The quality of food on board trains may soon get better and consistent across India. Reason: The National Accreditation Board for Certification Bodies (NABCB), which was tasked with identifying loopholes in catering services and set standards for food safety on trains, would soon submit its report to the railway ministry. And officials say that once approved, the guideline recommended by the accreditation body would be implemented by the IRCTC - the ticketing, tourism and catering subsidiary of the Indian railway.
“Hygiene and food safety levels exist even now but what NABCB is working on is standardising all kitchens, pantries, vending stalls or outlets that provide or sell food to passengers,” said Rajesh Maheshwari, joint director NABCB, who was in Lucknow on Saturday.
Since food, the quality of which is a perennial concern for all railway passengers, is delivered at various levels - such as single cooktop (trolley), platform vendors, train pantries and packaged food-the standards for each of them are being formulated individually.
Therefore, now personnel deployed to cook food will have the same level of training in kitchen hygiene and cooking whether they are located in Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh or Karnataka. Likewise, they will all have the same training on personal hygiene, maintaining base/pantry kitchen and selecting raw material for cooking and even the cooking medium. The new standards will also include how to serve food with the optimum level of hygiene. “The standards will include mechanism to monitor the implementation of fresh guidelines periodically. Surveillance will be an integral part of the food delivery system in IRCTC,” said Maheshwari.
NABCB provides accreditation based on assessment of competence as per the board’s criteria and in accordance with International Standards and Guidelines.