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Food handlers in Bengaluru temples trained to prevent Covid-19 outbreak

While Covid-19 does not transmit through food, the virus does survive on surfaces, including the packaging of food
Last Updated 07 March 2021, 21:35 IST

Although the health commissioner had recently come out with guidelines for food handlers and wedding caterers, places of worship have been visited by people, especially the elderly, most at risk of contracting Covid-19.

But the food commissionerate has stepped in to cover this aspect of Covid containment by empanelling private training partners like Food Safety Works to train food handlers at city temples.

“The firm has trained food handlers at the Rajarajeshwari temple and Sri Mukthi Naga temple, Ramohalli, so far," Dr Shivaraj Hede, Deputy Commissioner Squad, Food Safety Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), said.

Food handlers have been trained in respiratory hygiene, safe handling practices, personal hygiene and using colour-coded cutting boards while preparing temple meals for anna dasoha.

Virus transmission

The commissionerate has identified 70 large temples in the state (four in Bengaluru: Iskcon, Banashankari, Bandi Mahakali, Rajarajeshwari temple) where free meals are a frequent affair.

While Covid-19 does not transmit through food, the virus does survive on surfaces, including the packaging of food.

Ramesh Agarwal, chief operating officer, Food Safety Works, told DH: "We are training people with our own funds right now. We have allocated one temple per month and have covered two temples so far. We did the first one in January in RR Nagar and then in Ramohalli. This is an ongoing initiative and we will be covering at least one (temple) every month.”

The private firm has to train 25 to 30 people, including devotees from the community, in the over three-hour-long basic food handling course of the FSSAI, Agarwal added. "The training includes personal hygiene, cleaning, sanitisation and crop contamination,” he said.

FSSAI guidelines stipulate separation of raw food and cooked food, besides colour coding of knives. "Fingernails (of the handlers) must be cut and they should sanitise utensils while cleaning them to ensure the microbes are killed,” he said. The regulations also state that food containers should never be kept on the floor and only on raised platforms to prevent contamination, while also emphasising on periodic pest management.

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(Published 07 March 2021, 21:15 IST)

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