Comparative Analysis Of ‘Food Safety Practices’ For Food Business Operators & Food Handlers In Catering Sector Before And During Covid-19 Pandemic In Pune
This study was conducted to assess the knowledge and use of food safety practices of catering sector Food Business Operators (FBO’s) and Food Handlers (FH’s) working in quick service restaurants, hotels, speciality restaurants, cafes and industrial catering companies from Pune city in Maharashtra state of India. 50 FBOs and FHs answered the online survey through questionnaire. Questions asked were related to personal hygiene as per food safety training for catering establishments. It was found that 40% FBO’s and FH’s have not attended any food safety training in the last 2 years. For those who attended, food safety training was conducted once a year for 84% of the FBO’s and FH’s. During covid-19, 44% FBO’s and FH’s have attended covid-19 food safety training till 31st August 2020. Frequency of food safety trainings have increased but 66% trainings are conducted by internal company personal. Most of the food safety trainings are repetitive in nature and majority of them have attended food safety supervisor (FSS) training under Food Safety Training and Certification (FoSTaC) before covid-19 pandemic. FBO’s and FH’s under the age of 40 are trained more frequently and are using the personal hygiene practices effectively. Study concludes that food safety knowledge level of FBO’s and FH’s increased from 86% before covid-19 pandemic to 96% during covid-19 pandemic. It also highlights that practices of personal hygiene also increased from 45% before covid-19 pandemic to 75% during covid-19 pandemic. Major change required is in the reach of Covid-19 food safety training to FBO’s and FH’s, which have reached to 44% FBO’s and FH’s only. Professional are less aware of practices to be followed for food safety during covid-19 pandemic. Therefore, till covid-19 is pandemic, more focus should be on food safety training module of Covid-19 under FoSTaC and government should monitor to make it reach to all FBO’s and FH’s as fast as possible. As per the need assessment, covid-19 training module should be added in food safety supervisor module and to make it mandatory even after covid-19 pandemic ends. FSSAI should discuss food safety training module with academia and get included in the syllabus of graduate and post-graduate courses of food related industry.