The Present Scenario of Street Food in Kolkata in Terms of Food Safety
Kolkata is one of the big cosmopolitan cities of India. Almost every sections of the society in Kolkata prefer street food since its inception. Street food is becoming more popular among the lower middle and middle class people, particularly students, migrated labours, private job professionals and so on. The most of the food vendors are coming by suburban train and buses regularly and most of them have illegal occupied shops in the pavements around Kolkata. They do not have any pre-training or license for food business. There is no food safety supervisor or quality controller in these street food vendors to maintain the food safety norms. The common people are mostly ignorant of the nutrition and hygienic condition of the street foods. Moreover, most of the street food vendors have little idea about the West Bengal Food Security Act or Indian Food Security Act. In addition, the vendors heavily depends on low cost primary products and incapable labours for maintaining affordable price for the consumers. These street shops do not follow the National and international norms while producing different food menus. The Kolkata Corporation though have food safety commissioner but most of the lower post of the food safety commission remain vacant due to lack of recruitment. Most of the street vendors are not being inquiring to or properly investigated by the food safety officers because of inadequate food safety professionals, and also for corruptions. Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) trying to use technology by creating an IT platform (i.e. IT enabled Indian Food Laboratory Network INFoLNet) for safety compliances to bring consistency and transparency in inspection. Recently, FSSAI has collaborated with CHIFSS (CII-HUL Initiative on Food Safety Sciences) to implement the science based food safety in India. This paper seeks to analyse the current scenario of street food in Kolkata in terms of food safety. The paper will investigate the reasons behind not following safety norms, and will also show the path how the government can implement the food safety act in Kolkata.