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25 Oct

Annual Health Checks for Food Handlers in India

Why is Food Safety Important?

Food borne illnesses have become common amongst the youth. Increase in number of food joints has become an addiction within the youth. Hence, food safety is important as it helps consumers to avoid the risks of food borne diseases. It also helps consumers to prevent various risks related to health such as allergy or even death.

 

Who manages Food Safety Standards in India?

The FSSAI, Food Safety and Standards Act of India, 2006 is a consolidated bill related to food safety and regulation in India. Increase of diseases and illness in the country has raised the importance of food safety.  FSSAI is responsible for protection and promotion of public health by maintaining the regulation and supervision of food safety in India.

 

How is FSSAI active in ensuring Health Compliance in the Food Services Industry?

FSSAI has issued a new set of rules on food safety norms and are updating these rules frequently; they are applicable from street food to online food delivery. It is necessary for these companies to ensure and demonstrate their employee fitness, specifically those who come under direct contact with food and consumers. According to FSSAI guidelines for Food handlers, they should organize an annual health check up for employees in order to ratify their physical fitness to pursue their trade. A medical examination of food handlers will define them as a verified and authenticated food service brand.

“General hygienic and sanitary practices to be followed by food business operators applying for license- Manufacturing/ processing/ packaging/storage/distribution” states FSSAI.

It also mentions that, “arrangement shall be made to get the food handlers/employees of the establishment medically examined once in a year to ensure that they are free from any infectious, contagious and other communicable diseases. A record of these examinations signed by a registered medical practitioner shall be maintained for inspection purpose”

Therefore, for the betterment of employees and consumers it is mandatory for companies to provide preventive health care plan.

 

What Issues do food service companies face to comply with Employee Health Checks?

With the growth in food industry, there has been a high demand of health service providers across the country. These providers plan and design company diagnostic checkups. However, most of the providers give a difficult time to the HR as they have to aggregate and sort the reports. Although there are various technologies, there is no real-time update of employee health at an all India level. Eventually no impact is created on the employee, as they do not get to see their own report. Health Check providers focus on reducing costs, due to high attrition, they focus on “compliance” rather than “health management”. There are few basic and mandatory health checks every company should organize for their employees.

 

Table Title: Health Checks Required

Table

  1. Pre-Employment
  2. Physical Examination
  3. Eye Test
  4. Skin Examination
  5. Compliance with schedule of Vaccine to be inoculated against enteric group of diseases (Hepatitis B – 1 Dose and Typhoid – 1 Dose)
  6. Stool Routine (for Ova, Parasite & Cyst)
  7. Urine Routine
  8. Chest X-Ray / Sputum (for Tuberculosis)

Annual

  1. Physical Examination
  2. Eye Test
  3. Skin Examination
  4. Stool Routine (for Ova, Parasite & Cyst)
  5. Urine Routine
  6. Sputum (for Tuberculosis)

Vaccine

  1. Hepatitis B – (Booster Doses)
  2. Typhoid (1 Dose) if not administered earlier)

 

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