Food & Beverage

Beyond profits & taste: How Food Safety is Shaping the Future of India's QSR Industry

Parina Sood, TFW Bureau
Parina Sood, TFW Bureau Jun 07, 2024 - 3 min read
Beyond profits & taste: How Food Safety is Shaping the Future of India's QSR Industry image
WHO recognizes June 7 as the World Food Safety Day, a day dedicated to drawing attention to food safety and related incidents.

Food safety in India means a scientific discipline describing handling, preparation, and storage of food in ways that prevent food borne. This includes a number of routines that should be followed to avoid potentially severe health hazards. To ensure the food safety measures and standards, The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) came into being under the Food Safety and Standards, 2006 and has laid down science-based standards for articles of food and to regulate their manufacture, storage, distribution, sale and import to ensure availability of safe and wholesome food for human consumption.

As the QSR industry is rapidly growing in the country, a recent industry report pegging the India Quick Service Restaurant Market size at an estimated 25.46 billion USD in 2024 and forecasting it to reach 38.71 billion USD by 2029, growing at a CAGR of 8.74% during the forecast period (2024-2029); ensuring food safety practices and measures takes paramount importance, lest standards are forgotten in the rush of making profits.

“Our dedication to food safety is embedded in every aspect of our operations, from sourcing to supplier development, distribution, and restaurant management, all adhering to stringent FSSAI standards. Starting from sourcing, we set high standards for ingredient quality, ensuring they meet global benchmarks. Our suppliers employ state-of-the-art production facilities and globally recognized Food Safety Management Systems (FSMS). We follow good manufacturing practices (GMP) and a HACCP-based food safety management system, validated by regular unannounced third-party audits. Products undergo rigorous quality inspections at multiple stages. For instance, chicken products undergo over 64 quality checks, fries more than 120, and buns are tested for shape and seed coverage. Fresh produce like iceberg lettuce and onions are sanitized before packing. Oil quality is monitored regularly to ensure safe total polar material (TPM) limits. Our food safety processes are science-based and ensure that every McDonald's meal follows best-in-class production methods, is fresh, flavourful, and safe, from farm to table”, says Rajeev Ranjan, MD, McDonald's India - North and East.

Ranjan goes on to talk about the importance of surprise audits by franchisors in the QSR sector to ensure highest standards of food hygiene, handling and serving to the customers.

“We follow set guidelines, SOPs and conduct frequent and thorough quality checks to ensure food safety. Our daily food safety checklist includes periodic check of various parameters - including but not limited to - internal food temperature, sanitation, cooking oil TPM, water quality etc., covering most critical aspects of food safety on daily basis and then monthly food safety process verifications ensure processes are strictly adhered to. Each restaurant undergoes an unannounced third-party audit once a year. Additionally, our quality and operations teams perform surprise audits to consistently enforce our food safety practices and procedures.”

According to the State Food Safety Index (SFSI) 2022- 2023 released by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), which sheds light on performance of various Indian states in ensuring food safety, the average score in 'Training and Capacity Building' increased from 3.5 out of 10 in 2019 to 5 out of 8 in 2022- 2023 for Indian states overall.

Training and support plays a crucial role in the successof a QSR business. A QSR franchisor is obliged to provide proper training and support to the franchisees and handhold them initially to ensure they follow all standard procedures and protocols in food handling.

“At McDonald's India - North and East, we believe in fostering a culture of food safety by integrating food safety and quality management procedures into daily operations and training programs. Our restaurant team including managers and crew members receive thorough training on food safety, personal hygiene, sanitation practices and product storage protocols. All our food handlers get an annual training and certification to reinforce food safety processes. Additionally, managers undergo robust educational programs based on HACCP principles, with each restaurant having FoSTaC-trained managers, as per FSSAI’s standards”, concludes Ranjan.



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