K’taka High Court backs Railway’s QR Code for Train Food: Prep, Distribution and Hygiene

The Karnataka High Court has refused to intervene in the Indian Railways’ commercial circular aimed at enhancing hygiene, responsibility, and accountability in food preparation and distribution on trains. The circular also allows passengers to track the origin of their food by scanning QR codes on food packets according to media reports.
“Quality of preparation of food and efficiency of distribution are in the realm of commercial decisions in the public interest by the Railways,” said Justice M Nagaprasanna while rejecting the petitions filed by South Western Railway Catering Contractors’ Association, represented by its General Secretary V S Manogar.
The association questioned the commercial circular dated November 14, 2023, which is part of Catering Policy 2017 issued by the Director of Tourism and Catering, Railway Board, and the e-open tender submission dated February 15, 2024, for the provision of onboard catering services in trains.
Solicitor General of India Tushar Mehta contended that the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Limited (IRCTC) had entered into contracts with other contractors and they had only certain kitchens. “Hygiene became a big problem in catering for Railways as the contractors to whom IRCTC had entrusted food distribution would blame the person who had prepared the food in case of complaints. Therefore to bring in accountability, certain tweaks were made to the catering policy as to who should have the base kitchen and from where the food should come,” he argued.
He also submitted that present food packets have a QR code through which the kitchen from where the food came from can be seen in real time. The hygiene in the kitchen can also be viewed. For maintenance of hygiene, responsibility and accountability for the food served on trains, the impugned addendum was issued by way of a circular.







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