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India to Implement Standards for Street Food

For the first time, street food vendors in India will soon be required to meet a set of sanitation regulations, announced the government Tuesday.

Street food is a popular option in India because it’s convenient and cheaper than offerings at hotels and restaurants.  But at the majority of stands it’s also unsafe.

One study found that, out of 50 random samples of street food taken in 2010, 47 of them – approximately 90 percent  - were contaminated with foodborne pathogens. Cooked foods were no exception, suggesting mishandling after preparation.

“Street food is prepared and sold under unhygienic conditions with limited access to clean water, sanitary services or garbage disposal facilities,” said Union Minister of State for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution K.V. Thomas, speaking at food safety seminar hosted by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) Conference in Mumbai Tuesday.

Now BIS has finalized a set of basic sanitation requirements for the preparation and sale of street foods, Thomas announced. Among the rules will be instructions on which water, milk, tea, coffee powder, and other food items are safe to eat or cook with, according to Gulf News.

With the implementation of these guidelines, Thomas said, BIS hopes to improve food safety and in turn public health in India.

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