MCI organizes 1st food safety training workshop for street vendors

ISLAMABAD: Metropolitan Corporation Islamabad (MCI) organized first food safety training workshop for food vendors in capital with better licensing regime and enhancing hygiene standards.

The workshop was organized in collaboration with Institute of Food and Nutritional Sciences of University of Arid Agriculture Rawalpindi (UAAR), which is also the advisor of Punjab Food Authority.

Addressing the certificate awarding ceremong Administrator MCI, Syeda Shafaq Hashmi, said Pakistanis are fond of street food and these vendors are also fulfilling food security demand of a large section of urban poor but it is imperative to observe hygiene standards for ensuring health of masses.

Ms. Hashmi also conveyed the message of the Chief Commissioner/ Chairman, CDA, Amer Ali Ahmed, on the occasion that the street vendor’s initiative should serve as a model to be replicated across the country bringing it at par with international standards.

The training is meant to be transformative for the vendor trainees, as all of them has been in the food selling profession for years and has never attended such training.

The purpose of the training was to enhance awareness among street food vendors about the food safety and hygiene practices. The participant vendors were trained to maintain hygiene standards during preparation, cooking and serving of food.

The day-long training session covered areas including food handling, food safety, personal hygiene, cart hygiene, cleaning and garbage disposal.

The training was focused on precautionary measures for reducing the impact of COVID-19 during client handling. 14 street vendors attended the training, which was the first batch from G-11, Markaz, Islamabad.

MCI, in coordination with Ehsaas, Capital Development Authority and Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE), is also launching the first pilot project for street vendors in the capital.

These food safety training workshops will be regular feature of the ongoing street vendors’ regularization initiative, where more and more street food vendors will be trained.

Zia Banday, senior fellow, PIDE and focal person for the street vendors’ initiative, informed the participants on government’s efforts of bringing street vendors through adoption of best standards of modular carts, service standards and hygiene practices.

On the occasion, street vendors appreciated government’s initiative of recognizing their status as a legitimate economic player and helping them in enhancing their livelihood capacity through training, provision of improved carts and vending licenses. A number of street vendors, who have been vending for over decade or two, did mention that it is a first time any government functionary has approached them to address their issues through tangible measures on ground.