The notification said that in two weeks, restaurants should remove signs saying, no admission and no admission without permission.
It allows the customers to see the condition of the kitchen. The notification has been issued under the Food Safety Standard Act (FSS) of 2006. It remains the primary food regulation law in the country. The notification said that in two weeks, restaurants should remove signs saying, no admission and no admission without permission. It would thus allow customers to walk-in and get a chance to witness the preparation of their food.
The decision comes after a series of posts by customers showing sub-standard food services. Hemant Koshiya spoke to IE on how the idea of open kitchens was conceived. He had gone to a highway restaurant for lunch. He was impressed with the overall appearance. He then decided to check the kitchen. They had a no admission board and the kitchen site itself was very dirty and unhygienic. Since that incident, he wanted to do something on such entry restrictions. He decided to implement the notification at the start of the lunar year, post-Diwali.
Despite a good number of food safety officers, the open kitchen concept was felt as the need of the hour. That is because of the fact that Gujarat has almost 5,000 registered hotels and restaurants. Most of them are in overpopulated areas. Others are on highways and villages. Koshiya said that he only 250 officers in comparison making daily monitoring of restaurants with a hand full of staff members.
The implementation of the notification took place through the issue of an internal circular to 43 Designated Officers (DO) serving as district level licensing authorities for food under Food Safety Act, across the state of Gujarat. The circular stated that all restaurants under their jurisdiction should have their kitchen doors replaced by glass panels so that the procedures in the kitchen could be seen. Hemant Koshiya, even wrote to the President of the Hotel and Restaurant Association of Gujarat in order to ensure greater compliance.
Hoshiya further calls the situation a win-win situation. The customers can make an informed choice and businesses will increase according to their standard of hygiene. Their workload will also decrease.
If the restaurants still do not comply with the basic hygiene standards they will be fined Rs one lakh under the Food Safety and Standards Act 2006, Section 56 for unhygienic or unsanitary processing or manufacturing of food. Nearly 75% of restaurants have removed signs restricting entry. 60% have already put up a glass window or glass panel since the implementation of the notification.