Ensuring hygienic environment for supplying and serving food is just as important as ensuring that the food remains unadulterated. However, this has been be a difficult task for restaurant owners and food safety officials concerned.
Bangladesh Food Safety Authority (BFSA) has taken a new initiative called “Green Zone” to ensure hygienic environment in restaurants after failing to uphold food safety regulations through numerous drives and fines.
Under the system, green, yellow and red stickers will be used to identify to what extent a restaurant follows the hygiene and food safety regulations.
When implemented, the Green Zone will help a customer seek out restaurants that are following the BFSA regulations.
In the initial phase, hundreds of restaurants in Dhaka’s Motijheel, Dilkusha and Topkhana Road will be brought under this initiative. A list of restaurants located in these areas has already been made.
To achieve a Green Zone rating, a restaurant must ensure a clean and hygienic kitchen, which must be open to public view through glass windows.
Other requirements are: proper sink for washing hands, clean toilets, use of liquid soaps, use of paper towels instead of cloth for clean up and cleanliness of chefs and servers.
After fulfilling every requirement of the BFSA, a restaurant will be awarded a special green sticker, which will act as a certificate for hygienic environment at the establishment.
Restaurants failing to fulfill one or more food safety regulations will be given a yellow sticker, and a limited time to fulfill those requirements. Restaurants that fail to fulfill one or more BFSA regulations before the deadline will be given a red sticker.
Sources from BFSA told the correspondent that an initiative has been taken to train the employees of restaurants located in the above mentioned areas.
“A seminar will also be held to raise awareness among the restaurant staff,” they added.
Confirming that the Green Zone system will be launched experimentally in February, BFSA member and also a joint secretary, M Mahbub Kabir said: “This is an experimental project, and we are hopeful that every restaurants will be brought under the system eventually.
“We have talked with the restaurant owners, and they have agreed to cooperate with us.”
Kabir further said: “We will give the certification only after thorough scrutiny. We will not cut corners. The restaurants must come under the Green Zone certification, there is no other way.
“We will expand the project from Dhaka to Chittagong in the future.”
Meanwhile, Bangladesh Restaurant Owners Association has welcomed the BFSA initiative.
Khandaker Ruhul Amin, director of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) and also the president of Bangladesh Restaurant Owners Association said: “This is a great initiative. I want to thank the BFSA authorities, but we demand that they visit every restaurant before certifying it.”
Pointing out that the certification process would need a lot of patience, Ruhul said: “It is also necessary to ensure that produce and ingredients bought from the market remain formalin and chemical free.”
“The initiative will help us identify some very good restaurants, and other restaurant owners will then come forward to properly implement the food safety regulations. In the end, the initiative will benefit the restaurant owners,” he opined.
This article was first published on banglatribune.com