The millions of food vendors peddling tasty morsels from roadside stalls and rickshaws across India have long been an emblem of the country’s boisterous, chaotic spirit.
But now, Indian officials have a stern message for these often-unregulated roadside chefs: Wash your hands after using the toilet. Don’t sneeze into the food. And, above all, please don’t pick your nose.
Launched by India’s Food Safety and Standards Authority and the National Association of Street Vendors of India, the seminar offered a primer on safe drinking water and disposable gloves, along with a list of food-handling do’s and don’ts.
Number one on the forbidden list? Don’t pick your nose. Also banned are cleaning one’s ears, smoking while handling food and spitting into the wash basin or sink.
The goal of the program is to create “safe zones” in popular areas, but is it really possible to sanitize street food in India, where suspending any fastidious concern for hygiene has always been part of the deal?