Mohamed Imranullah S.

Plan to hold seminar on hygiene for roadside eateries

MADURAI: No doubt, hotels, restaurants, cafés and such other joints nosh the hungry. But, there's nothing like treating your taste buds at a street food corner. Be it the hot `iddly,' `Kal dosai,' `Kothu Parotta' and many others from the South Indian palette or the North Indian `Chaat' varieties like `Bhel puri,' `Paani puri,' `Channa Samosa' or even the luscious fruit juices, the food items taste better when they are prepared at a roadside shop.

Why so? Now, that is a difficult question to answer, because people give umpteen reasons for preferring the roadside stalls to air-conditioned food malls. While the daily wage labourers such as `coolies' and masons cite affordability as the prime reason for approaching such shops, the affluent come in search of lip smacking food.

All the delectable attributes aside, consuming food on roadsides, many a times, turns out to be harmful to one's health. Most of these food items, prepared in unhygienic conditions, were contaminated with bacteria, which may impair those with low resistive power. Though the street food vendors provide nutritious food at unbelievably cheap rates, they are infamous too for failing to maintain hygiene.

However, avoiding the street food stalls is not an easy or a justifiable solution for it has become a part of everyone's life besides providing employment to thousands of workers. In such a tricky situation, the Federation of Consumer Organisations- Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry (FEDCOT) has come forward to inculcate the qualities of hygienic food preparation among these vendors.

As a first step, the federation along with the Regional Office of Consumer International in Malaysia and the Tamil Nadu Street Food Vendors Association (TNSFVA) organised a seminar on `Healthy Street Food Vending' in Madurai, a place known for street food vendors, on Sunday.

The FEDCOT chairman, P. Duraisingam, said that the organisation have also begun a pilot project of involving the women employed in street food business into improving the nutrition levels among school going children. "We have identified 10 schools in and around Madurai where these women would set up and run model food stalls," he added.The president of TNSFVA, Thavaraj, said that the street vendors have been fighting for long to get some kind of recognition by the State Government.