigns a food hygiene rating based on the following criteria:
- How hygienically the food is handled – how it is prepared, cooked, cooled, and stored.
- The condition of the structure of the business – including cleanliness, layout, lighting, ventilation, and other facilities.
- How the business manages and records food safety – including procedures for keeping food safe, how they manage food safety risks, and how they train staff.
Based on these criteria, the food safety officer assigns a rating from 0 to 5, with 5 being the highest rating. The rating is then displayed on the FSDB, along with a brief explanation of what the rating means.
Why Has FSSAI Mandated Food Safety Display Boards?
In February 2018, FSSAI had formulated regulations concerning the functioning of the food safety amendment, wherein one of the conditions for granting licence was that the restaurant must always place a food safety display boards at a noticeable spot within the premises.
While FSSAI rules dictate that a food safety display boards must be placed in the open for all customers to see, most restaurants failed to abide by this rule in the past. Hence, after years of deliberation, the FSSAI decided to take this issue up with force.
Henceforth, all FBOs must mandatorily display their food safety display boards with their FSSAI registration or licence number as a sign of authorisation. Additionally, a soft copy of the board that is to be displayed can be obtained from FSSAI’s website.
Elements of Food Safety Display Boards
- FSSAI registration/license number: So that customers can verify the authenticity of the license/registration through the FSSAI website if needed
- Hygiene requirements: This help consumers understand the baseline food safety standards and requirements
- Feedback system: To provide the consumers with various options to give their feedback, via Whatsapp, SMS, or even on the FSSAI app.
The Feedback System
The feedback loop is an essential feature of the FSDB as it allows customers to voice their opinions. Feedback may be provided via SMS, WhatsApp, or through the FSSAI App.
Such feedback will then be directed to an apex body who will then process it to make sure compliance is maintained. Moreover, once the input has been processed, it is also shared with the food establishment so that they are able to gauge their performance.
Hygiene Rules to Be Followed
- The establishment must maintain clean premises
- Regular pest control measures must be undertaken
- Preparation of food must be done through potable water only
- Food should be cooked properly
- Hot food must be stored above 60°C and cold food must be stored at 5°C
- Frozen products must be stored below -18°C
- Veg and non-veg food must be stored separately
- Cooked and uncooked food must also be kept in separate containers to prevent contamination
- Veg and non-veg food must be cut using separate chopping boards and knives
- All staff must wear clean uniforms while handling food
- Employees must wash their hands thoroughly after handling food, using the restroom or cleaning
- Cuts and other wounds must be covered using a water-proof bandaid
- Employees must not handle food items when unwell
- Utensils and food preparation areas must be cleaned regularly using clean swipes.
Colour-Coding for Various FSDBs
The food safety boards are colour-coded so that it becomes easy to identify the type of establishment and the food safety rules related to it as follows.
- Manufacturing – Turquoise
- Transport/distribution – Navy Blue
- Storage unit – Yellow
- Liquor retail – Brown
- Fruit and vegetable retail – Green
- Meat retail – Red
- Milk retail – Blue
- Restaurant – Purple
- Street food – Purple
- Retail store – Grey
Important Pointers for Setting up Your Food Safety Display Boards
- The FSDB or food safety display boards of FSSAI licenced food businesses must be printed on an A3-sized board, preferably made out of cardboard
- FSSAI-registered food businesses must have an FSDB printed on A4-sized boards
- The FSDB must be displayed at prominent places, such as the entrance, billing counter or reception so that all customers can see it
- Non-compliance beyond 15 October 2018 will lead to severe punishments and repercussions
- Further, the board must contain the hotel’s FSSAI licence or registration number
- The FSDB must be appropriately colour coded
- Each establishment must only display boards specific to their area of work
- More than one board may be displayed if the establishment is large or if one board will not be sufficient to display the information to all customers
- The establishment should make sure that the board’s content does not get blurred/damaged/destroyed over the time
- The company’s name and details regarding how to give feedback may be added on the lower right-hand side of the board.
Food Safety Display Boards play a critical role in ensuring that food businesses adhere to strict food safety regulations and maintain high standards of food hygiene.
They provide customers with essential information about a business’s food hygiene rating, enabling them to make informed decisions about where to eat. At the same time, they encourage businesses to prioritize food safety and maintain high standards of hygiene, increasing transparency and accountability in the food industry.