Street food vendors in New Delhi get trained in food safety

The U.S. food truck movement isn’t quite the same (or as authentic) as buying a hot tamale, salsa and guacamole out of a bag in Central America or samosas from a street stall in India.

But the concerns are the same – can the vendor manage the hazards associated with their foods? Prepping some food off site, transporting it, holding it and taking home the leftovers (and maybe reselling them) can be more complicated than making food in a restaurant. Especially when it comes to handwashing and cross-contamination.


According to the Economic Times, New Delhi street food vendors are getting trained.

Vendors selling street food in the national capital will now be sensitised about health and

hygiene for raising food safety standards.

Health Minister J P Nadda today launched the project titled as ‘Clean Street Food’ to be undertaken by Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI).

The FSSAI will train street food vendors under the Recognition of Prior Learning category of the Centre’s skills training scheme, Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana.

Speaking at the launch of the Project, Nadda said it is a pragmatic, practical, constructive and positive approach to skilling one of the largest unorganised sectors of the country.

“With nearly 20 lakh street vendors in the country, the training of 20,000 vendors on a pilot basis in the NCR of Delhi is a welcome steep. As street food forms an integral part of our society, the project which shall upgrade the skills of the street food vendors, will also contribute to preventive and promotive health,” he said.

Besides, the FSSAI also launched a Mobile App to empower citizens to reach out to the food enforcement machinery for any concerns or suggestions that they may have on the issue of food safety.

Being sensitized to the risks is a start; addressing them is what makes food safer.

Street food in Brazil; and The Beatles

The aims of this study were to assess the compliance of street foods sold in an urban center in a major capital of Brazil with international standards for food safety and to provide data that could be used for the elaboration of specific legislation to ensure the safety of street food.

brazil.street.foodThe study investigated demographic profiles of street vendors and hygiene practices used in critical points of food production for products sold. Direct observations and structured interviews were conducted among vendors at stationary locations in the downtown area. Forty-three participating vendors were mostly males who generally completed only elementary school. Among observed food safety risks: 12% of the vendors did not provide ice at the point of sale for perishable ingredients; 95% did not wash hands between food and money transactions and restroom breaks; 91% did not have hair coverings and 100% of the vendors did not have access to a water supply. The interviews revealed that 12% of the vendors did not provide proper cold holding during transportation; 33% did not wash their hands at all, whereas 24% only used water to wash their hands; and 33% never took the required food-handling course. The study indicates a need for improvements of the environmental conditions at these sites to prevent foodborne diseases. Specific local and national laws for street food need to be created to protect the consumer, and continuous training of vendors could help address the lack of food quality and safety.

And for no particular reason, today in 1966, The Beatles began recording sessions for Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. The album cost $75,000 to record.

Food safety and hygiene practices of vendors during the chain of street food production in Florianopolis, Brazil: A cross-sectional study

Food Control, Volume 62, April 2016, Pages 178–186

Rayza Dal Molin Cortese, Marcela Boro Veiros, Charles Feldman, Suzi Barletto Cavalli

Gross? Just how hygienic is Mumbai’s street food?

No matter the time of night or day, somewhere on the streets of Mumbai there is a plate of deep-fried, mashed-potato patties called vada-pav being served with green chutney; or a bowl of pav-bhaji, a spicy mixture of mashed tomatoes and vegetables garnished with a blob of butter, onion and a dash of lemon.

MumbaiAccording to the Public Health Association, only 53% of Indians wash their hands with soap after defecating; 38% do so before eating and only 30% before preparing food. Bacteria transmitted in food, like coliform, E coli, salmonella, shigella, staphylococcus aureus and pseudomonas, are major causes of infections such as diarrhea, typhoid, food poisoning, urinary tract infections and pneumonia. These bacteria are found in the feces of human and animals. They grow quickly if the food is kept in moist, warm conditions, and can enter human bodies if the vegetables or meat are not washed properly or there is faecal contamination during food production or handling. Bacteria can also reach your food through flies, exchange of cash with infected hands or through contaminated water.

Taiwan’s next health minister urged to make even street food safe

Whoever becomes Taiwan’s next health minister should devote himself or herself to promoting food safety in the country so that even the snacks sold at streetside stands are safe, said former health chief Yang Chih-liang after his successor Chiu Wen-ta announced his resignation Friday to take responsibility for a recent food scare.

Oyster-Omelet“Food safety has been a problem” in Taiwan, said Yang, a former head of the Department of Health, who served between August 2009 and February 2011, before Taiwan suffered several food scandals.

The department was renamed into the Ministry of Health and Welfare in July 2013.
It’s a problem for the country, Yang said, adding that he expects the future health and welfare minister to fix it so that “even at street food stands, people can eat with ease.”

Delhi high court backs rules for safe street food

Sale of street food in the capital is set to change for the better, due to intervention of Delhi high court.

dehli.street.foodTrimmed fingernails, gloves, aprons and headgear for the vendor and clean vending carts and containers with separate cloths for wiping hands and cleaning surfaces are some norms set in food safety and standards regulations, which have been backed by the high court.

Formulated by the Food Safety & Standards Authority of India in 2011, the rules were revived by the court earlier this week while hearing a challenge to public notices issued by the corporations for regulating sale of cut fruits and sugarcane juice by street vendors.

“After going through the various Acts and regulations (on food safety and street vendors), we are of the view that the public notices issued by the municipal corporations of Delhi need not be in place in view of the fact that specific provisions have been made with respect to maintenance of safety and hygiene of food. The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) and its officers are fully empowered to ensure street vendors follow the prescription of law,” a division bench of Justice B D Ahmed and Justice Siddharth Mridul had noted in the hearing held on Wednesday.

Docs say, steer clear of roadside food in India

Eating a plate of pani puri from your street-corner bhaiya, or a plate of cold fruit salad to beat the heat may not be such a good idea this season as a host of gastrointestinal and pani.puristomach infections are already making the rounds in Bangalore.

Viruses, bacteria and other microorganisms might just be lurking in those tasty concoctions that we all feel so tempted to get our hands on, and if infected, you may have to make several trips to doctors as acute gastroenteritis (GE) could get you.

New research shows 35 per cent of sampled street food in Yangon contaminated

According to new research, a lot of the street food in Yangon, Myanmar (below, exactly as shown) contains Staphylococcus aureus and Bacillus cereus. If not held at safe temperatures, the quick meals could be a particularly awesome place to create foodborne

The findings highlight the scale of the city’s food hygiene problem: More than one-third of the 150 samples collected were positive for either Staphylococcus aureas or Bacillus cereus, two common types of bacteria that can lead to food poisoning. Almost one-quarter contained dangerous levels of the bacteria, researchers found.
The results of the research were released at the 42nd Myanmar Health Research Congress, held at the Department of Medical Research (Lower Myanmar) from January 6 to 10.

Dr Thaung Hla, deputy director of the biological toxicology research division at the National Poison Control Centre, conducted the research with three colleagues. The aim was to pinpoint just how frequently dangerous organisms are found in roadside foods.
Thirty samples from each of the five downtown townships were collected and tested. Of the 150 samples, 52, or around 35 per cent, contained either Staphylococcus auras (sic -ben) or Bacillus cereus.

The lack of enforcement means it is generally a case of buyer beware. Ma Su Su from Bahan township said she tries to avoid eating street food because of the frequency with which it makes her fall ill. It is easy to see how bacteria could be transmitted through street food, she said, because vendors do not wear gloves and wash plates and utensils in dirty water. 

The sub heading of the article is fun – especially considering the etiology of the pathogens:

New research has confirmed what many of us have already learned the hard way – that consuming Yangon’s street food can end in food poisoning, particularly for those who have not built up immunity to the many types of bacteria on offer. 

Sounds like there’s a perception that the street food is nasty. Building up immunity to Bacillus cereus only works for some types of illnesses, the ones linked to a cyclic peptide toxin that causes vomit – it is preformed in temperature abused food. And acquired immunity is pretty unlikely for staph enterotoxin (also preformed in food).

81 sick; pig-to-guinea pig likely source of Salmonella outbreak at Ecuadorian festival in Minnesota

Roasted pork that was purchased from a Minneapolis market and resold at a street festival was the “likely initial source” of a salmonella outbreak that sickened 80 people in August, a Minnesota Department of Agriculture investigation concluded.

The food poisoning incident has already put the street festival organizer, New York Plaza Produce, out of business and prompted the city to fine the company $1,000 for violations that included the illegal cuy.guinea.pig_-300x225slaughter of guinea pigs for food. Now, state records obtained by the Star Tribune describe how the salmonella was traced to three whole roasted pigs that New York Plaza Produce owner Nieves Riera bought from Shuang Hur BBQ on Nicollet Avenue.

An Agriculture Department investigator determined the pork probably had low levels of salmonella when Riera bought it, but the salmonella likely grew and spread through cross-contamination. The state sent New York Plaza Produce a “notice of warning” earlier this month, a typical penalty for a first violation.

Attorneys for Riera say the market should be held responsible for selling the tainted pig. Khan Huang, owner of Shuang Hur BBQ, said the pork was not intended for resale.

Carrie Rigdon, one of the investigators in the case, said meat purchased at a retail market should not be resold.

“The fact that there was further preparation and serving at the festival, and that it was a multi-hour process, it’s likely that any contamination just multiplied” and cross-contaminated rice, beans and guinea pig meat, Rigdon said.

The investigation revealed that Riera purchased two frozen guinea pigs from a Minneapolis store and a dozen guinea pigs on Aug. 8 from Gary Ash in Cedar, Minn. Ash told investigators that Riera purchases 10 to 12 guinea pigs every two or three months. Tests of the feces in the enclosures where the guinea pigs were held tested negative for salmonella, the report said.

After obtaining the animals, Riera “cut the necks of the guinea pigs, drained the blood, removed the fur with hot water and then washed the guinea pigs with cold water,” the report said.

Andy Ricker says don’t blame street food for your food poisoning

Arm-chair epidemiologist and so-called Pok Pok kingpin Andy Ricker, paraphrased in The Braiser, says don’t dismiss  tasty street food in strange and foreign lands just because you’re afraid you might get sick.

His main tip, when traveling and wanting to try out local fare, is to stick to places where there are more locals than tourists, and to look for places that stay busy. “When a spot is busy, the food doesn’t sit around as much,” he told Fodor’s.

Ricker also says it’s just as easy to get sick from eating in sit-down establishments as it is to contract a nasty stomach bug from street food:

“…There is no way to tell how you got food poisoning unless you don’t eat anything for 24 hours and then eat something and then don’t eat anything for another 24 hours and then get a test. Because you can get gastroenteritis (or whatever) by touching something and then touching your upper lip without even knowing about it…and then you blame whatever you ate earlier that day. But you really don’t know. I believe that it is probable that I have gotten as sick from eating in a hotel as I have from eating in the street.”

Asian street food smarts

I know nothing about Asian street food.

When reporter Robyn Eckhardt from Malaysia skyped with me a couple of weeks ago, I repeatedly said, I know nothing about Asian street food.

In this part of the world the term "street food" (or "hawker food," as it’s referred to in Malaysia and Singapore) denotes not just a cheap and quick way to fill one’s belly. It also describes a repertoire of dishes prepared by experienced specialists, dishes rarely duplicated successfully in restaurant kitchens. Eating on the Asian street offers the opportunity to observe cooking techniques up close and to engage with strangers over a meal in a way that would be difficult in a proper brick and mortar eatery (right, vegetarian mi quang, a thick noodle common to Central Vietnam, served in a Ho Chi Minh City street stall. Credit: Dave Hagerman).

There’s just one problem: Asian street food makes a lot of travelers ill. The World Health Organization has designated the developing countries of Asia as among the most high-risk destinations for "traveler’s diarrhea," which means that more than 50 percent of visitors to most countries in the region have a chance of getting ill from what they eat.

barfblog publisher Douglas Powell, a professor of food safety at Kansas State University, advises that the best way to avoid illness –- at home or on the road — is to put yourself in the place of whatever it is that’s going to make you sick in the first place: "Be the bug, whether virus, bacteria, or parasite. Imagine how they get into your food and how they move around."

Produce is often contaminated at the farm, from human or animal feces, and then carries its bugs to the street stall. Heat kills them. "You shouldn’t eat poop," is Powell’s blunt advice. "But if you’re going to eat it, make sure it’s cooked." Street food vendors have a particular challenge because they work in small spaces, facilitating cross-contamination between "clean" and "dirty" foods.

But street stalls also boast an advantage over restaurants: transparency. At a street stall everything is prepared right in front of the consumer, which makes it easier to gauge food safety.