Similar to trends in global consumption, Sri Lanka is experiencing the growth of the food service industry, driven by a steady flow of bakers, standalone restaurants and international F&B chains entering the landscape.
With more and more people opting to dine out or order in through a multitude of delivery services available, food hygiene practices must evolve to ensure consumers can continue to trust the safety and quality of the food they eat.
Higher health and hygiene standards also mean that visiting travellers from around the world can enjoy the best of Sri Lankan cuisine with confidence, adding further value to the tourism sector, which is a vital component in the country’s economy.
For these reasons, health authorities have taken steps to help improve Sri Lanka’s dining experiences by introducing the new ‘Premises Registration Regulation’ under the Food Act, with the purpose of standardising safety and quality processes across the food service industry.
This new regulation, which will be implemented from 01 January 2020, requires all establishments involved in the manufacturing and processing of food or beverages to meet the new standards in order to register their F&B business before June 2020. Any establishment that already holds international quality assurance certifications such as ISO standards is exempt from this regulation.
At Fonterra Brands Sri Lanka, ensuring safe food at the highest quality is the shared responsibility of each and every individual – not only within the company’s own manufacturing premises, but also in collaboration with peers and stakeholders from the wider industry.
To this end, Fonterra’s Anchor Food Professionals have embarked on a series of advisory workshops titled ‘Food for Thought’, in collaboration with the Public Health Inspectors’ Union, designed to lead the preparation and change process for the Sri Lankan food service industry.
Fonterra Brands Sri Lanka’s Associate Director for Food Service and Emerging Markets Kumar De Silva said, “We already work closely with our partners in the culinary industry to identify key challenges faced by their business and tackle them together. That is why we want to ensure that as one industry, our partners have the expertise at hand to prepare for 2020.
“From five star hotels to small-time bakeries, our purpose is to stand with the industry in advising and supporting them through these changes so that by January, they will be ready to continue delighting Sri Lankans with healthy, delicious dining experiences,” De Silva said.
The first of this series was recently conducted in Galle for over 40 owners and chefs of F&B establishments in the area, and featured a keynote address by the President of the Galle Public Health Inspectors’ Union on food safety and quality best practices.
Commenting on the initiative, Pulina Ranasinghe, President of the Galle PHI Union, said, “By introducing this regulation, chefs are empowered to produce food at high safety and quality standards, and most importantly, we’re helping people make informed choices in trusting the places where they eat. As PHIs, our focus is on developing the country’s food service industry, and we have seen that Fonterra is a company that shares this purpose with us.
As part of the workshop, Fonterra’s regulatory experts took the participants through an extensive induction into the upcoming Premises Registration Regulation.
Chef Thillakaratne from the Ayurveda Lanka Hospitals Lotus Villa Hotel said,“I have over 33 years of experience in the industry and I work very closely with Anchor Food Professionals. I think today’s workshop was very successful, and believe the information shared will be extremely valuable to young chefs who are just entering the industry.”
Chef Mendis from Déco on 44 Hotel, Galle Fort, said “I have been in the industry for over 22 years, and I have worked with Anchor throughout this time. It was a really valuable workshop, not only for us, but because it also gave us knowledge we can use to conduct our own training for staff. This workshop was a great motivator for us and brought us up to date on the new regulations that will be introduced.”