New Delhi: Food regulator FSSAI has ordered safety audits of canteens at 10 large educational institutes, including IITs, IIMs and AIIMS, in light of complaints with regard to food safety and hygiene standards.

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) said the audit will be done by empanelled 15 agencies, which will be given one month to submit their report.

The audit, the FSSAI said, has been ordered as a number of cases of food safety issues have been reported from hostels and canteens of various academic institutions in India.

“In view of this, the FSSAI has ordered special food safety audits of the canteens, cafeterias, hostel mess etc of 10 select large central institutes of higher education like IIT (Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Guwahati), AIIMS (Delhi and Jodhpur), IIM (Ahmedabad and Kozhikode), IISc Bangalore and IISER Kolkata," the FSSAI said in a statement.

To strengthen the food safety surveillance system, the FSSAI has taken up audits of food business operators through third-party audit agencies. It has empanelled the 15 audit agencies in accordance with the Food Safety and Standard (Food Safety Auditing) Regulation, 2017.

The audit in select 10 institutes will help find out whether hostel mess, canteen or cafeteria where food is handled in these institutions comply with the safety and hygiene standards prescribed under the food safety law.

“These reports will give an insight into the existing standards of food safety and hygiene of these canteens, hostel mess etc and will help the FSSAI identify the gaps," the authority said.

The FSSAI expects that the results of these audits will serve as guidance to these institutions to improve and maintain the standards of food safety and hygiene on their premises, the statement said.

The authority has empanelled national and international food safety audit agencies like DNV, Bureau Veritas, Intertek, MS Certification, IRCLASS, SGS, BIS, TUV and Indocert, among others.

“For the time being, these agencies have been provisionally empanelled since the regulation is still at a draft stage," the FSSAI said.

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