In the wake of COVID, Indian Railways has closed food delivery service in the train to prevent the spread of Coronavirus. The restriction on train travel came out with state-wise travelling guidelines and Indian Railways rules.
The ongoing COVID wave has impacted catering service in trains. Although the Indian Railway has issued guidelines to e-catering partners for cooking food and serving them to passengers, you should take extra precautions while ordering food on train, taking its delivery, eating it, and disposing of the leftover food.
According to CDC, there is a very low risk of getting COVID-19 from food and packaged drinking water. Although no evidence suggests handling food or eating them can spread COVID-19, you should continue to follow food safety steps for your physical and mental well-being.
Here are some essential precautions that you should follow while having food in train, especially amid the COVID pandemic:
Carry Home Cooked Food While Travelling:
When you travel by train during COVID, the best option would be to carry home-cooked food. With the home-cooked meal, you have many benefits such as control over hygiene and quality of food, nutrition etc. Besides that, homemade foods are cost-saving, and they save you from preservatives as most packaged food contain artificial chemicals.
Order Food in Train from IRCTC Authorised e-Catering Partner:
If you don’t carry home-cooked food in train, order your meal from the IRCTC authorised e-catering partner. Indian Railways provide license for delivering food on train to only those aggregators who adhere to the guidelines of FSSAI strictly. So, when you order food from them, you don’t have to worry about the quality and food safety.
Choose Contactless Food Delivery Option:
Choosing the contactless food delivery option on the train can help prevent Coronavirus transmission. If you choose to pay online while ordering your food, there will be no cash exchange between you and the delivery person. Usually, in a no-contact delivery, the delivery boy will keep the food packet on the seat/berth and request the passenger to pick it up. If you have already made the payment of food, there will be no contact and thus no risk of COVID too.
Remove the Food Cover Soon After Receiving the Food and Dispose of Them:
We request our customer to remove the outer cover of the food packet soon after receiving the food delivery on train. Further, make sure to dispose of the cover by throwing them in a bin provided in trains or stations. This step will also help to keep the trains clean and prevent any risk of Coronavirus transmission.
Make Sure to Carry a COVID Kit:
Carrying a COVID kit is a must, especially if you are travelling on the train during the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic. In a COVID kit, you have a sanitiser, mask, hand gloves, and other items that will help minimise the risk of Coronavirus infection. For example, you can sanitise your hands time-to-time, such as after receiving your food packet, removing its cover, or after eating food on the train.
In addition, you should avoid buying foods from stalls or vendors at the stations because mostly those places have crowd, and the foods available at these stalls are unhygienic and stale.
IRCTC Taking the Following Precautionary Measures for Food in Train
Indian Railway Board has issued a list of guidelines to all the Railway Zones and IRCTC to prevent the spread of Coronavirus. Some major preventive measures that IRCTC catering establishments are following are listed below:
- No railway staff with breathing difficulty, or symptoms like cough, running nose, fever etc., shall be deployed in food handling work.
- All IRCTC catering staff have to maintain personal hygiene as issued by FSSAI, the Food and Safety and Standard Authority of India, such as wearing a face mask, hand gloves, head cover etc. They are advised to avoid touching their eyes, nose, and mouth frequently.
- All IRCTC catering supervisors have to impart counselling to their fellow staffs for personal hygiene.
- All catering staff have to wear clean uniforms on duty.
- The Catering establishments within Indian Railway premises have to maintain proper hygiene. All the catering units have to undergo a thorough cleaning using an alcohol-based disinfectant on frequently touched surfaces like door handles, billing machines, POS, tables, chairs, counters, freeze handles etc., on regular basis.
- Railway Board has asked catering units and the e-catering partners of IRCTC to ensure proper packaging of food items. No loose packaging of food is allowed, and all the food items must be stored and transported following the guidelines of FSSAI.
- IRCTC is also ensuring to prohibit entry of unauthorised persons in food dealing areas.
While passengers should follow the safety measures strictly to stay Corona safe, the IRCTC is combating the COVID pandemic through these precautionary measures.
Does IRCTC Provide Food in Train Amid COVID?
IRCTC is slowly resuming to provide food on the train as the COVID cases begin to fall. It is providing food through its e-catering partners like RailRestro. Earlier, the Indian Railway has suspended providing cooked food service in trains due to the massive burst of COVID cases.
RailRestro continues to provide food in train from the last week of January 2021. With its business partner RailMitra, the company is serving hygienic food on more than 450 stations of Indian Railways, even during the second wave of COVID.
Is It Safe to Order Food in Train During COVID?
Ordering food in train is safe as long as you place your order to an authorised IRCTC e-catering partner and follow the safety guidelines. All licensed food aggregators must follow the guidelines of FSSAI. During the pandemic, RailMitra ensures to provide food on the train with contactless delivery to minimise the risk of COVID. Make sure to check if the delivery boy wears a face mask and hand gloves. Also, after you get the food packet, remove its cover and dispose of it in a bin. Then, sanitise your hands before you start to eat the food.
What Foods to Avoid during the COVID-19 Pandemic?
You should avoid the following foods during the COVID-19 pandemic to maintain a healthy body and prevent your body’s immune system from weakening.
- Avoid processed meat and artificially produced trans-fat, including red meat.
- Avoid fast foods and beverages, including burger, sodas, and drinks high in salt and sugar content.
- Avoid frozen and processed food because they contain artificial preservatives. The chemicals used to preserve these types of foods can be harmful to your health.
What Foods to Eat during the COVID-19 Pandemic?
Boosting your body’s immune system is vital during the COVID-19 pandemic. Eat vegetables, fresh fruits, beans and nuts, millets, oats and whole grains frequently to boost your immune system. Also, add milk product, fish and eggs to your diet for proper maintenance and growth of your body. Make sure to eat enough fibre because it is good for your digestive system.
Check out the list of top immunity-boosting foods that you can order on train from us and enjoy eating them while travelling.
How Can I Complain About IRCTC Food?
You can complain about IRCTC food by calling their customer care at 1800-111-321. This is a toll-free helpline number of IRCTC. Complaints can be lodged for food hygiene, safety, overcharging, and any other issue related to food quality.
In addition, IRCTC has introduced an online complaint management system to help passengers lodge their complaints through internet-enabled devices. Passengers have to log in to the IRCTC website to register their complaint. The complaint will be directly sent to the concerned e-catering licensee. Customers should note down the allotted complaint number to check the status of their complaint and for future references.
Related Reading: IRCTC Railway Enquiry Guide for All Your Train Enquiry Needs
Travelling by train needs lots of preparation, especially if you plan to travel amid the COVID pandemic. Because, Passengers have to come across frequently touched surfaces in train coaches, seats and stations. Also, railway establishments such as stations, waiting rooms, retiring rooms, and toilets are crowded, increasing the risk of COVID. In this situation, eating immunity-boosting food will strengthen your body’s immune system to fight against bacteria and viruses, including the novel Coronavirus.
Apart from food safety measures, make sure to carry your bedsheets, blanket, and towel while travelling on the train during COVID. Indian Railway has launched disposable bedroll kits, which you can book online through the IRCTC website and get the bedroll delivered to your seat on the train.
Related Reading: IRCTC e-Bedrolls: How to Book Blanket and Linen Online
While RailMitra always comes to delight you with nutritious and healthy food on train. You can also use our services to spot trains live, get train schedule, and check PNR status with PNR prediction to know the confirmation chances of your waitlisted tickets. In addition, you can check out details about any station of Indian Railways with just a few clicks on your mobile.
At RailMitra, we care for your health and well-being and continue to be your best travel companion even during this hour of need!