QCI Launches Scheme for Hygiene Rating Audit Agencies

The Quality Council of India (QCI) launched a Scheme for approval of Hygiene Rating Audit Agencies to increase the number of recognised Hygiene Rating Audit Agencies for scaling up the Food Hygiene Rating across the country. The QCI launched this scheme on the behest of Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) on Tuesday. The details of this scheme are accessible on the website of QCI.  

This scheme is one of the many accreditation schemes which is implemented by the QCI for promoting quality and providing Food Hygiene Rating Certificates after the verification by Hygiene Rating Audit Agencies that the food products or process conform to the specified requirements of hygiene and safety. 

The initiative of ‘Food Hygiene Rating Scheme’ by FSSAI is a certification system for businesses which supply food directly to consumers, whether on or off-premise. The basis of the rating of the food establishments in the country is the food safety and hygiene standards observed by them at the time of the audit. 

The recognised Hygiene Rating Audit Agencies are responsible for the verification and compliance regarding the food hygiene and safety procedures laid by FSSAI. The food establishments should display a Food Hygiene Rating Certificate in the prominent consumer-facing area. It is in the form of smileys with a rating scale ranging from 1 to 5. 

The aim of the scheme for approval of Hygiene Rating Audit Agencies is to help the consumers for making an informed decision or choice regarding the food outlets they choose to eat. This scheme encourages food establishments or businesses to improve their safety and hygiene standards through which the consumers can make an informed decision of their choice of restaurants.

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By increasing the number of Hygiene Rating Audit Agencies, more food establishments can be covered and verified concerning Food Hygiene Rating. This scheme applies to foodservice establishments such as restaurants, cafeterias, hotels, bakeries, sweet shops and meat retail stores at present.

Shri. Arun Singhal, CEO FASSI stated that “Hygiene Rating Scheme can be instrumental in creating awareness amongst the consumers and developing a culture of self-compliance amongst food business operators. It will improve the quality of the food supply and increase demand as well. I urge all eligible food businesses to implement a Hygiene Rating Scheme in their premises” at the launch of this scheme.

Food Hygiene Rating and Scheme for approval of Hygiene Rating Audit Agencies will help to improve the confidence of both the foodservice operators and the consumers in the matter of basic hygiene and quality of food. These kinds of standards and conformity assessment will lead to an increase in demand in foodservice outlets and also the confidence of the consumers.

Food Hygiene and safety is an excellent initiative of QCI and FSSAI. This initiative is undertaken at a time when the consumers are aware and particular of the safety and hygiene standards of the food outlets in this pandemic situation. This scheme of the QCI will help consumers in the future for choosing the right food outlets and provides an incentive to food outlets for creating trust and growing their brand.

For any clarifications/feedback on the topic, please contact the writer at mayashree.acharya@cleartax.in

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