To maintain hygiene and quality, only potable drinking water is used for cooking of food on Indian Railways. Further, in its endeavour to provide hygienic and quality food to the passengers, Indian Railways have taken several measures as under:
- Upgradation of Base Kitchens/Kitchen Units: To upgrade quality of food preparation, IRCTC is setting up new kitchens and upgrading existing ones. To ensure centralized monitoring of the kitchen activities, CCTVs have been installed in Base Kitchens/Kitchen Units. Sharing of live streaming of the Base Kitchens through website of IRCTC has been made operational.
- To ensure compliance of Food Safety Norms, Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) certification from Designated Food Safety Officers of each catering unit is mandatory. Food Safety Supervisors have been deployed at Kitchen Units to monitor food safety and hygienic practices. Food samples collected by Food Safety Officers/Supervisors are sent to the nominated accredited Laboratories under Food Safety & Standard Act for analysis and testing. Penalties are imposed in cases of detection of unsatisfactory food samples and prosecutions are carried out as per provisions of Food Safety & Standard Rule -2011.
- Examination of quality of food, hygiene and cleanliness in Pantry Cars and Kitchen Units is done through Third Party Audit. Customer satisfaction survey is also conducted through Third Party Agencies.
- Regular and surprise inspections are conducted by railway officials including Food Safety Officers. Detailed instructions/guidelines have been issued to the Zonal Railways for conducting inspections.
- Monitoring and supervision of catering service is done through operation of centralized Catering Service Monitoring Cell (CSMC) toll free number 1800-111-321, Operation of All India Helpline No. 138, Twitter handle, CPGRAMS, E-Mail and SMS based complaints redressal.
With the objective to provide quality and hygienic food to passengers, a new Catering Policy 2017 has been notified wherein unbundling of catering services on trains by IRCTC has been envisaged.
In compliance thereof IRCTC has already taken over management of 377 mobile units (pairs of trains with pantry Cars) and 262 static units/Kitchen Units. IRCTC has already upgraded 30 Base Kitchens/ Kitchen Units. IRCTC is closely monitoring the quality of food preparation through various modalities, e.g. CCTV, Food safety supervisors, IRCTC supervisor, food sampling in NABL accredited labs, Third Party Audit.
Changes in policy are made after taking the felt needs into account. The provisions of Catering Policy 2017 are under implementation by IRCTC and Zonal Railways.
This information was made available in a written reply to a question in Lok Sabha.>